Chile day 4 - more tasting
Today was the second full day of tasting at the wines of Chile awards. We were down to eight judges, because unfortunately Sarah Ahmed had been stricken with a nasty illness, and was unable to continue. We were reassured that it had nothing to do with her scores on the first day.
But before I say more about the judging, a word on restaurants. Last night we went to Akarana, which is opposite the Ritz Carlton, and presumably relies on American visitors for a good portion of its trade (signs on the outside were in English). It was really buzzy, and the food was pretty good. Recommended. Tonight we went to Mestizo, which is a stunningly situated restaurant in the Vitacura region of the city, which has only been open for a few days (they don't have their license for alcohol yet). The food - modern Chilean - scored 9/10. It was brilliant. The service mustered only 2/10, though - chaotic, unfocused and unprofessional. If they cure that, this will be a great restaurant, because the setting and the kitchen are pretty much perfect.
Tasting today was quite tough work. Working in our groups of three, we awarded quite a lot of medals - the standard was consistently quite high. But gold medals were hard to come by. The wines we have tasted at dinner over the last few days have shown that Chilean wine has come a long way in a relatively short time. But in our tastings, few wines really stood out as being really exceptional. It's quite hard as judges to have to say this: it would be much easier to give lots of golds and keep everyone happy. But we have to do our job as professional tasters and give an honest opinion of the wines that are in front of us.
Don't get me wrong, though: overall, I'm getting a favourable impression of Chilean wine through our tasting and drinking this week.
Story of the day was Joanna Simon's experience at breakfast this morning. Seeking butter to go with her roll, she asked for 'burro', which led to bemusement on the part of the waitstaff. Now I'm very tired (more tennis and swimming after work), and it's past midnight, so I shall go.
[Pictured is John Hoskins, Jo Simon and Julia Harding hard at work.]