jamie goode's wine blog: Day 3 of the IWC, and a note about the Barbican

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 3 of the IWC, and a note about the Barbican

The International Wine Challenge (IWC) is held in the Barbican. It's a remarkable construction, built on a site that had been bombed out in WWII, which then remained undeveloped for two decades, before plans were made for a residential development in the late 1950s. The design was approved in 1959, and the building work began in 1963, continuing through into the next decade.
It's a striking sight, with the main feature being three rather tall towers. The rough concrete used to build the estate is pretty ugly, and there's a rather industrial, dirty, ugly feel to the whole place. But I guess, looked at in another light, the Barbican has its own sense of beauty. There are over 2000 flats here of different styles, which range in price from around £600 000 for a two bed to £1 million for a three bed. There's a thorough if slightly dull website describing the Barbican's history, written by a resident.

I've finished the third dayís judging. So far, itís been a little easier than Iíd expected it to be. I had worried that my palate and teeth wouldnít stand up well to day after day of tasting 100+ wines, but they have, and I even managed a wine tasting and dinner last night after a full dayís judging.

The organization of the Challenge is fantastic. It makes the job of tasting easier when you have a support team who make sure everything is in the right place at the right time. As for the accuracy of the process, I think itís pretty good. Accurate blind tasting is difficult: it needs a degree of expertise and also good concentration. Most of the tasters Iíve worked with on the challenge so far have been very good, but it only takes one random or variable taster on your panel to make the job of sorting out the medal-winning wines from the rest that much harder.

One of the best aspects of working on a competition like this is the chance you get to hang out with other people in the wine trade - at the beginning of the day, in the panels, at lunchtime, and over a Coopers at the end of the day. As well as being an enjoyable social interaction, you do make some useful connections.

Tasted today:

Eastern European Pinot Noir (5)
Stellenbosch Shiraz (6)
French Merlot (mostly Bordeaux) (8)
Argentina Tannat (1)
Uruguay Tannat (1)
Ukraine Zweigelt (1)
Brazilian Touriga Nacional (1)
South African Touriga Nacional (1)
Australia Tannat (1)
Sparkling Rose (2)
Sparkling Reds (2)
Australian Cabernet Sauvignon Blends (12)
Eastern Australian Shiraz (9)
Chile Carmenere Blends (4)
Italian Sauvignon Blanc (12)
Canadian Cabernet Sauvignon (6)
Argentina Malbec (9)
Stellenbosch Gewurztraminer (3)
Chianti (9)
Languedoc Cabernet (6)
Spanish Rose (10)
Portuguse sweet Moscatel (5)

Total = 105 wines.

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At 8:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jamie

I will be judging on friday as an associate judge...first time for me .....dont know if im looking forward to it or not with so many wines tasted.
Ive tasted in panels before but not so many wines as you say...any tips.I will come and say hello while ive still got a white smile.

Nigel C

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Colin said...

Jamie, thanks for the upbeat comment about the organisation of the event. We all enjoy helping out whatever needs doing and it's good to know our efforts are appreciated.

Please think of us while we are in from 9 to 6 on Sunday re-flighting for next week.........!

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Jamie said...

Nigel, hope Friday was good for you - whose panel were you in?

Colin, your work is really appreciated. See you tomorrow.

At 1:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie ..on my panel were Clive Barlow and Marcel Orford Williams and a couple other guys.We tasted 86 wines including some interesting Indian Shiraz.As a diploma student i found the whole day very interesting and hope to do it again next year,Perhaps for longer.
Didnt want to interupt you from your Coopers later in the day to say hello...another time.



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