On Sunday, September 16th I was, for the first time, officially a wine competition judge; judging wines for the Denver International Wine Festival which takes place on November 8 & 9, 2012 at The Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver, CO. Most of the other 17 judges (all wine professionals) participated on both Saturday and Sunday in the double-blind tasting of domestic and international wines. A previous engagement, however, (leading a winery tour in Napa Valley), limited me to Sunday only.
I arrived a bit nervous, not knowing exactly what to expect. Beginning at 10:30 am and ending at 3pm, we tasted through about 50 wines. Each table of 4 judges tasted different categories of wines. Our table was assigned Pinot Blanc, European Dry Whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Red Blends, and Apple/Pear, Berry, and Flower/Vegetable dessert wines. Each was scored for nose, color, flavor, finish and overall appeal. We had a knowledgeable group of judges at our table, including one who came all the way from Sonoma. Soon I was in the groove and found my scores were quite similar to the others.