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1976 Judgement of Paris

Stags LeapLast weekend, we, the team at Majestic Notting Hill Gate held a Fine Wine evening for staff of NHG past and present…

Having purchased a case of Stag’s Leap wines when they were on offer last summer, we decided to theme the tasting around the 1976 ‘Judgement of Paris’, where Californian wines competed against some of the top classed Bordeaux Chateaux.  At the time, France was generally regarded as being the producer of the world’s best wines.  However, the wines were all tasted blind and, surprsingly, the Californian Chardonnays and Cabernets scored the best average ratings in each category.

Beef-&-PotatoAfter much deliberation, the following wines were chosen for our tasting evening (kicking off with Champagne, of course) and accompanied by a delicious medium-rare fillet of Aberdeen Angus steak, roast potatotes and green beans…

Krug NV
Dom Pérignon 2000
Château La Lagune, 1988
Château La Mission Haut Brion, 1998
Stags Leap Cask 23, 2006
Château Palmer, 2004
Stags Leap SLV, 2006
Château Sociando Mallet, 1996
Stags Leap Fay, 2006
Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese, Fritz Haag, 2002

We rated each wine out of twenty and tallied up the average scores at the end, with La Mission Haut Brion being the firm favourite pipping Cask 23 by only the smallest margin!

It was a treat to be able to try so many fantastic wines side by side; in particular the Ch La Lagune 1988, which was a wonderful example of mature Claret with its delightful dried fruit flavours, hints of sandlewood and tobacco, beautifully well-integrated oak and soft tannins.

The Sociando Mallet was the surprise of the night, at just £50 a bottle, it punches well above its weight!

Comparing La Mission Haut Brion with Cask 23 was a real highlight.  Winner of the original 1976 Judgement of Paris, Stag’s Leap’s 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon beat off competition from the finest Bordeaux had to offer. The 2006 Cask 23 did not disappoint, showing sumptuous, bold black fruit, yet displaying real precision and restraint in style.

Red grapes in barrelLa Mission Haut Brion 1998 was outstanding, as one would expect from such a wine.  We were were all bowled over by its complexity – combining black fruits, pencil shavings, subtle wood and earthy truffles with a haunting combination of tannic backbone and velvet softness.

The evening was a huge success and shall no doubt be remembered for some time to come…  Roll on the NHG Judgement of London 2012!

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