Evergreen State Fair: Me, a Wine Judge?

by Shona Milne on August 11, 2009

My wine judging experience started at 10:45 on Sunday morning out in Monroe. I heard that they were looking for wine judges for the Evergreen State Fair, which starts August 27th, and volunteered my wine tasting services. We were judging Homemade Beverages which disallows anyone with a commercial production of wine. These could be the  future winemakers of Washington we were judging. We were assigned tables and at each table was someone who had previously judged wines so they could lead us through our task for the day. I had John of Cougar Creek Wines at my table. I was at table #4 and we got to start off with red blends, lucky us. We judged on color and clarity, the aroma and the flavor of the wine. We also had to consider if the wine was balanced, acidic, sweet, and our overall impression of each wine. We did taste some very good wines in the red blends. After lunch we moved onto the fruit wines. We had blueberry, cherry, nectarine, and peach wines to judge in this round. Our final wine came under a Country Wine category; Jalapeno. Yep, we were wondering what were getting into. I guess I can only describe this wine as liquid jalapeno in a glass. It was a surprisingly good wine based on the judging criteria. I think I would pair this wine with nachos; it was smooth and well balanced with a bold flavor with a very loooooooooong finish. There was no getting around that this was a jalapeno flavored wine. Extremely grateful we left this wine until the last taste. There were no bad wines tasted; some just need a bit more practice.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bean 08.11.09 at 8:29 am

Sounds like you had a great time. Looking forward to hearing about the winners.

Shona Milne 08.11.09 at 9:07 am

I did have fun. I had never been a wine judge before so it was great to have someat each table who knew what we were doing. I’d love to do it again. A great experience.

Jim Slone 08.12.09 at 5:40 pm

Hi Shona…any secrets on cleansing your palate after tastings? I like to do wine tastings, too!

Shona Milne 08.12.09 at 6:45 pm

We had bread and crackers and water. I’m glad we did the Jalapeno wine last. It could have been a problem. We also took a lunch break between the red blends and the fruit wines. Time is a good healer.

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