Imperial College London Business School and University of Cambridge claimed the first and second spot at the prestigious Left Bank Bordeaux Cup, which took place in the cellar of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, on the eve of Vinexpo.

Imperial College London’s victory was the first time the London Business School had ever entered the competition.

The final comprised of eight teams who had come top and second in their regional finals in the USA, France, rest of Europe and Asia.

In a scene reminiscent of mastermind, spotlights beamed down in Lafite’s octagonal cellar on Cambridge, EM Lyon, Hong Kong Baptist University, Imperial College London, MIT, Paris Dauphin, Sichuan International Studies, and UCLA.

Left Bank Bordeaux Cup 2015

The heat is on in the Left Bank Boreaux Cup final. Image credit: Sarah Kemp

The first part of the competition comprised of multiple choice questions. These included:

  • What shape did Philip Stark make the chateau Carmes des Haut Brion’ cellars in?” (boat)
  • How many classed growths are in Sauternes and Barsac (27)
  • During which Fete de la Fleur was Michael Jackson’s death announced? (Chateau d’Issan)

At the end of round one, EM Lyon were in first place with a perfect 20 score, closely followed by Cambridge and Paris Dauphin, with 18 points each.

Historically, the blind tasting is where the cup is won or lost, and this year was no different.

Flights were poured, brows were furrowed, the intensity mounted. Contestants were asked to ‘find the appellation, put the wines from youngest to oldest [and] find the Barsac amongst the Sauternes’.

Imperial’s tasting prowess powered them to victory, two points ahead of Cambridge and five ahead of Paris Dauphine.

Competing at Lafite in the Left Bank Bordeaux Cup is one thing, dining another.

Left Bank Bordeaux Cup

Dinner is served in Lafite’s cellar. Image credit: Sarah Kemp

One of the reasons there is such fierce competition for this Cup is the opportunity to be at Bordeaux’s best dinner party. Archachon oysters, jeroboams of Lafite 1979 and a special Commanderie bottling of 1961 (all the chateaux donated a barrel for the assemblage) made for an unforgettable evening.

Dancing continued to the early hours of the morning with Eric de Rothschild and Charles Chevalier hardly leaving the dance floor. As I left a student from Cophenhagen, who was spectating, told me ‘we will start practicing tomorrow, this is where we want to be’.

Sarah Kemp is Decanter’s publishing director.

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