The Pol Roger 2016 Varsity Blind Wine-Tasting season drew to a close with the Edinburgh vs St Andrews University match held at the New Club in Edinburgh on 10th March. This marked the finale of a trio of hotly contested and much anticipated matches stretching the length of the country. Whilst each of the matches has its own personality, it is always fascinating to see how each of the teams are progressing from year to year and we are consistently delighted by the level of effort and enthusiasm across the board.
The New Club offers a stunning setting for the match; the students taste in the library, overlooking the spectacular city skyline with the Castle dominating the view. We were joined by two esteemed judges, wine writer Will Lyons and Sommelier Will Dennison from the Michelin starred restuarant House of Tides in Newcastle, both of whom commented on the impressive standard.
The wines, selected from Liberty Wines, proved to be a most interesting and challenging selection. Cassidy Dart, MW student and Director of Wine at Pol Roger Portfolio, chose the selection and made the below observations on the wines:
The Chilean Sauvignon was very aromatic and closer in style to a lively Marlborough Sauvignon; it was very well made.
The Saove from Pieropan was clearly high quality with excellent texture and length but identification was more difficult with many tasters putting the wine in Burgundy. Marks were awarded for detection as a high quality chardonnay.
For an unusual twist we had selected two aromatic whites; a very classic, high-quality gewürztraminer with aromas of rose and lychee, as well as a more firmly structured, drier Torrontes that had an aroma of bath soap.
The general consensus was that the reds proved to be rather more mixed.
The Crozes Hermitage initially showed classic black olive and peppery cool climate Syrah characteristics, however it seemed to fall apart in the glass over time.
The Zinfandel was very rich and flavourful, and this was reflected in the tasting notes, with several tasters identifying this wine correctly.
The Wild Earth Pinot Noir showed beautifully with lovely aromatics, integrated oak and fine tannins; the judges remarked that this could easily have been a Cote de Nuits from a ripe vintage.
The Beaujolais was aromatic and expressive and a very good example of its style; the softer more elegant tannic structure was indicative of the village of Fleurie.
At the end of the match, once all of the scores had been tallied and verified, it was clear that one institution had raced ahead. With a lead of over 100 points, Edinburgh claimed victory and will join Oxford for the International Match in Epernay in the summer. Particular congratulations go to top taster, Joshua Mullock, who was awarded a Magnum of Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill 2004 for his impressive score.