Upsetting the Champagne Cart
I’ve always loved those stories that appear now and again about a no-name wine or a wine perceived to be mediocre beating better known and more appreciated wines in a taste-off. Of course the most famous of them all is the Paris tasting of 1976 when California’s Montelena Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap Cask 23 beat out French First Growths in a taste-off.
You hear about these upset events these days in the context of wine competitions. Last year, I believe, Two Buck Chuck took a gold medal at some American wine competition. That did a lot to validate the palates of Trader Joe’s shoppers.
Well there is another fun one out of England in which a cheap, grocery store-procured and blended sparkler beat the cages off some well know Champagnes such as Mumm, Piper, Taittinger and the $75 Laurent-Perrier Grande Siecle Cuvee.
Three Hundred wine judges called Supermarket Tesco’s Premier Cru Champagne the best Non-Vintage Champagne out of more than 160 entered in the International Wine Challenge. Cost: About $30. The Tesco Brand Champagne beat out other well known Champagnes costing well over $100.
Why is reading about these wine upsets so satisfying? It must be something about our tendency to want to bring down the big boys.