UNDERSTANDING WINE MEDALS
Well if the wine has a medal it must be good, right? Well, not necessarily. I am sure that we all have had an award winning wine that was not good as well as having unknown wines without medals that were fantastic.
Wine awards are given by many organizations in many different countries, however the wine assessment normally follows the same rules and guidelines. The people assessing are qualified professionals trusted to pass on their objective judgement on a wine. The current issue is the huge amount of wines that are getting these awards. In UK alone, the big supermarket chains enter 100’s of their own wine labels in these competitions and DO get those medals. The reason for that is mainly financial. Wines with a medal will sell more!
The other reason many wines are getting these awards is that the more wines with medals, more income is generated by the organizations running these. We are not saying that the wine with medals do not deserved them, however, we believe the assessment criteria should perhaps be more rigorous so that we are assured that the wines with medals really means truly extraordinary wine.
How wine medals are awarded?
A wine-show medal on the label indicates that the wine has been measured against others of a similar class by independent wine judges. While entry conditions and judging protocols vary from show to show, the following generally occurs:
Wines are divided into appropriate classes, which are either defined by grape variety and vintage, or by general descriptors such as mature dry reds, aromatic whites and so on.
Wines are tasted "blind" and they're assessed by a panel of judges against a set of organoleptic (sensory) criteria.
Wines are typically scored either out of 20 or 100 points, depending on the show's system, with all those above a certain score receiving a medal (bronze, silver or gold).
In theory, all wines in a class could receive a gold medal if they were of the appropriate standard. That's rarely the case though.
Only the highest scoring wines in their class, the gold medal winners, are considered for a trophy and re-judged. Trophy winners are the stand-out wines in the show.
At the end of the day, the best wine judge will be you. It is about how you feel about the wine. The first steps to choose a good wine is to follow the basic label reading guidelines ( see our post on the Jan 17th) and research.