Euro 2016 is not the only tournament taking place in France this month - See which team emerged victorious from the gruelling Left Bank Bordeaux Cup 2016 final.
EM Lyon business school won a fiercely contested Left Bank Bordeaux Cup 2016 final held in the cellars of Château Lafite-Rothschild at the weekend.
Teams in the final were a truly international display of wine talent. Alongside EM Lyon, they were Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, Switzerland, Sciences PO Paris (one member was Jean Guillaume Prats’ 19 year-old-son), France, Hong Kong Baptist University and Huaiyin Normal University from China, Wharton School and Yale School, USA and the University of Oxford from the UK.
The teams sat on a stage in the Lafite cellar facing the jury made up of members of the Commanderie de Bontemps dressed in flowing red robes (or golden robes for the Sauternes producers).
The Grand Maitre, Emmanuel Cruse, presided over the event with host Baron Eric de Rothschild.
The first part of the competition was multiple choice questions, which cause a few furrowed brows. Questions included:
- What is the specific characteristics of the classified growths of the commune of Bommes in Sauternes? Answer: they all have compound names.
- What is the highest appellation of the Médoc – Listrac, Pauillac, or Margaux? Answer: Listrac.
At the end of the round, Lyon were in first place with only one question wrong out of the 10.
Tasting: Where the Bordeaux cup is won or lost
Next up was the tasting exam, where the competition is traditionally lost or won.
This involves three rounds of blind tasting, each with 10 points available.
Find the appellation, put youngest to oldest, find the vintage; seasoned professionals would be hard put to get it right. One flight of wines was particularly testing. Was the vintage 2000, 2002 or 2005? Lesser 2005s or terrific 2002s? Answer: terrific 2002s. Time to look again that vintage.
Lyon continued their strong performance and won with one of the most convincing leads for many years. Second was Oxford, and joint third Lausanne and Hong Kong Baptist University.
Let the dancing begin
Pride of winning is one thing, but the legendary dinner with the singing contest and dancing is why the teams are driven to get to the final.
The students and guests tucked into oysters and gougeres before dinner where 1975 Lafite was served from double magnums. All rivalry forgotten, they cheered each other on and then danced until the early hours.
As the band packed up at 2am Jean Quentin Prats turned to me and said ‘this is one of the best evenings of my life’. It was easy to see why.
Editing by Chris Mercer