Italy gives their all, but France the winner of Quarterfinal A

A beautiful spring afternoon set the scene for the much anticipated first match up for World Cup of Wine. And what a start it was - four French wines set to go head to head against their Italian counterparts.

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We kicked off just after 2pm with the lighter whites - France's Mas Puech Picpoul v Italy's La Delfina Pinot Grigio. And straight away the judges were divided. It took most of us a few tries to decide which of these whites really deserved to win the round. (More Picpoul, anyone who's not sure?)

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Now we had the hang of the scoring system, we confidently judged the next players - La Baume Voigner v Kore Grillo. Both very different players with their own personalities. Luckily thanks to the amazing Sam Dexter, we had some delicious food on hand to help us sort our favourite.

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Next up were the reds. Now I don't know if it was because it was the middle of the afternoon or because we'd already polished off four whites by now, but this is where things got real. A few of the judges were big lovers of red wine, a few preferred lighter reds, but all the judges gave the reds their full attention and very thoughtfully judged Domaine de Caribiniers, Frappato Nerello, Chateau de Balan and Dogojolo Rosso. (But seriously, who'd like some more of that Picpoul?)

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All too soon, there was nothing left to do but tally the scores. Judges were allowed to award bonus points and penalty points, then we gathered all the scorecards and discovered that France was victorious. Italy came close and one judge had them dead even. Obviously she didn't get enough of that Picpoul to sway her judgement. 

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I got some great feedback from all the judges about the World Cup of Wine format that I'm looking forward to putting in place for Quarterfinal B - Australasia against South Africa. Should be a very interesting match up!