EM Lyon sweeps tasting prizes

French business school EM Lyon has won both the ‘Concours de degustation inter-grandes écoles’ and Sciences Po International Tasting (SPIT).

The victorious EM Lyon team with their winnings at the SPIT tasting

The victorious EM Lyon team with their winnings at the SPIT tasting

The French team of Cédric Jardin, Henri Frangin and Robin Lenfant carried the day at the SPIT tasting this week, beating both the Oxford and Cambridge teams and becoming the first French team to win the prize since the competition was created.

Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger, the SPIT tasting was created by the wine club of Science Po eight years ago.

Twelve university teams participated in this year’s competition, six French (the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris, EM Lyon, ESSEC, ESTP, Polytechnique and HEC) and six foreign (Oxford, Cambridge, Cornell, Copenhagen Business School, St Andrews and Chinese University Hong Kong).

The competition is run in several stages over April in Paris, Reims and Aÿ. The three series of tastings are, naturally, all blind and focus on regions, varieties and vintages and there are corresponding questions on a variety of wine-related topics from general knowledge to current events. Results are judged by a panel of top sommeliers, chaired this year by Andreas Larssen.

Towards the end of March the Lyonnais team also emerged victorious at the ‘Concours de degustation inter-grandes écoles’, a competition which sees France’s leading business schools and universities go head-to-head in the continental version of the Oxford-Cambridge Varsity match in the UK.

Both the concours and Varsity tastings are also sponsored by Champagne house Pol Roger – the former since its founding in 2003 and the latter since 1992.

This year’s concours pitted five schools against each other: ENS, EDHEC Lille, ESSEC (also Paris), Kedge Bordeaux and EM Lyon.

Just as in the Varsity tasting, the teams from each of the competing schools have to taste six white wines and six red wines blind, identifying the grape variety, country of origin, region, appellation and vintage of each one.

EM Lyon Pol Roger

The EM Lyon team after winning the ‘Concours des grandes-écoles‘ this March.

In a “closely fought” final, EM Lyon beat last year’s finalist, ENS, into second place and the EDHEC Lille team came third. EM Lyon’s Lenfant was also named ‘best individual taster’ for which he won a bottle of 2004 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill.

The EM Lyon team of will go on to face the winner of this year’s Varsity match, which was Oxford and Edinburgh who beat St Andrew’s in the new Scottish leg of the competition, at ‘The Pol Roger International University Tasting Competition’, which will take place in Epernay this May Bank Holiday.

Last year it was Oxford versus the ENS – which the French team won. So, no pressure Oxford and Edinburgh.

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