The Judgement of Kingston

Published in the November 18, 2016 Wine Align.

Last week marked the first annual Judgment of Kingston Tasting, a blind wine tasting that pitted the chardonnays of Prince Edward County against those of California. The event was based on the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting organized by British wine merchant and critic Steven Spurrier which put the best of Burgundy chardonnays and Bordelaise cabernets up against top California examples. In each instance of this blind tasting, a Californian wine was surprisingly awarded best in its category. This year marks the 40th anniversary of definitive tasting that put the Californian wine industry on the map. It has thus prompted many such copycat tastings around the globe but this is the only one featuring the wines of Prince Edward County.

Admittedly the comparison of the elegant and more delicate PEC chardonnays against the bolder California styles seems like comparing apples to oranges but the outcome was less black and white than expected. Along local wine critics and colleagues, seven wines were blind tasted with a group of 150 consumers in the historic Kingston City Hall. Of the four Prince Edward County wines, two surfaced as the top wines of the evening: Rosehall Run's 2013 "JCR" Chardonnay and Closson Chase's 2014 "South Clos" Chardonnay. The third place award went to the cooler climate Clos du Val Carneros Estate 2013 Chardonnay. The tasting illustrated the finesse of the leaner more Burgundian style Prince Edward County chardonnays which were favored by this group of engaged consumers. Part Two of the Judgement of Kingston will feature County pinot noirs against their Burgundian counterparts. More information can be found at: judgementofkingston.ca.

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