Last week I hosted my first private event as a sommelier. It was thrilling and a little bit terrifying. The results were an evening full of wine and fun, and the birth of a new business idea, The Weekly Sip!
The client gave me free rein, so I decided to have a bit of fun with it. I recreated the Judgement of Paris, 1976, and the Decanter Tasting of 1978. For a bit of context, the Judgement of Paris pitted Bordeaux First Growths against Californian Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. In a shocking result, California wine won in both categories, sending shockwaves through the wine world. Similarly, the Decanter Tasting of 1978 saw the Super Tuscan, Sassicaia, emerge the winner when tasted beside 33 Bordeaux-blends from other famous wine regions.
Unfortunately, the same results were almost repeated at my event 40+ years later. Only this time the voters weren't wine experts, but a group of nine businessmen. There were a couple of questions at play: would everyday wine drinkers feel the same as the experts back then, and would the results of both these monumental events hold up all these years later?
For red wines, the tasting featured the 2018 Antinori Tignanello from Tuscany, Italy, the 2017 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon from Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, California, and the 2015 Pauillac from Chateau Latour in Médoc, France. In an almost unanimous decision, California Cabernet Sauvignon reigned supreme.
For the whites however, the results were a bit different. The gentleman tasted the 2019 Antinori Bramito Chardonnay (which retails for $23.95/bottle), the 2019 Hudson Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California, and the 2017 Domaine Rougeot Pere et Fils Saint-Romain Combe Bazin from Mersault, France. In a shocking twist, Italian Chardonnay was by far the favourite.
I wasn't completely surprised, as I did sneak the Bramito in there with intent. It's a regular in my fridge and one of the best value bottles I've tried recently. I won't say too much about this wine yet, because it will eventually get its own post.
All in all, my first private event was a success. It wasn't without its challenges, but it was a great night that challenged what Italian, Californian, and French wine means.
If you're at all interested in a private tasting or themed event, please check out my services page and send me an email. I'd love to hear from you.