Shortly before Thanksgiving, Kevin & I spent a weekend in Knoxville, TN, for the Wines of the South competition. There were 25 judges and 433 wines. Folks, that’s a lot of wine. Wineries in thirteen states
are invited to participate:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, South Carolina, and Virginia.
All wines are judged blind, served in a certified tasting glass at the appropriate temperature, and ranked with the industry standard 20-point scale.
The judges were split into groups of 5 and we each had to taste, in total, a little over 100 wines. The flights were anywhere from three wines on up to flights of 24 wines. Wine judging, while fun, is actually a pretty hard business. At the end of the day, everyone pretty much wants a beer. (Read about my first experience judging.) You do get palate fatigue and no, you don’t get drunk. There’s a lot of spitting going on. I used to think I’d never judge wine professionally, but I learn so much each time that I don’t ever want to stop.
Now, because these are the Wines of the South, we tasted more than vinifera. Vinifera is your standard cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, etc, that you can find in your local wine shop. We also got to taste domestic grapes (often French-American hybrids) and fruit wines.
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