|View from the Four Seasons|
Just before the competition got under way, myself and a sizable group of people went into a quiet room fully setup for the tasting. I think we were the last group of the day to try the test. I suddenly got butterflies in my tummy! Images of university finals flooded back to me. What on earth was I doing there? I panic at the thought of tests. I knew the challenge was just for fun but I really wanted to do well. I guess I felt that I had something to prove to myself. I told myself that I would practice very hard for the test but that didn't happen.
|Lots of wine to try - the reward|
for taking the test!
* The test itself is completely free. You just book your desired time online. You must show up or notify a few days in advance if you won't be able to attend. Failure to do so might lead you to being banned from attending the next year's challenge.
* All wines are served double blind. This means that the servers themselves don't even know the identity of the wines.
* There are two categories: Professional and Amateur.
* The Professional category receives much more prestige and notoriety. There are great prizes for both categories. Of course, the prizes for the Professional division are much better. :) Anyone who wins the Professional category also has their name engraved on a gigantic trophy. That's pretty cool. It's like the Stanley Cup...but for wine!
* The Professional category has 7 wines plus additional rounds consisting of 3 spirits and 3 VQA wines.
* The amateur category has 3 wines plus an additional 3 wines for the VQA test.
"...wine is a never-ending learning and love story."
So true! He was one of the people supervising the tasting. I've been fortunate to meet such people who have won this challenge and I must say that their palates are top-notch. A few being Evan Saviolidis (2010), Taylor Thompson (2008), Sara d'Amato (2006).
|Did I get it right?!|
1. Assess each wine before even looking at the question sheet so you don't start second-guessing yourself.
2. Go through the process of elimination. What is the wine not?
3. Relax! This test can even stump the pros. Wine is indeed complex.
4. Try to go with your first instinct.
I'm really happy that I tried this very challenging tasting competition. It gave me a great idea of what professional wine tasting is really about. I don't think I'll be able to taste another wine now without giving it more considerable thought as to the details of where it's from and what was going on during that vintage weather-wise. I'm sure I'll annoy my friends when we're together as they'll just want to enjoy the wine and not analyze it to death. Sorry guys!
See some of you at the 2012 challenge? Give it a go!