Goes with red meat.
But tasting ten vintages
Leaves a warm glow
from La Tête to Lafite.
Rhyming is easy compared to big, formal wine judgings. Five factors to take into account for each glass (aroma, taste, varietal character, complexity, overall quality), a dozen or so wines per flight. Four groups of four judges, swirling, sniffing and swooping through a staggering 100 or more wines in the course of a morning, fueled by coffee & donuts to start, then nurtured with crackers and celery sticks to cleanse the palate as the day wears on. Raw beef to battle the raw tannin. A bit of cheese to keep the engine running. A few M&Ms as a reward for finishing the flight.
Christopher Chan is the founder and grand wizard of the Seattle Wine Awards; he also hosts Happy Hour Radio every week on KOMO. There are more volunteers than judges, pouring hundreds of wines, a phalanx of number-crunchers at the head table, and almost as many paid staff from the Swedish Club to clean up. It's as meticulously planned as a military operation, and, after two days, we judges declare victory and go home. Chan will re-emerge later this summer as host of a grand public tasting, once all the scores have been tallied and verified. It's entirely possible that one of the wines that my panel tasted will, by that time, be named Best of Show or some such. Not sure I'll ever know.