Taste testing

19th March 2019

News, Student news

Wadham Graduate student Sarah Beth Amos (DPhil, Computational Biophysics, 2015) was one of a team of six students representing Oxford in the 66th annual Varsity Blind Wine-Tasting match.

  • Sara-Beth checks out the 'nose' of a red wine

  • Representing Oxford were Sarah-Beth Amos, Samuel Budnyk, Anna Gautier, Michael Gilhooley, Gianmarco Luppi, Samuel Olegnowicz and Clint Wong (captain). The team is coached by Dr Hanneke Wilson (centre).  

Held at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, the event was hosted by Champagne Pol Roger and judged by Jancis Robinson OBE MW and Professor Peter de Bolla.

Each team blind-tasted six whites followed by six reds commenting on grape variety, country of origin, viticultural region, and vintage. 

After four years of Oxford wins, the competition from Cambridge was too great this year and the Oxford team were beaten by 726 points to 635.

Jancis Robinson commented: “The white wines in particular were really difficult. The first was a Picpoul de Pinet if you please – not exactly a banker. Then came an Alsace Riesling that should have been a banker but it was made by Ostertag, whose wines are anything but typical – although to their credit many of the tasters identified it as Riesling.”

Sarah-Beth, who discovered wine tasting though events organised for the Wadham MCR by Stephen Heyworth and Ray Ockenden, added:  “We got a good score and we had a great day so we don't feel we've done too badly at all! Most importantly we have all gained a life-long appreciation for the subject of wine and are very grateful to so many people who have generously shared their knowledge with us in preparation for the match.”

The event was filmed for HBO, by an American TV crew including host Bryant Gumbel, for Real Sports, a documentary news programme.

Wadham students interested in blind tasting should sign up to the society newsletter 

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