I just got home last night from 10 days of tasting at the Michelangelo International Wine Competition in South Africa. We judges tasted every day from around 9 till 1 or 2pm. This was followed by lunch and a little hiatus. Then at 5:30 we climbed back in the minibuses and visited wine estates.
I can safely say that the best thing about the trip was the group of judges – no two had the same cultural or geographical back ground. We included a Spaniard (who lives in Japan), a Portuguese chap, an Englishman, Belgian (who lives in Hong Kong), a Greek, an Indian (who, I believe lives in Thailand), a Californian, a Dutchman, a Slovakian, and a chap who’s nationality I never did figure out (something European) who lives in Singapore. All of us were professional tasters and knew when to concentrate, when to be politely pleasant and when to have a few laughs. There was no clash of egos: no one had to be right all the time, no one claimed the position of Alpha Dog. In short, we were all grownups.
The South African producers who stood out Kaapzicht Estate and Diemersdal.