We hosted the 17th annual Inter Business School Alumni Blind Wine-Tasting Competition in the stunning setting of Bain & Co, overlooking London’s magnificent skyline. We were joined by teams from Harvard, London Business School, Insead, Wharton and, for the first time, a team from Bain. The format of the competition was the same as former years and the wines proved every bit as challenging; 4 white wines, followed by 4 red wines, all served blind and competitors invited to identify grape variety, country of origin, region, area and vintage.
Will Dennison, Pol Roger Portfolio Sales Manager Scotland and Northern England, provided the below account of all the competition wines:
1. Michel Redde et Fils Pouilly Fumé Petit Fumé 2016 – An absolute classic; racey, high acid with the vegetable and green notes you expect from a traditional Sauvignon blanc.
2. Staglin Family Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 – Rich, powerful and perfumed. The key to this was the fullness in body given by the integration of oak and higher alcohol. A brilliant example from a world-class producer.
3. Josmeyer Gewurztraminer Les Folastries 2014 – Aromatic and perfumed on the nose. Brimming with lychee, rose water and honey. Low acid and aromatic profile made the wine unmistakable.
4. Tonschiefer Riesling Dry Slate Trocken Dönnhoff 2016 – An iconic producer within Germany but this wine lacked the complexity and stylistic profile you would usually expect from him. A restrained nose, verging on neutral with high acid and almost no residual sugar the wine split the room making this the toughest white of the flight.
5. Joseph Drouhin Gevrey-Chambertin 2013 – Elegant and floral nose bursting with fresh red berries, violets and spice. A wine with great class and the burgundy drinkers in the room found this easy to spot.
6. Chateau Juguet Grand Cru St Emilion 2011 – Rich and juicy, lots of plums, cassis and blackberries. An extremely well made wine in a slightly tricky vintage, Bordeaux was the easy part but the structure gave you clues as to the vintage.
7. Étienne Barret Crozes-Hermitage 2013 – Possibly not the best example on the evening as the wine was quite rustic in style with a few sharp edges. That being said, it did show traits of cracked black pepper, leather and spice giving some indication to where the wine was from.
8. Robert Sinskey Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2013 – A wine with great purity and finesse. A struggle for those who have not drank an extensive amount of new world Cabernet Franc. As it was ripe, clean and extremely well made.
The overall performance was very impressive with only a modest divergence in scores across the board. At the halftime point, both Insead 1 and Harvard 2 were neck and neck, however by the end Harvard 2 managed to just clinch victory! Thank you to all competitors and to Bain & Co for hosting us. We look forward to the rematch next year!