Friday June 1st saw the final of the annual varsity tasting competition hosted at Maison Pol Roger, Epernay. This years final saw competing once again the teams of Edinburgh, Oxford, EDHEC (Dionysos), joined this year by Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien from Vienna, Austria.
The judging this year was chaired by Cassidy Dart MW of Pol Roger Ltd in the UK.
The first flight of whites proved relatively challenging, with perhaps only two “bankers” of which where a Touraine Sauvignon Blanc & Loire Valley Chenin blanc. Only one taster from oxford managed to correctly identify a Vermentino, which had very little varietal definition, along with a very challenging Southern Rhone white blend that had competitors dived between white bordeaux and burgundy.
The reds certainly had more stylistic character of varietal and this flight was very close across all teams. We saw some very classic Croze-Hermitage and left bank Bordeaux, with the hardest wine in the flight being a 2013 Savigny Les Beaune, the wine was full of faults which certainly masked the varietal definition of Pinot Noir with many tasters putting it as Cabernet Franc.
Once the scores had been counted, the students waited anxiously for the results to be called after we had a few words from Hubert de Billy of Maison Pol Roger, with the judges commenting on the flights of wines that they too all tasted blind. For the first year competing, we had the Austrians place 4th, although they were unfamiliar with the format which did disadvantage them significantly, they brought with the Charm and Passion, no doubt we will see them back and in Epernay. In third place we saw Lyon, followed by Edinburgh, an all female team of undergraduates who certainly turned up on the day! The team only just fell short of Oxford by 15 points making it the best performance to date from Edinburgh, Needless to say, Oxford who have a veteran team of tasters and well honed skills tasted best on the day, which is only made clear by the scores shown below between the top three tasters.
This year saw the closest competition between individual tasters perhaps in the competitions history. Clint Wong from Oxford Managed to clinch first place, by only one point, ahead of Oxford captain Domen Presern, with Jia Hao Cho the final Oxford competitor only a further two points behind Domen. An extraordinary performance by Oxford once again, but next year we will see a flurry of new faces to the team and as always, will be all to play for.