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Oddbins finds ‘best amateur’ out of 5000 hopefuls

A sustainability officer from north London has won a competition to find the best amateur palate in the UK.

‘Accurate and concise’: Fran Evans

The Palate 2012, a competition run by retail chain Oddbins, attracted 5000 entrants who were whittled down to 10 finalists via three blind tasting sessions.

Finalists were put through flavour experiments, aroma tests and blindfold tastings by wine educators Peter Richards MW and Susie Barrie MW before they were asked to try three wines with cheese and smoked salmon, and give a 60-second presentation on which wine they would pair with which food and why.

Four finalists were then given 30 minutes to blind taste six wines to identify grape, vintage, country of origin, flavours, aromas and recommended retail price.

The winner, Fran Evans from Crouch End in north London, gave ‘accurate and concise answers because she didn’t try to bring any peripheral knowledge into them’, Oddbins head of buying Emma Nichols said.

Evans wins a holiday at Tuscany’s Frescobaldi estate, a magnum of Champagne and the opportunity to select a new wine to enter the Oddbins range.

She said, ‘It goes to show that wine tasting is not an elite activity – it’s for everybody.’

Her first choice is a Languedoc – Collovray & Terrier’s la Closerie des Lys Chardonnay at £8.00, available from mid-November.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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