For the 4th year of this match, the youngest of the Varsity Blind Wine-Tastings, we returned to The Porter in Bath. We were also joined once more by experienced judges, Aidan Bell of DBM Wines and Gareth Birchley of Berry Bros & Rudd.
James Clark had arranged a number of training sessions with both universities, and was pleased to see that enthusiasm for the discipline of Blind Wine-Tasting was increasing at both institutions. Furthermore, the level of knowledge and understanding had vastly improved. The 4th annual year of this match certainly felt as though it marked a turning point; the competition is now well established and this hopefully marks the beginning of a tradition to rival the 63 years of the Oxford and Cambridge match!
We had selected 6 white wines and 6 red wines, all of which were served ‘blind’ to the 7 competitors from both Bath and Bristol University. The whites proved to be the more challenging of the two flights, with an Italian Soave revealing almost nothing in terms of recognisable characteristics, and a Meursault from Joseph Drouhin boasting such tremendous depth of flavour that it pointed towards the new world rather than Burgundy. The Reds by contrast were arguably easier to identify; spice and pepper from the Rhone and bubblegum and carbonic maceration from Beaujolais. This was reflected in the scores, with both teams achieving very similar scores in the Reds, however the advantage had already been secured with the Whites, with Bath steaming ahead of their rivals and thus emerging triumphant overall.
Therefore after 4 years of the match, both teams have won 2 matches each; there is everything to play for in 2017!
Olivia Higgins was crowned the top taster and was praised by Aidan Bell for her consistency, achieving very similar marks in the whites and reds.
Following the match we enjoyed a celebratory luncheon accompanied by wines from the Pol Roger Portfolio.
We look forward to returning to Bristol for next year’s match!