Saturday, April 14, 2012

Golden Nose

This weekend I participated in the Golden Nose Awards. I learned to be a wine judge and was a beginning judge for the Golden Nose competition. The event started last night with a social in the hands on kitchen. We drank wine and munched on wonderful hors d'oeuvres-the deviled eggs were amazing-they had bacon and a spicy tang! I could have eaten the whole pan of dessert-goat cheese and apples with honey baked in puff pastry. Yummm! This morning started bright and early, I had to leave the house at 7:30am! They gave us fruit, muffins, and danish and we began. We received an introduction to wine judging including the six esses for successful wine tasting (can you guess the 6 s words?). We then learned the components of wine and tasted pure versions (straight water, ethanol, acid, sugar, and tannin). The third lecture was about wine flaws and off flavors. We then tasted a flight of different varietals (1 labrusca, 2 hybrids, and 2 vinifera). Then 3 professionals judged 2 wines-which we all tasted and judged as well. We then heard their comments and rankings. After that we broke up into 7 groups. My section had lunch (yummy sandwiches, salad, potato chips, and cookies) then we started judging! Our head judge was Ian Barry, the winemaker at Villa Bellangelo Winery. It was great working with him. My group judged 6 flights (groups) of wines-2 Reisling, 1 Gewurztraminer, 1 Catawba, 1 Pinot Noir, and 1 Port for a total of 22 wines! As taught-we had to spit each one, you can't swallow that many wines and still be functional. It was sad dumping some of that wine...the exception was the wine we awarded double gold-most of us just had to have a little swallow of that Gewurztraminer! A double gold is given when it's a unanimous decision to award gold. It was interesting to see the varied responses each wine gave-on several we ran the gamut in our rankings-from no medal to gold! What was really interesting was that in some cases-people that were polar opposites on some wines-gave the same rating to others! There was a 3 hour break before the awards and a buffet dinner. I decided to come home... stay home. Part of me wanted to return, but I wasn't up for the drive back-if only it was a smidge closer...or the break wasn't as long. Sam is glad I returned home though! I had a great time and learned a lot. I may attend next year as a returning judge. If you have the chance, it's a great opportunity-if you're able to go, take advantage of it!

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