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Champagne Pol Roger hosted the 63rd annual Varsity Blind Wine-tasting match on Wednesday 17th February 2016 at the Oxford and Cambridge Club. As is customary for this prestigious match, competition was fierce; both teams had trained rigorously in preparation for what is always a closely fought contest.

We were joined by esteemed judges Jancis Robinson MW and Richard Bampfield MW, both of whom are Oxbridge alumnus. The judges were tasked with marking every paper, critiquing the student’s analysis of the wines based on grape variety, country of origin, viticultural region, vintage and, most important and challenging of all, comments leading to identification.

Cassidy Dart, Associate Director at Pol Roger Portfolio, had carefully chosen the 12 competition wines to be served ‘blind’; 6 whites followed by 6 reds.  The whites proved a more challenging selection than the reds, with a particularly tricky Soave. However there were a number of ‘bankers’ including a fragrant Domaine Josmeyer Gewurztraminer ‘les Folastries’ 2012 from the Alsace, and a limey-fresh Skillogalee Riesling 2013 from the Clare Valley, which both demonstrated excellent varietal typicity. At the end of the flight of White Wines Oxford were in the lead with 404 points vs 357 to Cambridge.

The reds were arguably a more identifiable selection; we were most impressed by the number of students who were able to recognize an aged Rioja from 2006, Marqués de Riscal, Rioja Gran Reserva.

It was Cambridge who proved to be the stronger team on the reds, triumphing over Oxford by 421 points to 387. And therefore the final result was extremely close, with just 12 points (of a possible 1440) separating the two teams. Oxford emerged victorious, for the 2nd consecutive year, with a total of 791 points. Particular congratulations go to their team captain, Janice Wang, who was top taster with a remarkable score of 173, and was rewarded with a Magnum of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2004, and will enjoy a trip to Maison Pol Roger with the rest of the Oxford team later in the year.