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DRC vs The World Blind Tasting

Curtis John Marsh, who writes The Wandering Palate (www.thewanderingpalate.com) and recently reported on Allen Meadows and Ted Lemon visiting Singapore (www.burghoundinasia.com) send me a press release on the DRC vs The World Blind Tasting Results. This was one of the highlights of the Burghound in Asia event.

On Friday, April 8, 2011, wine connoisseurs gathered at the St. Regis Hotel in Singapore for a two-hour tasting of Domaine de la Romanee Conti served with wines from four other wineries from America, Australia, Austria and New Zealand. There was much conjecture, and to a degree, misinterpretation of the objectives of this controversial tasting. This was the first ever structured comparative consumer-driven tasting of this genre to be held in Asia, and perhaps the world.

There were 12 tables seating 9 participants made up of 8 consumers and 1 wine professional. The professionals include Andrew Jefford (UK), James Halliday (AUS), Allen Meadows (USA), and Singapore based Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Suzanne Brocklehurst and Ying Hsien Tan. Allen Meadows did not participate in ranking the wines and none of the professionals were involved in any way with organizing the tasting. Guest winemakers included Sam Neil (Two Paddocks, Central Otago), Josh Jensen (Calera Wine Co., USA), Veronique Boss-Drouhin (Maison Joseph Drouhin, Burgundy, France, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon, USA), and Francois Labet (Chateau de La Tour, Burgundy, France).

A total of 88 legitimate preference score sheets were collected. There were 3 brackets of 5 world-class Pinot Noirs (15 in total) served half-blind (tasters knew the variety was Pinot Noir and that one DRC wine was in each bracket). The 100-point scoring system was used with their scores converted to a ranking from 1 to 5. The results were monitored and audited by a senior accountant from Ernst and Young.

The wineries chosen for the tasting were: Felton Road (Central Otago), Bass Phillip (Victoria, AUS), Domaine Serene (Oregon), Markowitsch (Austria), and Domaine de la Romanee Conti (Burgundy). All the wines were sourced direct from the wineries, or in the case of DRC, direct from their official suppliers.

The preferred wines by bracket ranked 1 to 5 with 1 being the most preferred:

Bracket 1

1) Felton Road Block 3 2009
2) DRC La Tache 2007
3) Domaine Serene Monogram 2006
4) Markowitsch Reserve 2007
5) Bass Phillip Premium 2009

Bracket 2

1) Markowitsch Reserve 2006
2) DRC Romanee-St-Vivant 2006
3) Domaine Serene Monogram 2005
4) Felton Road Block 3 2006
5) Bass Phillip Premium 2006

Bracket 3

1) Bass Phillip Reserve 2003
2) Felton Road Block 2 2004
3) Markowitsch Reserve 2004
4) Domaine Serene Monogram 2002
5) DRC Echezeaux 2002

Overall most preferred wine (with the nod to older vintages which have an advantage)

1) Bass Phillip Reserve 2003
2) Markowitsch Reserve 2006
3) Felton Road Block 3 2004
4) Markowitsch Reserve 2004
5) DRC Echezeaux 2002

Most prefered winery in all three brackets

1) Markowitsch
2) Felton Road
3) DRC
4) Domaine Serene
5) Bass Phillip

The Chairman of the tasting, Curtis Marsh, analyzed the results. “Markowitsch Reserve Pinot Noir from Austria clearly impressed the most. This is not the first time that Austrian red wines and specifically Pinot Noir have astounded palates in blind tastings. The results should engender much interest in Markowitsch and stir the curiosity of Pinot Noir lovers around the world to explore Austrian wines more. As for the most preferred wine, the Bass Phillip Reserve 2003, I believe it is a most worthy result and brings attention to the under appreciation and misinformation that Australia does not produce great Pinot Noir. There are many other commendable Pinot Noir producers to discover, and I hope this tasting inspires consumers to explore Australia’s cool-climate wines in a different light.”

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