Sunday, April 09, 2006

I Am Now A Certified Wine Judge....... Not

Over the weekend I took part in the Golden Nose Wine Judging event organized by the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and I must say I had a wonderful time and met some great people. Finger Lakes wine people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. The event was held at the beautiful Corning Museum of Glass. The premise behind the event was to train novices about wine judging and then actually have them judge Finger Lakes wine- all in one day!
Obviously, us wine novices could not be taught in one day what it takes professional wine judges many many years to achieve. But we got a good beginning foundation with short tutorials such as "The 6 S's For Successful Wine Tasting" by wine educator Lorraine Hems, "Components of Wine" by Peter Bell- winemaker at Fox Run Vineyards, "Wine Flaws" where Dave Whiting- winemaker at Red Newt Cellars, made us smell what happens when wine goes bad, "How To Identify Grape Varieties" by Chris Stamp- winemaker at Lakewood Vineyards, and "An Overview of The Finger Lakes Wine Industry" by Jim Trezise- President of The New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
Then we seperated into Judging Panels of 4-5 people, each led by a wine professional who guided us and answered our questions as we sampled and judged 6 flights, each comprised of 4 unidentified wines from the same category (Riesling, Chardonnay, etc.). We judged each wine on our own and gave it a score and then we discussed each wine with the other members of our panel to decide if it merited a medal (Gold, Silver, or Bronze). At times, there was disagreement but my panel's wine professional, Dave Whiting from Red Newt, skillfully guided us to a peaceful resolution.
It was surprisingly difficult to evaluate the sometimes very subtle nuances in the wines and my tastebuds got fatigued very quickly. But, being a wine geek, it was fun to discuss wine with others who share my obsession and get a glimpse into the life of a wine judge. I left with a new respect for them.
Saturday night, we then got to see and taste the fruits of our labor as the awards were given out by Mike Rusinko, President of The Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, at a dinner at The Corning Museum of Glass. I had never been to the Museum before and I was very impressed with the facility and the food. I hope to go back and tour the museum this summer.
It was a wonderful weekend and I have to thank Paul Thomas and Liz Stamp and everyone involved for their hospitality and for putting on a great event. What I enjoyed even more than the judging was meeting a lot of wonderful people who share my enjoyment of all things wine.
Here are the award-winners of the 1st Finger Lakes Golden Nose Wine Competition:
Chateua Lafayette Reneau- Owners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Knapp Vineyards- Vignoles
Lakewood Vineyards- Cabernet Franc
Lucas Vineyards- Miss Behavin
Prejean Winery- Riesling
Red Newt Cellars- Red Newt White
Sheldrake Point- Riesling Ice Wine
Torrey Ridge- Blue Sapphire

Atwater Vineyards- Dry Rose
Earle Estates- Pear Wine
King Ferry Winery- Apple Mystique & Cabernet Franc
Lakewood Vineyards- Cabernet Franc & Niagara
Torrey Ridge- Niagara & Blue Sapphire

Atwater Vineyards- Somerset Blush
Amberg Wine Cellars- Chardonnay Reserve & Pegasus
Anthony Road- Devonian Red
Atwater Vineyards- Estate White
Cascata Winery- Red Velvet
Chateau Lafayette Reneau- Proprietors Reserve Chardonnay & Owners Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Fulkerson Winery- Matinee
Glenora Winery- Brut
Goosewatch Winery- Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Melody, Cabernet Sauvignon, Traminette, and White Port
Knapp Vineyards- Vignoles
Lucas Vineyards- Miss Behavin
Montezuma Winery- Cranberry Bog
Prejean Winery- Riesling
Red Newt Cellars- Red Newt White
Seneca Shore Wine Cellars- Lemberger
Shaw Vineyard- Pinot Noir & Cabernet Sauvignon
Sheldrake Point- Dry Rose, Riesling Ice Wine, & Barrel Reserve Chardonnay
Swedish Hill Vineyard- Blanc de Blanc & Cynthia Marie Port
Tickle Hill Winery- Sweetie Pie
Ventosa Vineyards- Saggio

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