Revisiting the long-forgotten battle: “la querelle des vins”

Revisiting the long-forgotten “bataille” and “querelle des vins” … with a contemporary outlook and a tasting!

Whenever there is a need to classify, to rank from best to worst and from top to bottom, competition soon arises. Wines throughout history, especially in France, have been the focus of heated arguments, vivid quarrels and even bitter battles to determine which ones were the best. Very often, these disputes arose because of newcomers trying to challenge the preeminence of well-established champions.

The first one of these disputes happened in 1224 at the court of King Philippe Auguste: eighty wines competed with one another during “La bataille des vins” – sometimes called “la bataille des vins forts” –, and ultimately ended up on a greater influence of wines coming from the south, with light wines gradually giving way to strong ones. Then, between the mid-17th century and the end of the 18th century, an “unarmed war” took place between Champagne and Burgundy, ending with the latter losing its spot as the absolute favorite. Even the great historian of wine Roger Dion has characterized the efforts to determine what makes a great wine as a “quarrel between the ancients and the moderns”.

With this series of wine-tasting seminars, we ambition somehow to put an end to these squabbles and show that each and every wine from each and every region has its own merits, depending on the moment and the mood, and more importantly the food! We start with the wines from the north – the Loire Valley, Alsace and Champagne – and thus the supposedly lighter wines that used to dominate the kings’ table.

Part 1 : Loire Valley

The Revenge of the Untamed

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Part 2 : Alsace

Discovering the Great Whites

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Part 3 : Champagne

Champagne is only from Champagne!

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