Judging

Presentation

Clarity and Colour Bouquet

Flavour, Balance and Quality ... 20

Total, out of

The first two factors he will assess before opening the bottle.

He will look at its general appearance (cleanliness, neatness and legibility of label, newness of cork, size of airspace, etc.). The bottle should be well polished and, needless to say, scrupulously clean.

The judge will look through the neck of the bottle to judge the clarity of the wine, and at the conical "punt" at the bottom to judge its brilliance. Here there should not be the slightest trace of any yeast or other deposit. A starbright wine will score points over a bright, or a merely clear, wine. A wise exhibitor bottles his wine for show several days ahead after having made sure that it has been adequately racked, and he thus minimises the risk of having any yeast deposit.

The bouquet must be enticing, making you want to taste the wine; it must be vinous, pleasing, and well-developed but not overpoweringly so.

But, when all is said and done, it is the taste of the wine which naturally carries the most marks. The flavour of a wine must be agreeable, reasonably redolent of the fruit or source of origin (though not so much as some expect), vinous and invigorating, with sufficient "bite," enough acid, adequate strength for its purpose (i.e. aperitif, table or dessert) and the correct degree of dryness or sweetness. It should, above all, be well balanced as between sweetness, acidity and astringency, and be free of bacterial or other faults.

Between tastes the judge will clear his palate with biscuit, bread, or something of that sort.

Judging procedure is set out in detail in "Judging Homemade Wine" and wine clubs will find it fascinating to study these clear directions and arrange competitions to give their members judging practice. This can be done by having, say, up to ten bottles of wine available and giving each member a judging sheet on which are set out the possible points to be scored under each heading.

To assist in a complete split-down of the marking, it helps if all the markings normally used by Guild judges are doubled (this, of course, does not affect the end result) and printed marking sheets so devised for practice judging are available from the "Amateur Winemaker."

As long as members are using the same sheets, it is astonishing how similar are the verdicts obtained.

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