Rothschilds Won’t Dare to Compare Wines

In Rothschilds choke on a wine tasting, London’s Sunday Times details the story of how Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, 72, chatelaine at Château Mouton Rothschild, tried to prevent her wines from being compared to California wines.

She argued it would impugn the family honour to have the tasting at Waddesdon, which was built in Victorian times by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild but modelled on a 17th-century chateau in the Loire valley.

The baroness also insisted that none of her wines should be subjected to a blind tasting.

One would think that the owner of the world’s legendary vintages would welcome a comparison to others, blind or otherwise. Apparently, though, the risk of embarrassment outweighs any potential gains. After all, blind tastings are unpredictable – there are no clues from the label to help the tasters maintain the staus quo and make sure a superb brand doesn’t accidentally get rated lower than its status deserves. Sorry for the sarcasm, but…

As it turns out, the baroness isn’t so dumb – her fear was justified:

To the disgust of the French, the Californians won hands down. A 1971 bottle of Ridge Monte Bello, currently priced at £188, was the overall winner.

The only consolation for the baroness was that a 1970 Château Mouton Rothschild, currently £136 a bottle, came sixth as the highest placed French wine, even if it was judged against her will. The organisers refused to withdraw it because it had been one of the original wines tasted in 1976.

Overall, the tasting is a clear indication that the best California vintages can hold their own against any competition, even the finest Old World wines. The blogosphere is celebrating… The Steel Deal notes, “The French … LOSE AGAIN“.

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