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Chinese blind-tasting team claims shock victory

A team of wine tasters from China has claimed a surprise victory at the fourth La Revue du Vin de France Tasting World Championship in France.

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China triumphed over France and previous winners Spain in the 2016 Revue de Vin de France Tasting World Championship

Finishing ahead of France, who came second, and last year’s winners Spain, who this year fell to 10th, the Chinese team claimed the prestigious title and trophy at Château du Galoupet in Côtes de Provence on 8 October.

An American team finished in third place in the blind tasting, while Belgium finished fourth. The British team, one of 21 competing this year, finished in 11th place.

The competition required the teams to blind-taste 12 wines – six white and six red – and identify the main grape, country, region, producer and vintage of each wine.

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Finishing on a score of 108 points, the Chinese team of Liu Chunxia, Tze Chien Chen, Xi Chen, Xianchen Ma and coach Alexander Brice Leboucq.

The victory came as no surprise to coach Leboucq, who noted that competition to gain a place on the Chinese team was fierce.

Commenting after their victory, the Chinese team acknowledged that in blind tasting competition’s success was half down to knowledge and half to luck, La Revue du Vin de France reported.

The Chinese wine market was the fifth-largest in the world last year, with 32 million cases of wine imported in 2014, according to the IWSR

The country is also a growing force in terms of wine production. Last year it had 799,000 hectares of land dedicated to growing grapes – second only to Spain.

Almost half of wine drinkers in China buy their wine online, making it the world’s largest and fastest growing e-commerce market.

China now boasts around 21 million online wine buyers mainly made up of the urban middle class who look for imported wine and in particular, wines which they perceive to offer value for money, according to Wine Intelligence.

The wines tasted at the La Revue de Vin de France Tasting World Championship, in the order in which they were tasted:

Wine 1
Grape variety: Chenin Blanc
Country: South Africa
Region: Paardebosch, Swartland
Producer: David Sadie
Vintage: 2015

Wine 2
Grape variety: Chardonnay
Country: New Zealand
Region: Wairapara, Martinbourough
Producer: Ata Rangi
Vintage: 2014

Wine 3
Grape variety: Riesling
Country: Germany
Region: Pfalz
Producer: Wittmann
Vintage: 2015

Wine 4
Grape variety: Sauvignon Blanc
Country: France
Region: Sancerre
Producer: François Cotat (La Grande Côte)
Vintage: 2005

Wine 5
Grape variety: Viognier (60 %; plus Sauvignon Blanc (25%) and Chardonnay (15%))
Country: Lebanon
Producer: Ixsir (Grande Réserve)
Vintage: 2015

Wine 6
Grape variety: Sangiovese
Country: Italy
Region: Fontalloro, Tuscany
Producer: Felsina
Vintage: 2010

Wine 7
Grape variety: Malbec
Country: France
Region: Cahors
Winery: Château de Chambert (Puits)
Vintage: 2012

Wine 8
Grape variety: Syrah (90%; plus Mourvèdre (10%))
Country: France
Region: Languedoc
Producer: Domaine Peyre Rose (Syrah Leone)
Vintage: 2005

Wine 9
Grape variety: Shiraz
Country: Australia
Region: McLaren Vale
Producer: D’Arenberg (The Eight Iron)
Vintage: 2009

Wine 10
Grape variety: Pinot Noir
Country: USA
Region: California (Central Coast)
Producer: Ojai Vineyard (Bien Nacido)
Vintage: 2012

Wine 11
Grape variety: Monastrell 70 % (plus Cabernet Sauvignon (30%))
Country: Spain
Region: Jumilla
Producer: Bodégas El Nido
Millésime : 2014

Wine 12
Grape variety: Petit Manseng
Country: France
Region: Jurançon
Producer: Domaine Cauhapé (Quatuor de Cauhapé)
Vintage: 2014

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