Home Wine, Beer and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills. The shop is owned by John Daume, who also operates Camarillo Custom Crush, where the competition was to take place.
The list of wines to judge was eclectic, including such native American varieties as Marechal Foch, Chambourcin, Steuben, Baco Noir, Norton, Niagara, Muscadine, and scariest of all, Concord and Catawba.
Cellarmasters uses a judging system based on the UC Davis 20-point scale. Our instructions: Determine if there are noticeable faults or flaws and grade on Appearance, Aroma/Bouquet, Balance (of acid, tannins, sugar), Body/Texture, Taste/Flavor, Finish, and Overall Quality. Each element has a specified point value. Summing the points provides the individual judge's medal recommendation, at which point the judges must come to a consensus for each wine, the result of which may turn out to be higher or lower than your individual rating. The judges are encouraged to add comments for each element in order to provide guidance to the winemakers, many of whom submit their wines in order to learn how to improve their craft. Oh, and we sign our names to the judging sheets, so there is accountability.
Tasting through these wines was educational for me as well. I was familiar with some of the grapes, but the goal was to make a judgment based on the quality of the wine in front of us - whether we liked it or not. What I found myself doing was writing questions in the comments section; was this supposed to have this color, flavor, aroma? Most wines were well-made, and some were excellent - and delicious! We awarded a few gold medals, more silvers, and a couple of bronzes, I think. As always, the discussion about the wines proved the difference in our palates, as well as personal preferences, influenced our ratings.
|Over 300 wines!|
The listings of the medals will be up on the Cellarmasters site shortly, and I'll provide a link to that later.
In the meantime, I want to thank Dave and the Cellarmasters for a truly educational and entertaining day.