Saturday, June 13, 2009

Judge Hutnick

I had my first experience judging wine today at the Orange County Home Wine Competition. Local wine makers made submissions to the following categories: red and white (single varietal or blend), fruit, and dessert. I judged 21 sangioveses and 8 barberas. At the home wine level, I was looking for

1) balance of fruit, acid, alcohol, and tannin


2) the wine to exhibit the nose and flavor profile of the varietal*

My panel agreed that there were a handful that achieved both - some more gracefully than others. We tasted and scored for three hours with no major breaks. My sense of smell and taste became fatigued around the 25th wine, so under 30 wines in 3 hours was about right to ensure fair and consistent results. I'm glad I was assigned to judge local expressions of varietals I normally only drink from Italy. It really made me appreciate what a talented winemaker can achieve (close to) anywhere in the world.

Thanks to all of the friendly people who said hi to the "new judge" and made me feel so welcome. And to the Miller family who showed me the ropes, Jan for the picture above, and John for his jacket. Hope to see you all next year!

*(we had one sangiovese that was well made wine that tasted great...but it tasted like zinfandel)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Blau Blau

Kathleen and John threw another food and wine bash on Wednesday night to properly bid safe travels to our friend Steve (who's about to globe trot for the next 3 weeks!). With two somms present, Luca and I tried to make sure everyone always had a few glasses in front of them as we enjoyed our appetizer, salad, pasta d'Luca, grilled tenderloin, and chocolate souffle. 

Here was the official lineup. Favorites were the vintage PJ and the Blau & Blau (or everyone just loved saying "Blau Blau"). This patio was rockin for a school night:

Gosset, Brut Excellence, Ay, France

Perrier Jouet, Cuvee Belle Epoque, Côte des BlancsMontagne de Reims, France, 1999

Cascina Bongiovanni, Arneis, Langhe, Italy, 2007

Mark West, Pinot Noir, California, 2007

Silvio Jermann's Mjzzu Blau & Blau, 90% Franconia and 10% Pinot Nero, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy, 2006

Tetre de Moulin, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Emilion (Grand Cru), Bordeaux, France, 2006  


I don't care about age, just attitude. I'm always thrown off guard when another adult will say to me "I must be as old as your parents" or "I could be your grandfather." There's just not much to be gained from this quantitative comparison and I never know what to say back. My parents and grandparents are positive, hard-working, selfless, loving people. Yes, they're "family", but I want to be around anyone, any age, that lives life so passionately.