More from Chile: trophies and a seminar
It's been a busy couple of days, but I've still managed to squeeze some pool time in. It's hard to describe how good it feels to plunge into a beautiful swimming pool in bright sunlight and 30 degree temperatures when you have come from London in January.
Yesterday was the final day of judging. Each team had 20 or so wines to taste, and then we retasted all the golds (12 in all, down from 30 odd last year - judged by Americans - and 20-ish in previous years) to decide which would get the trophies (one per category where there was a gold) and then which single wine would win best of show.
It was a surprisingly painless process: the wines that had won gold medals were all excellent, and after some discussion we had our decision. As an aside, it has been a real privilege working with this team of tasters, who are all excellent. Yet despite the fact that all are experienced and have good palates, it's amazing how opinions can be spread on the same wines. I think this is only natural. Although there is a degree of objectivity in wine tasting, there are also distinct palate preferences. The only way to overcome these differences in a judging session is to make sure that all the judges are reasonable human beings who can discuss and learn from each other, and then come to a consensus.
Last night's dinner was a special one, held at the Guillermo Rodriquez Workshop. He's Chile's best chef, and the food was stunningly good: traditional Chilean reinterpreted for today. Many, many wines were served, and I had a nice chat with one of my dinner companions, Hector Vergara, Chile's top sommelier. I took notes on all the wines, and drank at least a bit of each, which meant I was tired this morning when I woke early to write my talk.
The talk was for a seminar in which each of the nine UK judges gave a 15 minute presentation, preceded by an excellent state of the nation address by Michael Cox (pictured), who runs the wines of Chile UK operation. Chile is doing very well indeed in the UK marketplace. My talk was titled 'natural wine: the role of technology', which sounds kind of ambiguous. But it went quite well, even though I had to prepare a powerpoint presentation on the tiny screen of my eeepc.
Now I must go: it's the gala dinner tonight, which promises to be a late one, with dancing and all (not that I intend to participate). More tomorrow.