You'd think that spending a day tasting wine was fantastic wouldn't you? Well believe me, it's exhausting! I was one of the judges at the Wine Merchant Magazine's Top 50 tasting on 6th May, and after an overnight sleeper train to London, getting lost and going north instead of south on the tube, and finally arriving 10 minutes late, we had to try 120 in three hours! That is really hard work!
This wine competition is judged by wine merchants. It is the only competition where the judges are made up of only retailers, the people that talk to you, the customer, and sell you wine. We know what our customers want and therefore we are only going to score wines highly that we know you want to drink.
As a result, value is factored into the judging, something that a lot of the established wine competitions ignore. Ironically this is the most important element and should be factored in to every competition. It is easy to make a fabulous wine and charge £100 for it, yet much more difficult to make a great wine for £8, but wine critics (who don't actually have to sell the wine) often ignore the value of a wine when awarding it gold medals.
You'll be pleased to know that I have found some stunners that will be hitting the shelves in the coming months. Overall, South Africa performed very badly (we had a table of 12 wines and rejected all but 3), the Languedoc Roussillon was outstanding (some sub £10 reds that were phenomenal) and there were some lovely white Italian wines as well. As all the wines were tasted blind I haven't a clue what they are yet, but I'll know pretty soon and then you'll be the first to know about them and get to buy them. Peter Wood