As a guest judge I was privileged to sit side by side with a class of amazing wine wizards. These guys go three straight days tasting, assessing and awarding the medals you read about later in the summer. It is hardcore vinoconcentration, for sure, and as any self respecting and curious wine journalist would do…I came home and “Googled” all the fellow judges in my group. I mean seriously, when you are sitting around sharing your perceptions on 84 wines, it’s fun to know a bit about your compatriots. I was wowed by their credentials: a world-reknown Canadian winemaking consultant, an owner/winemaker from a small estate winery in the Mt. Vedeer area of Napa, a well regarded Canadian import/export/distribution expert, and my table buddy, a former winemaker from Temecula. I love that he used to make wine at my “first love” winery, Maurice Car’rie—maybe he had a hand in my favorite muscat canelli.
During group discussions, these judges shared their vast knowledge on the subject of wine. From being able to specifically identify the stylistic decisions made by a winemaker of a particular sample to debating the likely level of toast applied to another sample’s barrel of origin, these men were impressive. I thought I was good. Gotta say, however, my ratings didn’t vary too much from the team….I’d say I was certainly in the ballpark most of the time. Not too bad for a newbie judge.
I’ll write again soon about the process of tasting those 84 wines. It’s a story in itself! xoSB