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‘Surprise’ result for Margaux and Lafite against New World

In what might be seen as a reversal of recent trends, two Bordeaux first growths have triumphed in a top-level blind tasting.

Yesterday in London, premium Chilean producer Errazuriz gathered some of the UK’s top palates to recreate its landmark ‘Berlin’ tasting, pitting its own wines against the top names of Bordeaux, Tuscany and California.

In a line-up of a dozen wines, the judges gave the first two places to Chateau Margaux 2005 and Chateau Lafite 2005, followed by a ‘Super Tuscan’. Errazuriz wines took the next four places, while Opus One, the sole Californian wine, was placed last of the 12.

Errazuriz president Eduardo Chadwick first conducted the tasting in 2004 in Berlin, when his wines took the top two places. Describing the event as ‘a milestone in the history of the Chilean wine industry’, Chadwick has since repeated the event in Tokyo, Toronto and Beijing.

The tastings frequently elicit protests from Bordeaux, whose producers complain that taking their wines out of context leads them to underperform.

On this occasion, however, a panel comprising some of the UK’s top tasters, including Jancis Robinson MW, Tim Atkin MW and Oz Clarke, were unanimous in favouring the clarets.

Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier, who took part in the inaugural tasting, and has attended several since, observed that this was ‘without doubt the most pro-Bordeaux result we’ve seen’.

decanter.com has reported on a handful of tastings – notably the recurring ‘Judgement of Paris’ events – in which top clarets have been scored lower than their New World counterparts.

In recent years, wine lovers on either side of the Atlantic have debated the divergence of taste in the UK and the US, with American critics being more tolerant of the high alcohol, high oaked wines seen in the New World, while UK critics favoured the more restrained approach of the classic European regions.

This year’s event was originally scheduled for the US, but was moved to London after Errazuriz’s US agent advised Chadwick that the economic climate might not be conducive to such a high-end event. Chadwick hopes to schedule a US tasting for 2010.

The results in full:

1 Château Margaux 2005

2 Château Lafite-Rothschild 2005

3 Solaia 2005

4 Don Maximiano 2006

5= Viñedo Chadwick 2006

5= Seña 2005

7 Seña 2006

8 Château Latour 2005

9 Sassicaia 2005

10 Don Maximiano 2005

11 Viñedo Chadwick 2005

12 Opus One 2005

Written by Guy Woodward

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