Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Grand Jury European

Rob Landsness

A recent tasting by the Grand Jury European turned some heads and its been forwarded around quite a bit recently. But who is the GJE and why are they gaining such esteem in the wine community as an alternative view on wine?

The founder of the GJE, Francois Mauss (pictured left), describes his group in his own words:

"the GJE wishes to see itself as an alternative way of classifying the great wines of the world compared to the individual notes of the best critics worldwide, particularly the English and Americans from whom GJE has adopted the method of scoring out of 100 points to facilitate international comparisons.

Its method: regularly bring together at least 12 of its permanent members, from at least 6 different countries of the European Union (and Switzerland) in order to have them blind taste a maximum of 68 wines in two daily 3-hour session, under strict legal control."

While I won't list all the principles and rules, it was interesting to note that scoring is based on "A complex statistical tool, developed by Bernard Burtschy, himself a permanent taster and Professor of Statistics in one of the Parisian postgraduate universities..." This tool "corrects the possible variations and discrepancies in classifications between the tasters."

Below is the result of wines that the GJE tasted in the last few years a minimum of 5 times, each using their exacting methodology. Vintages are from 1998-2004. The ranking is astonishing because some of the biggest names in wine, like Petrus, do not show as well as some newcomers with much lower price tags.

The name at the top, Pavie, is not without controversy. The darling of Robert Parker and the devil according to some in the British and European press, and yet the core of these tasters are indeed European. The whole point was to provide another look at wine and not necessarily from the American and British perspective. Some may conclude that wines such as Latour need more age to develop in contrast with right bank wines heavy on Merlot. The GJE counters that its not a bad thing to have a wine fully enjoyable at all stages of life.

One Bulletin Board member on wittily remarked that the real winner here was the producers of oak barrels, as many hedonistic examples are heavy on the new oak--Pavie again being called out by some critics as an oak bomb. Whatever your feelings, it is a fun list to review and I think I'll be buying a few bottles of Haut-Condissas, that's a serious QPR !

Here is the list :

1 Pavie
1 Ausone
3 Haut-Condissas
3 La Mondotte
5 Pape Clément
6 Valandraud
7 Angélus
8 Monbousquet
9 Beau - Séjour Bécot
10 Pavie Decesse
11 Tertre Roteboeuf
12 Le Bon Pasteur CRD
13 Mouton-Rothschild
14 Canon-la-Gaffelière
15 Cheval Blanc
16 Lafite-Rothschild
17 Reignac CRD
18 Margaux
19 Latour
20 Berliquet
21 Sociando-Mallet
22 Rol-Valentin
23 Aiguilhe
24 Pichon - Longueville Baron
25 La Mission Haut-Brion
26 Marojallia
27 Léoville-las-Cases
28 La Tour Carnet
29 Montrose
30 Clos Fourtet
31 Léoville Poyferré
32 Pavie-Macquin
33 Beauregard
34 Karolus
35 Quinault l'Enclos CRD
36 Clos de l'Oratoire
37 La Couspaude
38 Cos d’Estournel
39 Pichon Comtesse de Lalande
40 Malescot Saint-Exupéry
41 Dassault
42 Chasse - Spleen
43 Troplong Mondot
44 Kirwan
45 Clarke
46 Grand - Mayne
47 Fontenil
48 Domaine de l'A
49 Cantenac-Brown
50 Pontet-Canet
51 Lagrange
52 Lynch-Bages
53 Clos Badon
54 Haut-Marbuzet
55 Haut-Brion
56 Domaine de Chevalier
57 Beychevelle
58 Smith Haut Lafitte
59 Giscours
60 Lusseau
61 Rollan de By
62 Bellevue
63 Malartic - Lagravière
64 Du Tertre
65 Clos l'Eglise (Perse)
66 Citran
67 Petit-Village
68 Clos Puy Arnaud CRD
69 Prieuré - Lichine
70 Roc de Cambes
71 Rauzan - Ségla
72 La Lagune
73 Pierre de Lune
74 Lascombes
75 Branaire
76 Larrivet - Haut - Brion
77 Clinet CRD
78 Latour - Martillac
79 Canon
80 La Croix de Gay
81 Phélan Ségur
82 Fonréaud
83 La Louvière
84 Siran
85 Poujeaux
86 Marquis de Terme
87 Haut - Bergey
88 La Dominique
89 Faizeau VV
90 Larcis Ducasse
91 Monbrison
92 Les Carmes Haut-Brion
93 Greysac
94 Carbonnieux
95 Beaumont
96 Clerc Milon
97 Bouscaut
98 de France
99 Picque Caillou
100 de Lamarque
101 D'Armailhac
102 La Tour de By

If you do not see a Château, it may be for only one reason : it was not tasted at least 5 times since here,you have the full list of the wines tasted 5 times during these GJE sessions.

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