It sounds an amazing thing to do. A day tasting wine. As a job! Wow! Well……

The task to complete on a wine day is to try and weed out the really rather not worth bothering with and also find those few wines that are exceptional. This needs to be done with nothing to guide you but the liquid in the glass. The bottle is in a bag with just an identity number and all you know is roughly where it is made.

From surprises to the hardesty similarities

As with most jobs there are easy parts and difficult parts. Recently I was asked to help judge several ‘flights’ of wines. A flight is a set of wines grouped together for judging. English Sparkling rosés were first.

A lovely wide variety of wines, all different shades of pink, all with different tastes and styles. These wines were a pleasure to taste.

Watch out for the English Sparkling rosé! You might be surprised by it!

With the UK allowing producers freedom to experiment more so than other countries/regions the skill of the wine maker really shone through. If you see any of these on the shelves, treat yourself. They won’t be too expensive and will taste of summer fruits and be full of bubbles, what’s not to like.

There were also some Chardonnays from a cooler region of Australia. These were interesting due to the fact they didn’t really taste like Australian Chardonnays. The weather being cooler makes the grapes different. The winemakers in this area are really trying to make their wines different to the usual Aussie Chard, much more like a white Burgundy.

Again worth hunting down these cooler Aussie Chards, especially if you are one of the people who state they don’t like chardonnay.

Then the day got harder! Being given a flight of reds, all from the same region of the same country, with the same production rules in place and same vinification  processes. Finding something, anything to differentiate them from each other is difficult.

Luckily there are in these regions better wine-makers than others and identifying the poor relation becomes a possibility.

Sometimes you’ve got to use different aspects to judge.

Bargains and ideas of what is coming

Valpolicella is all about sour cherries, the aroma, the colour and taste. If you can find one with ‘ripasso’ on the label then it will carry a bit more weight. It’s from the North of Italy and is light and an easy to drink red that can be enjoyed as a drinking wine.

Spanish reds are developing, there is scope for each wine maker to create their own signature within the wine produced. South Eastern Spain received many hours of hot sunshine so expect these wines to be big of flavour. It’s a developing region and wine makers are creating some interesting results.

It was enjoyable to blind taste because each wine carried something new to the party and the suggested retail prices point to bargains to be found.

Argentina’s most famous for Malbecs from Mendoza. However just to the south, remember southern hemisphere southern is cooler is a valley called Uco. Producers are trying to establish themselves from their more famous neighbour. The wines we tasted were all to a similar acceptable standard, with one outstanding example.

Amazingly after tasting 11 wines all of similar standard and taste and strength, one stood apart and was so much better.

There was also a flight of prosecco. If you like it you know what you are getting. However if you want to buy the really much better made look for the word Valdobbiadene. It is the quality production area of the wine and will be a much better drink.

So that is the day of a wine tasting judge. Can you spot us in the street? Maybe. Look for slight stains down the shirt front from constant spitting, see if you can spot stained fingernails form some reds staining the skin, but the real give away is going to be the peculiar red/purple staining of the teeth.

Slightly reminiscent of a recently fed vampire. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it!


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