Last week I attended a small tasting of Medal Winning Wines in Auckland. When I am in the UK I do try to spend a few days every year in deepest Sussex, wine judging for the IWSC. So it was good to see how the wines fared in New Zealand.
The International Wine and Spirit Competition was the first competition of its kind to organise blind tastings and promote the world’s best wines and spirits. Now in its 45th year the IWSC is now joined by various other similar competitions, each with its own style and method of judging.
Samples are presented in flights of numbered glasses to avoid the possibility of judges being influenced by the shape of a bottle. Judges are provided with a score sheet and given the basic parameters of the class being assessed. Samples are assessed quietly; and without comment; marks are recorded and collected by the panel chairman who may then open discussions in respect of judges’ comments and scores.
Detailed chemical analysis helps refine judging to further assess a wine’s future stability and legal compliance. Every single wine is assessed on its own merits within the context of its class.
Blind tasting is a good, useful exercise and I always enjoy doing it, particularly not being influenced by the label and other information.
After the recent announcement of the IWSC results for New Zealand, Glengarry Wines, a major NZ wine retailer, organised a small tasting of Medal Winning Wines in Auckland for their customers.
There were just over a dozen wines on show, all Gold Medal or Silver Outstanding Medal winners, which feature in the Glengarry portfolio. There are, of course, many more NZ medal winning wines available elsewhere.
Jo Burzynska, wine author, journalist and fellow judge, gave a brief introduction to the IWSC and the wines on show.
Then it was time to enjoy the relaxed, informal tasting.
For me three wines stood out from a very good bunch.
Ara ‘Select Blocks’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Freshly mown grass! Dry with a good bite of refreshing acidity, lots of grassy, citrussy notes on the palate.
Two Sisters Central Otago Riesling 2009
Terra Sancta ‘Shingle Beach’ Central Otago Pinot Noir 2012
This was a good early evening tasting with not too many wines to taste and all, of course, of excellent quality and producers on hand to tell the consumers about the wine. However I was surprised that there was no tasting sheet, which would have surely encouraged orders.