Today has been a very interesting day of tasting. It was the first day of judging the new South African Top 100 competition, held here in St James, Cape Town.
The judging protocol is amazingly rigorous. We are tasting in two teams. I was with Cathy van Zyl, Greg Sherwood and Duncan Savage. The other team consisted of Sam Harrop, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Guy Harcourt-Wood and Richard Kershaw. Tim Atkin was the floating chair, helping with difficult decisions.
Our flights were pre-poured. For the first time, I think, in wine competition history, we were given two glasses of each wine. The first was a freshly poured sample; the second one that had previously been decanted (3 h for whites, ~7 h for reds). We tasted individually, then discussed each wine extensively before reaching a verdict.
Our panel worked well, I think. There were some disagreements, but these were discussed robustly and frankly, and then we usually managed to reach some sort of agreement. This is the nature of wine. Eventually, we will produce a Top 100 that we are proud to stand behind. There were lots of good wines today; we have three more days of tasting before us.