Judges sip spectacular wines
From Tuesday, September 18 to 20 the qualified winemakers spent hours on-end in the Henderson Pavilion deliberating and judging around 360 different wines, with each individual glass scored separately by three different judges out of 20, resulting in a score out of 60.
It’s part of the Rutherglen Wine Show which happens annually and this year is representing the 130th year.
Pfeiffer Wines owner Chris Pfeiffer, who is the Chairman of the Wine Show, said people are awarded gold, silver and bronze depend- ing on whether their wine meets a certain standard.
“There’s actually no limit on the amount of awards we give out, it’s just whether their wine warrants it,” he told The Free Press.
“The Wine Show is an opportunity for people to have their wine tested and assessed. All the judges know is the table number in front of each glass – they don’t know the label, the brand, who owns it and where it comes from, all they know is the number to eliminate all bias.”
People entered from all over Australia as well as locally, with the Rutherglen Wine Show predominately about table and sparkling wines as opposed to fortified. Over the three days, judges assessed sparkling, dry reds and dry whites.
“It’s actually quite a difficult job,” Mr Pfeiffer said.
“Mentally and physically to do the testing it’s very fatiguing. Putting wine in your mouth constantly can be very tiring, people don’t realise that but it’s true.”
Each judge is there with their own perception of a wine. Mr Pfeiffer’s job as the Chairman is to act as a magistrate if there is any discrepancy – he does not do any of the tasting or smelling.
“My role is to sign off on all of the wines and the medals meaning if someone decides silver for a wine and I think they’re being too harsh, I can bump it up to gold. Vice versa if someone awards a gold and I think ‘no that’s not a gold’.”
The judging process consists of looking at the colour of the wine and smelling it to appreciate the bouquet, which allows a judge to determine what fruit characters are coming out of the wine.
The final part is the tasting – where the judges will put the wine in their mouth and spit it back out – which allows the judges to determine the flavour characteristics and overall balance.
“Ultimately at the end of the day we’re trying to determine a good drink,” Mr Pfeiffer said.
“Gold is obviously indicative of a high score – you’ll have to get at least 55.5 out of 60 for that. There isn’t much room for error since you’re being judged on smell, bouquet and everything, silver is still very good and bronze is much broader.”
Although Mr Pfeiffer estimated that approximately a third of the wines judged could get an award, everyone who entered their wines are winners because they’re getting a sense of how their wine compares, while also declaring there isn’t really a bad wine.
On top of the medals, there are 22 trophies for the overall best table and sparkling wines, which will be awarded at Thursday night’s Rutherglen Wine Show Dinner at the Rutherglen Memorial Hall.
There will also be a public tasting of the nation’s best wines, including the award winners, with the ticket price including finger food and a souvenir glass to keep.
Tickets for both events can be purchased by calling 0424 161 488 or emailing wineagshow@ westnet.com.au.
Professional judges from all over Australia have spent three full days at the Rutherglen Showgrounds assessing wines from all over the country.
World-class wine judges both sniffed to take in the aroma and tasted each glass of wine to best gauge its quality.