Champagne Pol Roger organised and hosted the 2nd ever Inter-Regional WSTA Blind Wine-Tasting Competition in the spectacular setting of Vintners’ Hall on 18th September. The WSTA submitted teams from Yorkshire and North-East, Midlands and the West of England, and further teams representing the WSET and the Benevolent also competed. The event was held in aid of The Benevolent, the Drinks’ Industry Charity, with in excess of £3,500.00 being raised for the worthy cause.

Each team, composed of 5 people, were faced with a flight of 4 white wines, followed by 4 red wines. Will Dennison, former sommelier at Michelin starred House of Tides restaurant and current Pol Roger Ltd Sales Manager for Scotland and Northern England, said of the wines:

The Wines:

1.Terrapura Chardonnay, Casablanca, Chile, 2015 13.5%

“The warm up” as Mr Simpson politely put it to the competitors. A wine that definitely showed varietal typicity from the Chardonnay grape, although pinpointing exactly where in the world proved more of a struggle. Perhaps the room was not accustomed to drinking a huge amount of Chilean Chardonnay.
2. Cotes du Rhone, “Les Gendrines” Gaillard, Viognier, 2015 13%
A wine that showed fairly, the biggest banker in the first flight with marked low acidity and pronounced aromas of Peach and Apricot.
3. Tim Adams, Semillon, Clare Valley, Australia, 2014 12%
Certainly the most challenging of the whites which separated the pack. It showed pronounced waxy, verging on fresh rubber aromas aromas. The key to this wine was on the palette, the low alcohol at 12% and acidity would set it apart from any other laterals. Varietal showed typicity of being Australian, as for the sub region, perhaps slightly harsh.
4. Josmeyer, Dragon, Riesling, Alsace, France, 2013 12%
Unmistakable, a wine with class and finesse. You’d put the wine in Alsace with the mineral and lean palette over anywhere else. The room was in majority.
5. Staglin Family Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa, 2008 14.9%
Undoubtedly the classiest red of the day, the room agreed it was a premium red from California but decisions on Vintage (2008) and subregion proved most challenging for even the most experienced wine professionals in the room.
6. Haskell Syrah, Stellenbosch, 2012 14%
Reductive and slightly stinky on the nose. Not one of the greatest examples of SA Syrah but a wine with definition which should have picked up easy marks.
7. Bernard Baudry, Chinon, Loire Valley,  Cabernet Franc, 2014 12.5%
An absolute classic, marked volatile acidity and sour raspberries.
8. Pike and Joyce, Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 2015 13.5%
Certainly the toughest red of the day, not on grape variety but country and region was slightly mean.. I can’t imagine many people have tasted a huge array of Australian PN. As Mr Simpson politely remarked “somewhere most have you have visited I presume!”
At the half way mark, the score was tied between the Scottish Sommeliers and the Midlands WSTA. However by the end of the competition the Midlands WSTA pipped the Scottish sommeliers to the post by retaining the title for the second year running by a mere 2 points!

We would like to thank Vintners’ for their generous support of this match and look forward to the next competition!

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