Judges sip spec­tac­u­lar wines

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JARRYD BARCA

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.

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