I was in London today for the second tasting of the Sommelier Wine Awards organised by Imbibe magazine. It was a really good experience, and in some ways showed me that I have a long way to go if I want to pass the tasting part of my Court of Master Sommeliers Advanced course.
The tasting was held in the private dining room of Delfina on the Bermondsey Road, out in what I will assume is quite a trendy up and coming area of London. The room itself was pretty big and very white and blank, which I suppose is ideal if you are selling it as a space. We were organised into four groups - each group having a team leader who role was just to co-ordinate the proceedings and prod us along. There were seven of us in the group, and we tasted five flights of between ten and twenty wines.
The first flight was white burgs and the prices ranged from £5-50. I felt out of my league at first as I tasted my way through each wine, trying to jot down some notes and then rating each wine with a yes, no or maybe. I started out looking at the wine from the point of view that I was tasting it with a view to listing it here. So I looked at the whole range of factors - the style, quality and overall balance of the wine, but was the price right. It isnt as easy as it sounds. Once we had all tasted our way through the wines we then discussed which wines we felt would make it through to the next stage. There were some wines that we almost all agreed with, there were some that we didnt, but overall it was fairly well balanced with some active debate promoting or demoting the merit of disputed wines.
I must admit that by the end of the afternoon I struggled through the last two flights - Italian reds - other and Rhone. The last three wines were quite hellish really, I felt like I wanted to chuck! But overall the experience was a really good one, I got to meet a few really interesting contacts, and its an experience that I would love to expand on a bit over the next year or so, hopefully gaining myself and consequently the hotel a slightly higher profile.