World's best Pinot Noirs crowned in Switzerland

After tasting more than 1,300 wines from the Pinot family, a panel of international judges at a Pinot Noir competition has declared the 2009 and 2010 vintages "fresh," "elegant," "fruity" and "woody."

They also crowned a homegrown wine grower - Weingut Donatsch Malans Grisons - the World Champion of Producers for its Pinot Noir "Passion" the second year running at the 14th annual Mondial du Pinot Noir competition. The Pinot beat wines from 21 other countries and awards were handed out at the Vinea wine fair in Switzerland last week.

Grown in the Malans area of Switzerland, southeast of Zurich, the Donatsch Malans winery is one of the oldest in the area, with a wine-growing history that spans a thousand years.

A review on wine blog Big Red Diary of the winery's 2008 vintage described the "Passion" Pinot Noir as having strong "high-toned raspberry" notes followed by a finish of vanilla "brulee" and a round smooth mouthfeel. Though "expertly oaked," the reviewer suggested that a "zip" more of acidity was needed.

A bottle of Passion costs 30 Swiss Francs or €25. For more info, visit http://www.donatsch-malans.ch/.

Other grand-prize-winning bottles hailed from France and Canada, while two new categories were added to the competition: sparkling Pinot and rose.

The Mondial du Pinot Noir competition was part of the 18th annual Vinea Wine Fair in Switzerland that wrapped up over the weekend.

Here are some of the wineries singled out for being "exceptional" at this year's competition:

- Prix Univerre Trophy Winner (the best Swiss Pinot): Oeil de Perdrix 2010 La Cote by Parfum de Vigne Jean-Jacques Steiner Dully, Switzerland

- Prix Mousseux (sparkling): Pinot B brut 2007 Siebeldingen Königsgarten by Wein-und Sektgut Wilhelmshof Barbara Roth, Germany

- Prix Rose: Oeil de Perdrix 2010 La Cote by Parfum de Vigne Jean-Jacques Steiner Dully, Switzerland

- Prix Bourgogne Aujourd'hui (the best Burgundy wine): Domaine Henri de Villamont Savigny les Beaune, France

- Prix Vinofed (the wine that received a unanimous vote by the judges): Œil de perdrix 2010, Bonvillars, by Cave des Viticulteurs de Bonvillars, Switzerland

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