I’m from Joisey, are you from Joisey? What Exit?

A shocking result from the Judgement of Princeton Wine Competition was announced last Friday:  Wines from New Jersey actually held their own and even beat some notable French wines in a blind test.


Yes.  That was the announced result from a panel of judges who tasted various red and white wines from both France and New Jersey.  The competition was part of the American Association of Wine Economists conference and was organized by none other than George Taber.  Taber was the journalist who covered the 1976 “Judgement of Paris” for Time Magazine where Napa wines soundly beat the top French wines.

This time around it was New Jersey wines that did battle.  A panel of nine judges were assembled to blind taste 4 French and 6 NJ wines in each category: red and white.  The whites had to be 100% Chardonnay while the reds could be blends but only the standard Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet, Cab. Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, etc.).

The judges were an array of wine industry experts, restaurant owners and wine journalists.  3 were European including 2 French judges.


Jean-Marie Cardebat, Professor of Economics, Université de Bordeaux
Tyler Colman, DrVino.com
John Foy, Wine Columnist The Star Ledger; http://www.thewineodyssey.com
Olivier Gergaud, Professor of Economics, BEM Bordeaux Management School
Robert Hodgson, owner, Fieldbrook Winery, CA
Linda Murphy, co-author of American Wine; Decanter
Danièle Meulders, Professor of Economics, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Jamal Rayyis, Gilbert & Gaillard Wine Magazine
Francis Schott, Stage Left Restaurant, New Brunswick; RestaurantGuysRadio.com

The Wines and Results

1 Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos Mouches 2009 FRA
2 Unionville Chardonnay 2010 NJ
3 Heritage Chardonnay 2010 NJ
4 Silver Decoy “Black Feather” Chardonnay NJ
5 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet FRA
6 tied Bellview Chardonnay 2010 NJ
6 tied Domaine Macr-Antonin Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 2009 FRA
8 Amalthea Cellars Chardonnay 2008 NJ
9 Ventimiglia Chardonnay 2010 NJ
10 Jean Latour-Labille Meursault-Charmes Premier Cru 2008 FRA

1 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2004 FRA
2 Chateau Haut-Brion 2004 FRA
3 Heritage Estate Reserve BDX 2010 NJ
4 Chateau Montrose 2004 FRA
5 Tomasello Cabernet Sauvignon “Oak Reserve” 2007 NJ
6 Chateau Leoville Las Cases 2004 FRA
7 Bellview Lumiere 2010 NJ
8 Silver Decoy Cabernet Franc 2008 NJ
9 Amalthea Cellars Europa VI 2008 NJ
10 Four JG’s Cabernet Franc 2008 NJ

Is Something Smelling Fishy Here Besides Snooky?

According to the announcement, the scores were so close that, statistically, there were virtually no significant differences in the rankings.  This would also indicate that on a rematch the NJ wines could actually win. At first glance, the competition does seem to be on the up and up.  The judges, while not world renowned wine critics, do have some top flight credentials and the tastings were blind.


The competition was held in NJ and several of the judges were residents of NJ and/or had wine related business there. Also, none of the NJ wines have even been reviewed by either Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast.  WE’s Steve Heimoff scoured the Wine Enthusiast database looking for reviews or notes but couldn’t find a one.  We could not find them either.  Also the Wine Advocate has never given an NJ wine higher than an 87.  Wine Spectator never higher than an 85.  Curious..

Here’s a quick look at the big French Reds that were in this battle:

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2004 – WA: 92 WS: 93
Chateau Haut-Brion 2004 – WA: 92 WS: 95
Chateau Montrose 2004 – WA: 91 WS: 92

Even if you’re not a big fan of critic scores, these are obviously very good wines.  The fact that NJ wines can hold up or even beat them is hard to believe but who knows?  Blind tasting can be most revealing.

Perhaps Jersey is joining the big boys.  Perhaps one day …

Guy 1: Hey buddy, come on over for dinner.  I’m pouring a wine from New Jersey

Guy 2: Cool!  Is it the Sewage Creek Snooky Reserve 2007 or the Douche-Canoe Valley Situation 2008?

Guy 1: Dude, have to go with The Canoe…

Guy 2: Sweet! I’m in!