The Old World can no longer claim dominance in the taste bud department. Chinese wine professionals recently beat professionals from Europe (and America) in a blind tasting competition.
Teams from 21 countries participated in the fourth annual international blind tasting event organized by the French magazine La Revue du vin de France. Each team was given six reds and six whites and asked to identify the main grape, the country of origin, the appellation, the producer and the vintage. No small task, as anyone who has ever taken a sip of wine knows.
China took first, France second, and the United States third, which we can only imagine is adding to Donald Trump’s anxiety about China besting the United States. The team from Spain, which won first at last year’s contest, fell all the way to No. 10.
The Chinese winners acknowledged that blind tasting is “50 percent knowledge and 50 percent luck,” La Revue du vin de France reports, but luck isn’t all that random. People have to put themselves in the position to get lucky, and the Chinese team, coached by Alexander Brice Leboucq, said that getting a spot on the team wasn’t easy.
Should the world be Judgment-of-Paris-level surprised? Not really.
China is quickly becoming a major wine market and is on track to become the largest wine consumer in the world. China’s middle class is finding comfort in wine, and fine wine has become popular with wealthy members of society (with a few hiccups). Hell, the country has the second- most acres of vineyards after Spain, is the fifth-largest wine producer, and entities like Moët & Chandon’s parent company are investing in Chinese wine production.
So buckle up and get ready to reshape your thoughts on New World wine domination, because Chinese tasters know what they’re doing and they’re here to stay.