In November I posted the accumulated results of the previous four Napa versus Bordeaux Shootouts: https://blog.musingsonthevine.com/2011/11/27/napa-versus-bordeaux-where-do-we-stand/

As promised, we just conducted match-up number five and have the following to report.

The fifth installment took place on May 11, 2013, matching a comparable set of six wines. The results were as follows:

By Wine

Wine

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

(3 pts)

(2 pts)

(1 pt)

1997 Cuvaison Merlot

3

1

4

15 pts

1997 Chimney Rock Stags Leap

3

5

1

20 pts

1997 Spottswoode

2

2

5

15 pts

1989 Gloria

0

1

2

4 pts

1989 Chasse-Spleen

0

1

0

2 pts

1988 Lafite Rothschild

4

2

0

16 pts

By Region

Napa Valley

50 pts

Bordeaux

22 pts

California clearly clobbered France! A somewhat unexpected result, although the panel was unanimous in stating that this meeting was the best/hardest match-up yet. Each of the panelists had an admittedly difficult time picking their top three favorites, with many vacillating during the tasting.

So after five installments, the results stack up as follows:

France’s lead is narrowed to 3 – 2 in overall wins. Point-wise the French have 149 points to Napa’s 140 points, again holding a narrow lead.

One of our panelists did point out that the Lafite did have the most first place votes of any wine, suggesting that the wine with the most first place votes could be construed the winner and by association, the country of origin of said wine could be called the winner. As tempting as I was to let France rule the day as a result of the fine showing of the Lafite, I allowed a more balanced approach to sort out the results. In the end, clearly California outpaced France.

A few observations are in order… The Bordeaux wines were appreciably older than their Californian counterparts. This was by design and what the group found was that the French wines were all nicely mature with layers of complexity, integrated tannins and impressive structure for wines approaching the quarter century mark. None were tired or showing their age. Truly a testament to a great wine in a great vintage. The Californian wines were also showing very well, but it was clear that with the exception of the Chimney Rock, the 1997 wines were on a downward slide. After spending an hour or so in the glass, the French wines were still vibrant, whereas the Californian wines were muddled and tired. This had been my assumption going in, hence the match-up.

Where does it go from here? Well if history repeats itself, I imagine a sixth match-up in 2015, either in April, or October…

Should be fun, as usual!

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