So, tasting has finished at the world’s biggest and best blind tasting wine competition. Day 9 of judging at the International Wine Challenge was, from the perspective of table 9 at least, a very good one, with some nice wines.
We began the day with a flight of vintage Champagnes, with 1996 the youngest and 1981 the oldest. Really interesting: with the older wines, personal taste comes into it a little, making them harder to judge. That’s why we have panels, though.
I have really enjoyed the last two weeks. The best thing? The people. The interaction with fellow judges and also the IWC team – a dedicated, skilled bunch who have performed brilliantly. I love the wine trade: it is full of interesting, diverse, friendly, curious people. And it’s a relatively small business, so you can’t afford to have feuds or massive egos or personality clashes. You just have to get on with each other.
One thing I love about the IWC is the way that it combines being professional with a good dollop of fun. From Charles Metclafe’s jovial briefing at 0930, through the flights arriving and the co-chairs (mainly Tim Atkin) treating us to their iPod playlists, to the inter-judge banter, humour and good will make hard work enjoyable.
So, a lie in tomorrow. But even though I’m tired, part of me wishes that the last two weeks could continue.