Since the first Importers' Pinot Shootout resulted in the impoters holding back the big guns, the judges proposed a second shootout with the top wines represented.
To whet the appetite we started with a Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 1995 which I brought. A refreshing medium bodied champagne with lemon peel character. Not a weighty champagne. Excellent but will surely improve. Has some bready character in the nose and palate followed up by a bit of toffee.
First Pinot was not an importer bottle but was brought by one of the judges. Drouhin Chambolle Musigny 1999. Very light and rather insubstantial wine. Not good. Perhaps a bad bottle?
A bottle from another judge was the Antonin Rodet Clos Vougeot 1997. Lovely nose. Still has some gritty tannin. Medium bodied. Quite dry. Great complexity and multi-layered. Best French wine of the night.
A third judge brought a Vincent Girardin Maranges 1er Cru Clos de Loyeres 2003. This was a soft, spicy, New World style wine.
This is where the Critics and Importers shootout begins. Aussie critic James Halliday's Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2002 was brought by another judge. Berryish nose. Rather sweet, raspberry. Really friendly wine and a bit simple.
One importer brought the Felton Road Block 3 2004 from NZ. Closed nose. Full-bodied. In the mouth, spice and coffee notes. Very good now but obviously very young with room for improvement.
The other importer had to cancel at the last minute but I had a bottle of one of his top wines which I brought to challenge the Felton (which I also have in my cellar) and Halliday's Coldstream. This was the Beaux Freres Belle Soeurs 2003 associated, of course, with Robert Parker. Very full, young, spicy, alcoholic. Smoky and tannic, it was excellent with duck breast and foie gras. Quite floral after an hour in the glass.
The unanimous winner was the Vougeot. Among the 3 wines meant to challenge each other, I preferred the Belle Soeurs first, Felton second and Coldstream third although the Coldstream is far less expensive than the other two and represents very good QPR.