The winning team took away prize bottles of Spade Oak Gisborne Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Noirs 2009, and the losing team were awarded bottles of a ‘Fail Ale’.
The Spiegelau International Wine Competition is notable on many fronts. It is an independently run show with no affiliation to any industry group or retailer which puts New Zealand wines in the arena with international wines and judged with a more relaxed schedule than many other wine shows operate under. The show uses Spiegelau glassware specifically designed to show the best facets of each variety or style, and it auctions any unused bottles off, the proceeds returned to the industry via a Charitable Trust. For more information, go to www.thespiegelauiwc.co.nz
On a more personal note, the show also promotes a strong camaraderie and judging ethic by assisting associate judges progress, and involve stewards in awareness of all aspects of the judging process. To that purpose, Belinda Jackson and Margaret Cresswell the competition director and administrator respectively engaged me to conduct a Wine Options game which had the personnel in teams that combined the judges and the stewards together. The event was great fun to conduct and the attendees got into the spirit of the game. Ten teams competed to identify six wines served blind.
The top teams were:
1st (after a tie-breaker) – 105 points from a max. 150), Team 2, Sarah McD., Sarina I., Kate B. and Jane S.
2nd – 105 points, Team 1, Julie I., Marty, Mike de G. and Hugh G.
3rd – 100 points, Team 6, Meg B, Nadine C, Chris McD. Michelle
Last – 50 points, Team 7, Matt E., Matthew, Helen M. and Olly M.
The full names have not been published to protect reputations and privacy!
The wines served were:
Te Mata ‘Cape Crest’ Hawke’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Marc Bredif ‘Classic’ Vouvray 2010
Taylors ‘Jaraman’ Adelaide Hills+Clare Valley Chardonnay 2008
Isole e Olena Chianti Classico 2007
Mount Edward Central Otago Pinot Noir 2007
Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel 2009
A couple of conclusions could be made from the game. It is surprising how competitive people become when playing wine options. Just because you’re a good wine judge doesn’t mean you’ll be a good wine options player. Those who work with and enjoy wines from a variety of sources and countries do better at wine options. And it’s a fun way of looking at wines and trying wines you may not normally try and learning from them. And there’s a lot of luck involved!