We hosted the 65th annual Varsity Blind Wine-tasting match on Wednesday 20th February 2018 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 OBE MW and Hugh Johnson OBE. 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, Director of Wine 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 Aligoté. At the end of the flight of White Wines Oxford were in the lead with 380 points vs 331 to Cambridge.

The reds were arguably a more identifiable selection; the stand out wine of the day was  Domaine du Coulet, Brise Cailloux, Cornas 2012, which a number of students correctly identified.

It was Oxford who proved to be the stronger team on the reds, triumphing over Cambridge by 388 points to 301. And therefore, for the 4th consecutive year, Oxford were victorious with a total of 768 points. Particular congratulations go to team member, Neil Alacha, who was top taster with a remarkable score of 160, and was rewarded with a Magnum of Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2006, and will enjoy a trip to Maison Pol Roger with the rest of the Oxford team later in the year.

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