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'Judgement of Montreal' wine tasting results

Canadian News Wire and the Star reported in a blind wine tasting held at Le Colombe in Montreal, a Niagara Clos de Jordanne Chardonnay beat out 14 whites from burgundy and California. Any one know which 14 wines did the Canadian wine beat out? The articles covering this event were very generalized in the detail.

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  1. Mixed feelings on this: Great news and well-deserved attention for the Ontario wine industry, but this will make Le Clos Jordanne wines even harder to procure here! I snapped up a bunch at the last LCBO release, but it required an unusual degree of advance planning and strategizing, then schlepping it all back to my car in a snow squall with a bum knee. The things we do for good wine!.

    Sipping on a lovely Cave Spring [Niagara] Riesling right now...mineral, peach, and a nice dose of petrol.

    1. The results of the tasting of 16 reds and 14 whites were released yesterday in the latest issue of the SAQ's *Cellier* magazine. My copy hasn't arrived yet. This much I've been able to glean from the Web:

      The four top reds, in order, were 2004 Mouton Rothschild, 2004 Pichon-Lalande, 2004 Montrose and 2005 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. First among whites was Clos Jordanne's 2005 Claystone Terrace. The 2006 Montelena took tenth place.

      A quote from the article:
      "Autre surprise de taille, les vins qui se sont distingués affichent un taux d’alcool relativement peu élevé, ce qui aurait dû en principe les désavantager – plus un vin est capiteux, plus, souvent, il a un côté glycériné marqué, plus il est rond et velouté, ce qui a tendance à charmer d’emblée les dégustateurs même chevronnés.
      "La France peut relever la tête, elle a lavé l’affront de 1976… Mais, entre autres en matière de chardonnay, vaut mieux qu’elle continue à surveiller ses arrières !"

      [Another big suprise, the wines that came out on top showed relatively low alochol levels. In theory, that should have placed them at a disadvantage -- stronger wines often appear more "glycerined," rounder, plusher, which tasters, even experienced tasters, tend to find more immediately charming.
      [France can hold its head high. It has avenged the affront of 1976. But, among other things, as far as Chardonnay goes, it had better watch its back...]

      BTW, the media references to the Clos Jordanne being a "pirate" wine is a mistranslation. A *vin pirate* is a ringer.

      Will see if I can pick up an issue on the weekend. If not, my copy should arrive in my mailbox on Monday or Tuesday.

      5 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        Hello carswell,
        Appreciate if you would post the 15 white wines that participated in the tasting from the magazine article. Love to see if the Canadian beat out any Grand Cru Chablis or Montrachets?! Ha!
        Thanks in advance!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          Beware of wine competitions, judgements, awards & such.
          Lots of discussions in this board on that tricky (to put it politely) subject.
          Here are a few sample threads:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/397749
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/419607

          1. re: RicRios

            From what I've read, this 'judgement of Montreal' tasting was conducted very strictly and seriously. Like the previous 'judgement of Paris' when American Cab beat out Grand Cru Bordeaux, the result of the Montreal tasting was apparently, history in the making!

            1. re: Charles Yu

              It was my understanding that in 1976, the California whites bested the French whites, but then that was revealed to the tasters prior to tasting the reds, and the results with the reds was more balanced/mixed.

              With respect to the Montreal tasting, I would be just as interested in knowing who was doing the tasting as in what wines were tasted, and the methodology involved.

              1. re: Chris Weber

                I too would like very much to know who the judges are. I mentined the tasting to a Californian who immediately dismissed this as a regional affair done by local judges. So some backup info would be nice.

      2. As predicted, my copy of *Cellier* arrived in today's mail.

        The tasting was organized and run by Marc Chapleau, editor of *Cellier* and author of several wine books.

        JURY
        Composed of 10 wine people well known in Quebec but probably new to most Chowhounds. I consider several of them to have very good palates. As a group, they prefer Old World to New World styles. In alphabetical order: Jean Aubry (wine reviewer for *Le Devoir*), Gilles Magny (SAQ wine advisor), Patrick Désy (writer, *Cellier* contributor), Don-Jean Léandri (École hôtelière de Laval), Nadia Fournier (co-author of *Le Guide du vin*), Marc Lepage (SAQ wine advisor), Véronique Rivest (writer, *Cellier* and *Châtelaine* contributor), Jacques Benoit (wine reviewer emeritus for *La Presse*), Claude Langlois (wine reviewer for *Le Journal de Montréal*) and Bill Zacharkiw (wine reviewer for *The Gazette*).

        METHODOLOGY
        All wines were tasted blind. Tasters knew only that the exercise was, to some degree, a sequel to the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting. The also knew there were differences since, for example, 16 reds were tasted, not ten as in Paris. No other indications were provided, other than a comment that the wine later unveiled as the 1999 Roxburgh was significantly older than the others. Tasters didn't know which, if any, of the Paris wines would be included. They were not told the vintages of the wines involved. Nor were they told that ringers -- in this case meaning wines not from California or France -- had been added to the lineup.

        For each sample, each taster was asked to complete a comment sheet that, among other things, had check boxes for indicating whether the taster thought the wine was Californian or French.

        As is standard practice at *Cellier* blind tastings, the tasters did not always taste the wines in the same order. Also, the highest and lowest scores for each wine were discarded.

        All the bottles were purchased at the SAQ in early 2009. The article also says the wines were served at around 15ºC/59ºF (I suspect the article may be referring here uniquely to the reds), which could be advantageous to the stronger Californians (by disguising their generally higher alcohol levels) and disadvantageous to the more tannic Bordeaux (by making them appear harder, more astringent).

        RESULTS (score / wine / price*)

        Cabernet Sauvignon
        1. 91.8% / 2004 Château Mouton Rothschild / C$490**
        2. 91.1% / 2004 Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande / C$124
        3. 90.6% / 2004 Château Montrose / C$99**
        4. 89.9% / 2005 Mondavi Reserve / C$150
        5. 89.4% / 2000 Diamond Creek "Volcanic Hill" / C$300
        6. 89.3% / 2002 Arrowood "Réserve Spéciale" / C$118
        7. 88.9% / 2004 Ridge "Monte Bello" / C$199**
        8. 88.6% / 2005 Château Branaire-Ducru / C$98
        9. 88.2% / 2003 Château Léoville-Las-Cases / C$381**
        10. 88.0% / 2005 Caymus "Special Selection" / C$145
        11. 87.2% / 2003 Torres "Mas la Plana" (Spain) / $C45
        12. 87.1% / 2005 Château La Garde*** / C$36
        13. 85.8% / 2004 Pauillac (3rd wine of Château Latour) / $85.75
        13. 85.8% / 2005 Château Haut-Marbuzet / $74
        15. 85.5% / 2002 Heitz "Martha's Vineyard" / C$168**
        16. 85.1% / 2004 Pepper Bridge (Washington) / $77.25

        Chardonnay
        1. 88.8% / 2005 Clos Jordanne "Claystone Terrace" (Ontario) / C$37.50
        2. 88.5% / 2005 Saint-Aubin 1er cru, "Clos du Meix", Hubert Lamy / C$43.75
        2. 88.5% / 1999 Rosemount Estate "Roxburgh" (Australia) / C$44.25
        4. 88.0% / 2006 Meursault "Le Limozin", Jean-Claude Bosset / C$68
        4. 88.0% / 2005 Santenay "Clos de Malte", Louis Jadot / C$41.50
        6. 87.4% / 2006 Beaune "Clos des Mouches", Joseph Drouhin / C$108.25**
        6. 87.4% / 2006 Kumeu River Estate (New Zealand) / C$32
        8. 87.3% / 2005 Mer Soleil / C$49
        9. 87.1% / 2002 Sonoma-Cutrer "Les Pierres" / C$50
        10. 86.8% / 2006 Château Montgelena / C$44.50**
        11. 85.5% / 2006 Pouilly-Fuissé "2 Terroirs", Mommessin / C$30
        12. 85.3% / 2005 Chassagne-Montrachet "Les Chaumes", J.-N. Gagnard / C$48.25
        12. 85.3% / 2004 Arrowood / C$34
        14. 85.1% / 2005 Pouilly-Vinzelles "Les Quarts", La Soufrandière / C$44.50

        *Prices are in Canadian dollars (C$1.00 = US$0.80 in January) and include 14% sales tax.
        **Wine included in the 1976 "Judgment of Paris" tasting.
        ***The Château La Garde is 60% Merlot. All the other reds were mostly Cabernet Sauvignon.

        NOTES
        - All ten tasters put the Mouton Rothschild, Martha's Vineyard and Clos de Malte in the right category (California or France).
        - Nine tasters put the Montrose, Pauillac (Latour), Mondavi Reserve, Caymus, Meursault "Le Limozin" and Mer Soleil in the right cateory.
        - Eight tasters identified the Roxburgh as a Burgundy.
        - Generally speaking, the tasters found it easier to correctly identify the Califonia reds and French whites.
        - Four tasters ranked the Caymus last among the reds.
        - Of all the wines tasted, the one that received the closest to unanimous assessment was the Saint-Aubin. Opinions were most divided over the Mondavi Reserve and the Chassagne-Montrachet.
        - Average alcohol level of the French reds and whites: 13.1%.
        - Average alcohol level of the California reds and whites: 14.1%.
        - The average price of all the French wines was within a few dollars of the average price of all the California wines.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carswell

          Thanks.

          There goes my monthly, err, yearly, wine allowance !!

          they could have put a Canadien red, like the Osoyoos-Larose, just to compare.

          1. re: Maximilien

            Yeah, or a Chateau des Charmes Equuleus or other Niagara red standout.

          2. re: carswell

            Many thanks carswell for the detaied posting!

            Surprise to see even 'off year 2004' Bordeaux managed to top the list!

            If the 2005 'Claystone Terrace' is THAT good, imagine what the great 2007 vintage will be like! May be I need to take a drive to Niagara to get some directly from the vineyard!