Thursday, June 07, 2018

Tasting for the Wine Tasting Championship team at The Taj, Cape Town

This interesting wine tasting competition has the wine industry abuzz each year and lots of wine people rush to enter so that they can show off their tasting skills. Why? Because, if you are one of the winners, you get a trip to the International Championship which is held overseas and the trip is phenomenal. Not only do you compete, but you get to visit various wine areas and are hosted. You will taste amazing wines and meet important people in the international wine industry. And all you have to do to win is know which wines you are tasting. Easier said than done.
Because John was guiding a wine tour that morning, we were a little late in arriving.  What happens is that there is a wine tasting in one room and you need to taste everything and remember what you tasted. Then you go into the competition room where you taste five white wines and five red wines, blind, and you have to identify them. Name the varietals and the farms they are from, their vintages and other information that is required. And answer some industry questions. Easy!
 Almenkerk owner/winemaker Joris van Almenkerk with a contestant
Two keen sommeliers memorising wine
Tell me all about it please
This is serious tasting
In the competition room, lots of notes are made and compared with tasting notes
Brian Mahlangu, assistant sommelier from the Cape Grace Hotel, was a keen and skillful entrant
Black Pearl wine farm owner and Cape Wine Master Mary-Lou Nash and Joakim Hansi Blackadder, winner of the Gaggenau Sommelier competition, competing for a place in the South African team. They are also looking for a Zimbabwe Team
 The competition is organised in South Africa by winemaker and sommelier, Jean Vincent Ridon, now known as the Flying Sommelier. He has just returned from working in several different countries - making flying visits to them all. In front are the five red wines you have to identify. And some were mystifying. When you see a half empty flask you know this is the wine that is giving people the most problems
Taste, smell and remember.  Now we wait to see who the finalists are and what the wines were.  Lynne did taste them at the end and found it fascinating and difficult but didn't enter, it's for younger people to go forth and explore
Sommelier Eben Bezuidenhoud pouring Creation wines for Aimee Beaumont and friend 

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