It’s no secret that there are hundreds of wine competitions around the world. Most of them only linger as a footnote on the bottom of a sell sheet, but a few of them make wise wine consumers and retailers stand up and take notice. About 2 weeks ago one such competition took place in London, England.

The Decanter Wine Awards are sponsored by the Decanter Magazine and if you don’t know the Decanter Magazine that’s okay but in terms of reporting on the wine world, for me, it is the best in the world. Granted it is focussed on what is available in the UK which means most of the wines never see the light of day here, however, its reporting and reviews are broader-based and authentic, I find, than those found in the American wine magazines such as The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate.

Back in 1994, the BC wine industry was in the back of the backwater of the wine world. Other than for a few visionaries such as Harry McWatters and Anthony Von Mandl, the BC wine industry didn’t mean anything to consumers or the worldwide wine press. That all changed when the Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay won Best Chardonnay in the World at the Decanter Wine Awards. Within minutes of the announcement, the BC Wine Industry and Mission Hill catapulted to the tip of every buyer’s lips. Incidentally, the Award was presented by Steven Spurrier. Steven Spurrier gained renown when he coordinated and executed what became known as the Judgement of Paris where previously unknown California, specifically Napa Valley, wines competed and won against French wines as judged by French Judges.

Two weeks ago Steven Spurrier once again took the stage to present the award for World’s Best Pinot Noir. In so doing proved that lightning does strike in the same place twice as Mission Hill’s Martin’s Lane 2011 Pinot Noir took the award for the World’s Best Pinot Noir Under L15.

The Martin’s Lane 2011 Pinot Noir was launched in March of this year and the 500 cases or so was sold out by June, and from what I understand you can try some of the remaining bottles at a few restaurants around Victoria including Cafe Brio, Oak Bay Beach Hotel, Hotel Grand Pacific and 10 Acres.

As you can well imagine all of us retail buyers were immediately on the phone with their local Mark Anthony rep to try and scoop up any remaining cases and we were all sadly disappointed. However, I have one of the very best reps on the planet and she happens to work for Mark Anthony. Karyn Stewart is great at was she does because she understands and quickly plans to exceed her customer’s biggest needs. Karyn gave me a bit of wink wink nudge nudge and suggested the Mission Hill 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir.

Turns out the Mission Hill 2011 Reserve Pinot Noir is very similar to the Martin’s Lane. In fact, the Martin’s Lane is a Reserve of the Reserve and so close in flavour, texture and character to the Martin’s Lane, that a taste of it is a taste of greatness.

For those of you that enjoy a world-class wine for the sake of experience and in an effort to improve the quality of one’s life, this is a wise choice… while it is still available.

Here is a link to the Decanter Award:

Here is a link to Decanter Magazine: