In a bid to rival the Judgement of Paris tastings, a group of wine tasters called the Grand Jury Européen is to hold a tasting of Napa Valley and Bordeaux wines next week.
François Mauss, founder of the GJE, said he was ‘not satisfied’ by the celebratory 30th anniversary tasting that took place in May this year.
Dual locations and an unfair selection of vintages and tasters all discredited the results, he said.
The blind tasting, which takes place on 28 September at Château Guiraud in Bordeaux, will consist of 16 Cabernet-Merlots from Napa and 16 Cabernet-Merlots from Bordeaux, all from the 1995 vintage.
Mauss said, ‘We did choose a vintage which has a great reputation in both areas, with a slight advantage for Napa, so, we cannot be accused of favouring Bordeaux.’
Although not identical, the line-up will feature many of the same producers as those in the Paris tastings including Ridge Monte Bello, the wine that was overall winner in the May re-run this year.’
Panels will comprise 15 continental European tasters and ‘up to 15 tasters from Anglo-Saxon countries’.
Michel Bettane, Mike Steinberger from Slate magazine, auctioneer Peter Morrell, and UK experts Richard Bampfield MW and Michael Schuster are on the list to attend.
Mauss claims that the purpose of the exercise is not to stir up bad feeling between the two regions but to find out once and for all whether there is a ‘wide, narrow or zero difference’ in taste between US and UK tasters and continental European tasters.
Mauss, who has carved his reputation as a dissenting voice in the wine world, was also at the centre of a landmark two-year libel battle in 2002 after describing Beaujolais Nouveau as ‘vin de merde’, in a French magazine.
Written by Libby Banks