Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Can you be a wine judge?

Can you be a wine judge?

Author: Cathy Marston

Published: 10 May 11

It’s pretty darned hardcore this tasting lark. The teeth are rotting, the gums are sore, the hours are ridiculously long (a 12 hour + day yesterday and looking as if it might be similar today) – who would want that? Well, surprisingly enough, quite a few people are keen to take part and being asked to join the panel along with tasters of this calibre is a privilege and honour that’s worth losing a few teeth over.

Thys Louw of Diemersdal and Heidi Duminy, CWM are some of the associate judges at this year's Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show.
Joining the panel on the first day were associate judges Thys Louw (winemaker of Diemersdal), Chris Albrecht (assistant winemaker at Bouchard Finlayson) and Heidi Duminy CWM (an educator and retailer from Johannesberg). Thys commented that this was the first time he’s tasted without knowing the vintage which proved slightly problematical and chairman Gary Jordan certainly agreed that it made the tasters work harder.

Today’s associates included Heidi again – clearly a glutton for punishment – Steenberg winemaker JD Pretorius and Durban-based wine trainer and educator, Nkulu Mkhwanazi. Nkulu described his morning’s tasting as ‘fantastically interesting’ (which bodes well for the Shirazes!) whilst JD was very impressed with the flight of Cabernet Francs & Sauvignons. It’s a rare opportunity to taste alongside some of the most accurate and insightful palates both here in SA and overseas and I think all credit to all the associate judges over the last few days, none of whom seem to be out of their depth at any stage.

Tomorrow the judges will be joined by Nkulu for a second day, Bernard le Roux from Noble Hill and Francois Conradie from Muratie. An exciting array of Pinotage, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Port lies in store for them – black teeth all round then!