Teaming up with the ‘Claret & Blue Lions’

by Charles Lea

Mervyn King is perhaps best known as an economist and of course Governor of the Bank of England, but is also incredibly passionate (and alarmingly knowledgeable) about both cricket and football, which perhaps explains his choice of team name in last night’s Wine Society wine quiz, the ‘Claret & Blue Lions’.

The Governor invited me  to join his team in an attempt to bolster the team’s score in the annual Wine Society’s ‘Master Wined’ (groan), and we got off to a flying start. However, the combination of his opening comment ‘we are only here to WIN’, and the selection of the Society’s often rather indifferent wines made the blind tasting rather more tricky than I am used to,  leading to some rather alarming errors. What we took to be a rather alcoholic French Grenache turned out to be a New Zealand Pinot Noir, and what was so obviously a Riesling confused us with its rather light fruit and very high acidity, and came from Alsace, and not Hungary as we thought. Time to get our thinking back into the box and look at more obvious choices. Questions relating to eight wines tasted blind, a round on the same grape varieties with different names (find the odd one out) and general knowledge, in addition to the extraordinary amount of  information imparted by the Quiz Master (who must have thought he was on QI) kept us on our toes, and up until the final round we were in the lead. Unfortunately, however, we fell at the final hurdle incorrectly answering the provenance of a Coonawarra Cabernet, and came in only in second place. Which as the Governor pointed out to me as we left the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, is not the same as winning. Next year I will do better!