World Service Restaurant, Nottingham
9th June 2006

The challenge was set on the UK Wine Forum: Keith Prothero, staunch advocate of South African had set the bait for Leon Stolarski, importer and retailer, primarily of wines from the Languedoc and Roussillon, and Leon had taken the bait. Which would we prefer if we didn't know which was which: South African or Languedoc?

A price per bottle limit of £15 had been agreed and the protagonist and the deuteragonist had agreed an order and a paired each South African with a Languedoc wine.  To recognise the generosity of Keith and Leon, the participants donated the equivalent of the price of a bottle that would have brought to a wine evening like this to the very worthy South African charity, the Pebbles Project, which supports children with special educational needs, particularly those whose lives are affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, in the Western Cape of South Africa.

The first 24 wines were served (blind) upstairs in the members' lounge at World Service and a vote was taken on each pair. Unfortunately, I lost track of the final votes for each pair after a while, or it might be that the returning officers stopped announcing the results.

Sparkling pair

and moving on (with increasing speed as the pairs went by and people got hungry)
  Wines over dinner The Sweet Flight A sipper to contemplate and finish.
Languedoc was the clear winner on votes on the pairings, but all in all, I think it was closer than that, and with a bit of electoral reform in the Nottingham procedures (e.g. allowing abstentions from the outset rather than from half way through!), I don't think the winner would have been as clear. There were some very good wines, but overall the standard was a little lower than I'd expected, perhaps because of an agreement to keep all bottle prices below £15. My wine of the night was one of the ringers: the Musar 1991.


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Last updated: 20 June 2006