Day 2 at the IWC - an enjoyable day of tasting

Day 2 of the International Wine Challenge has finished, and I’m beginning to get in the swing of things.

Just as an athlete gets into shape through training, I reckon wine tasters can get their palates sharper through intensive tasting. Not that I’d claim to be some Olympic-level taster. That would be ludicrous. It’s just that by the end of two weeks tasting like this, assessing wines quickly and accurately is a lot easier.

Today’s tasting was great fun, largely because the panel I was tasting on was so engaging. We had some quality banter. I think we also did a good job assessing the 95 wines that passed our table. One of the reasons I think the IWC works well is that the tasters are carefully chosen for their ability to work as a team, as well as for their palates. It certainly felt like teamwork today.

Pictured above: Christos Ioannou, Anne Jones and Ben Campbell-Johnston.

2 comments to Day 2 at the IWC – an enjoyable day of tasting

  • Andrew Halliwell

    Hi Jamie -

    I understand that you need to taste a lot of wines in big competition tastings and no doubt you are all doing a great job of it, but doesn’t today’s blog rather go in the face of you recent comments re. Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir…

    “…most of the wines featured here on this blog have been drunk, as opposed to those brief sniff and slurp encounters that happen at large tastings – where the palate is often physically fatigued, and where there can be significant carry-over effects from the wines preceeding….
    ……But spending some time with it, I think there’s something interesting here….”

    So which is it to be – it’s possible to train the palate to accurately assess massive flights of wines in a few hours, or are we to believe that the only true way to really know a wine is to drink it over a few days?

  • Jack Hix

    Can one really assess a wine in a matter of minutes? I don’t think that’s possible.

    How long do you spend assessing the wine? Aren’t wines best explored after being opened for long periods of time, and left to unfurl and develop in the glass? In fact the best wines in the world change quite dramatically over a period of hours, even days (such as German Riesling).

    What do you do if a wine is shut down? Do you still score it?

    I think these competitions are unfair, most especially to the vigneron who spends at least a whole entire year getting that wine to you, only for you to “analyse” it within a matter of minutes and move onto the next one.

    Why should one pay attention to these scores?

    I think you’re being quite cocky Jamie comparing yourself to an Olympic athlete. Respect should be given to the wines – you an important trusted source for the impact the scores will have on the success or failure of the wines.

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