Western Living Magazine
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The Judgment of B.C. tasting pitted our best Syrah and Chardonnay against the world and the results were....not bad.
A few weeks back, we had the Judgment of B.C. wine tasting overseen by famed wine writer Steven Spurrier. Spurrier rose to fame in the mid-1970s when he conducted a similar exercise—dubbed the Judgment of Paris—wherein California Cabernets were tasted blind with the heavyweights of Bordeaux, and lo and behold, the Yanks won (the story provided the basis of the decent movie Bottle Shock with Chris Pine). Alan Richman took a break from throwing Bruce Willis off buildings to portray Spurrier (whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Argentina a few years back), with a tad too much foppishness and not quite enough elan.The Judgment of BC did the same thing, but subbed in Okanagan wines to compete—blind—against an international contingent of challengers, all at roughly the same price point. So what happened? Without the spin it was simple—our Syrah (the chosen red grape) did really well. Our Chardonnays, not so much. What can we take from this?1. We produce excellent Syrah. World beaters, maybe not just yet. There were no Cote Rotie or other pricey benchmark Syrahs here (the goal was wines of similar price so dropping a bottle of Grange or Guigal la Turque wasn’t possible). But against similarly priced wines we rocked.2. …Really excellent. Charles Smith’s K Syrah is frequently lauded as one of the wines that prices Washington state makes world class syrah. His K Syrah—at $70 the most expensive in the class‚ finished dead last, with every Canadian Syrah being ranked higher and being considerably cheaper.3. Our Chardonnay has stiff competition. The B.C. wines really dominated the bottom here, but is it so bad to finish behind a $45 Premier Cru Chablis or an $86 Premier Cru Meursault? One wonder who we would have fared if riesling was the grape (better, is the conventional wisdom here).4. Aussie Chardonnay is really underrated. The Soumah Chardonnay from the Yarra Valley took top spot. It’s $27. Aussie Chardonnay is not all Yellow tail friends.5. Tastings like this are fun, but crapshoots. I heard that Spurrier himself favoured the Meyer Family entry (we love this wine here at WL) but he was just one vote and ultimately it finished, inexplicably, second-last.