A bottle of New Zealand pinot noir edged out several high-profile French and Californian wines to take the top spot in a recent blind tasting. Talk about bottle shock.

Tim Fleming judges a pinot noir.; Credit: Courtesy of World's Top 20 Pinot Noirs

Tim Fleming judges a pinot noir.; Credit: Courtesy of World's Top 20 Pinot Noirs

Proving that price is no guaranteed determiner of quality, an $80 bottle of 1998 Martinborough Vineyard Reserve beat 19 other wines, including a $5,500 bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tache, to take first place at the “World's Top 20 Pinot Noirs.” We have no proof that these are, in fact, the world's top 20 pinot noirs, but the blind tasting held Tuesday night at Red White + Bluezz in Pasadena, should earn New Zealand pinots more respect.

In addition to two New Zealand wines, the international field included wines from California, Oregon, Australia, Germany and, naturally, France. Pinot noirs from Burgundy placed well, with three wines in the top five including a 1996 Mortet Clos Vougeot ($190) and a 1996 Hudelot-Noelle Richebourg ($440). The top California Pinot, a $250 bottle of 1991 Williams Selyem Rochioli, placed seventh.

After the jump: download a complete list of wine rankings and judges.

Though the tasting didn't include Two Buck Chuck, the least expensive wine in the bunch, a 2001 Edna Ranch Estate pinot from Tolosa Winery (which sponsored the event), took 9th place. Right above a $500 of 2001 Bass Phillip Reserve from Australia.

Top 20 Pinot Noir Results2.pdf

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