High level at the PIWI International Wine Challenge 2022
Gone are the days when PIWI vines were grown primarily for environmental reasons. There are now many very good wines made from PIWI varieties, as well as numerous internationally committed winegrowers who can draw on a lot of experience with PIWIs both in viticulture and in winemaking and who bottle the best wines, which the PIWI International Wine Challenge 2022 has fully confirmed . Two thirds of the wines received SILVER or GOLD, even TOP GOLD. The high quality was generally confirmed by the visitors at the subsequent public tasting, for which all the wines were presented according to the blind evaluation. The PIWI mark, which PIWI members are allowed to put on the labels of their wines, can be considered something of a quality mark. And so PIWI wines bring environmental protection and enjoying good wines together and can be considered an important future of wine.
Over 180 wines
were employed at this year's PIWI International Wine Challenge, conducted by Dieter Simon, editor-in-chief and publisher of www.bonvinitas.com, took place on October 25th, 2022 in the rooms of the Waldulmer winegrowers' cooperative in Kappelrodeck-Waldulm.
16 testers, including PIWI board members, four employees of the Freiburg State Wine Institute, the German Wine Queen, Katrin Lang, and a Masters of Wine from England, subjected the wines from nine countries to strict blind tests.
countries and categories
In addition to the traditional wine-growing countries such as Italy, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, there were also wines from Belgium, Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic, which did well.
It was tested in five categories:
Category 1: dry to 12% alcohol. Here it was not only about the technical quality criteria, but also about the "drinking fun" that wine lovers look for and can expect from lighter wines. 19 wines received GOLD or SILVER.
Category 2: dry over 12% alcohol. The individuality and terroir notes were also evaluated here. 73 wines received TOP GOLD, GOLD or SILVER.
Category 3: Wines with more than 9 g/l residual sugar: In addition to the general quality criteria, the fruitiness that consumers can expect from such wines was primarily evaluated here. The same applies in particular to Category 4, noble sweet wines. Together they both won 25 TOP GOLD, GOLD or SILVER awards.
Category 5 was a special feature: Orange wines. Out of a total of seven wines, three were awarded TOP GOLD and two were awarded GOLD. Since, with the large number of PIWI varieties, wine lovers buy less according to the variety and more according to whether the wine tastes good, the tests were not strictly about the typicality of the variety, but about whether the wine can be liked.
The best wines
The following were rated as the best in each category:
Category 1, dry to 12 %
94.66 points = GOLD: 2021 Muscaris white wine quality wine from southern Styria, Austria,
with 12 % alcohol and 7.8 g/l residual sugar from the Kollerhof am Eichberg in 8463 Leutschach an der Weinstraße
Category 2, dry over 12 %
97.50 points = TOP GOLD: 2021 Souvignier Gris white wine Quality wine from southern Styria, Austria, 13.8 % alcohol, 3.4 g/l residual sugar from Kollerhof am Eichberg in 8463 Leutschach an der Weinstraße
Category 3, wines with residual sugar over 9 g/l
95 points = GOLD: Muscaris, Sauvignac, Johanniter, Secco white, German sparkling wine, fruity with 14.0 g/l residual sugar and 11.5 % alcohol from the Schmidt organic winery in 79356 Eichstetten am Kaiserstuhl
95 points = GOLD: 2021 Sauvignac white wine quality wine Pfalz off-dry with 10.7 g/l residual sugar and 11.8 % alcohol from the Momm winery in 67435 Neustadt an der Weinstraße, district of Duttweiler
95 points = GOLD: 2021 Muscaris white wine from Lower Silesia/Poland, sweet with 33.4 g/l residual sugar and 11.4 % alcohol from the Winnica Niemczańska winery in 58-230 Niemcza
Category 4, noble sweet wines
98.5 points = TOP GOLD: 2021 Souvignier Gris Eiswein white, Heppenheimer Stemmler, Hessian Bergstrasse, quality wine with a predicate with 201.3 g/l residual sugar and 6.45 % alcohol from the Bergstrasse winegrowers in 64646 Heppenheim
Category 5, orange wines
98 points = TOP GOLD: Muscaris natural wine - orange country wine dry with 5 g/l residual sugar and
16 % alcohol matured in barriques from the ecological winery Rabenhof in 79361 Sasbach-Jechtingen/Baden
98 points = TOP GOLD: 2020 Solaris and Muscaris natural wine - orange country wine dry with 0.6 g/l residual sugar and 15.1 % alcohol from the Rabenhof organic winery in 79361 Sasbach-Jechtingen
A total of 185 wines were submitted, mainly white wines, but also 41 red wines, as well as rosé and sparkling wines, as well as seven orange wines. The varieties were in the foreground: Souvignier Gris, Cabernet Blanc, Johanniter as well as Muscaris and Solaris, with the red wines Divico from Switzerland and Cabernet Cortis.
Interview with the German Wine Queen, Katrin Lang, on PIWI wines
The wine queen took part in the PIWI International Wine Challenge 2022 as an examiner.
bonvinitas: Ms. Lang, have you already had a lot to do with PIWI wines?
The Wine Queen: I learned at the state winery in Freiburg, where PIWI varieties are grown. I also came into contact with new breeds in the associated State Viticulture Institute. Now I work at the Zähringer winery in Müllheim/Baden, which is heavily involved in PIWI varieties. The winery has, for example, Johanniter, Souvignier Gris, Cabernet Blanc, Cabernet Cortis and Regent in cultivation.
bonvinitas: How important do you think PIWI varieties are?
The Wine Queen: It will be a solution in the face of challenges such as climate change and tightening regulations. Of course, PIWI varieties also need some pest control, but significantly less than our conventional vines. About three sprayings in the rhythm of growth are usually sufficient. In this way, viticulture can be preserved, for example, in the steep slopes. Because it's going to get harder.
bonvinitas: How do you see PIWI wines in relation to consumers?
The Wine Queen: Something must be done. We need to reduce pest control, not least because of consumers' increasing environmental awareness.
bonvinitas: Do you think more winemakers will open up to PIWI varieties?
The Wine Queen: The vintners know, for example, how to look after their Pinot Blanc in the vineyard and develop it in the cellar. Some PIWI varieties still have to find their style. But the winemakers are ready. We have enough PIWI varieties that work well in viticulture and whose wines are well received by consumers. The PIWI varieties have a lot of potential. It is important to exploit this, and in doing so we are also doing something good for the environment. We need to communicate that more.
bonvinitas: Ms. Lang, thank you for this statement
Text: Dieter Simon, editor-in-chief and publisher www.bonvinitas.com. Photos: German Wine Queen: German Wine Institute; Photo. Rabenhof: PR; other photos bonvinitas