Brandon’s Corner – Judging at the Royal Easter Show Wine Awards

A couple of weekends ago, I participated in the Royal Easter Wine Show judging event, where myself and a further 20 or so judges assessed the nearly 1,200 different wines entered.  This annual event is organized brilliantly by the Wine Show Queen Shona White and headed by Kate Radburnd and Mike de Garis.

 

The judging begins on a Friday afternoon and ends late Sunday afternoon with the final trophy assessments, typically these wine shows are divided into 4-5 panels, with 5 judges per panel.  By the end of the 3 days, each judge would have tasted at least 300 wines or around 100 wines per day, split into individual classes based on variety, or class description such as Rosé or Other Red Varieties for example.

 

I am often approached with the same question by friends and peers during these wine shows – “how are your teeth”?  Usually this question comes after a picture has been posted on the Sauvignon blanc or Riesling flights with reference to the acidic nature of these varieties.  I must admit I don’t really find any palate fatigue sets in for me until the tannic reds section kicks into gear, particularly big flights of young Syrah or Cabernet sauvignon.  I keep a steward close on hand, the one with the key to the fresh green olives jar and ensure the sparkling water glasses are topped up during these classes.  This keeps the palate rolling for me and combats the dryness and inevitably has a way of protecting the gums and teeth at the same time.  Another tool of the trade is Tooth Mousse, yes you read that correctly, its a créme for the teeth and gums made up of Calcium and Phosphate that we judges apply in between wine flights and it works wonders.  Recaldent is a good brand.  I keep a little tube handy in my office as I taste wine most days.  Which reminds me of a time a few months ago, following a tasting in the office, I reached for the Recaldent while reading an email and not paying enough attention, I squeezed into my mouth the sunscreen tube kept in the same place, which the palate did not appreciate!  Immediate palate fatigue!  Spit out of mouth now!  The Recaldent and Sunscreeen are kept in separate locations these days.  Bring on the next tasting.
Cheers,
Brandon