jamie goode's wine blog

Saturday, April 29, 2006

This year, the International Wine Challenge has undergone a degree of reinvention, and it's now better than it's ever been. New chair people Sam Harrop and Tim Atkin have been added, complementing the existing duo of Charles Metcalfe and Derek Smedley; Robert Joseph has stepped down.

I attended yesterday, acting for the first time as a senior judge, which means you get to run one of the tasting teams, and you also get . It was a good day's tasting and I was impressed by the organization. Lunch was nice, too.

What are the changes? Well, the panel of 25-odd superjurors has gone. It's just the four chairs who get to have the final say, which introduces much more consistency into the competition.

There are two rounds of tasting. In the first week wines are tasted and the only decision is whether they are medal winners or not. The second week concentrates on looking more closely at just the medal-winning wines, to decide exactly which medal they get. In the past, all previous years' medal winning wines got a bye into the second week of tasting (albeit usually in the follow-in vintage); now, everything gets tasted in the first week, which is a big improvement.

The faults clinic is also much more rigorous this year, with Sam Harrop in charge: the data gathered are likely to be much more dependable, and I can't wait to see them.


At 11:29 AM, Blogger PMH Wines Ltd said...

It will be interesting to see how it all works out. I did 2 stints behind the scenes and was surprised at the way some things were done. This new way looks more streamlined and lets hope more efficient.


At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All looks good for Camel Valley sparkling this year...

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

The big issue with competitions like this is ironing out inconsistencies between tasting panels. Putting it simply, tasting blind like this really brings out differences in perception among individuals. You need a small band of rigorous, highly competent dudes to filter everything that goes through from the tasting panels. Having an MW lead a tasting panel doesn't assure consistency - I saw Tim, Sam, Charles and Derek in action and tasted some of the wines that various panels had dumped out, but which didn't deserve to be dumped - and these were appropriately reinstated. So I think the results will be much more solid this year.


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