Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association Commercial Wine Competition chief judge John Hibble set out to discover whether professional wine buyers and consumers have different tastes. In past years, wine trade judges from restaurants, wholesalers and retailers have decided which Santa Cruz wineries are awarded medals in the annual competition. This year one third of the judges were chosen from Santa Cruz wine clubs as “Consumer Judges,” whose only expertise is that they enjoy wine.
Wine score results prove to be similar
Says Hibble, “We found that, on the average, everyone agrees. But on any particular wine, they don’t.” The scores of the amateurs and professionals were kept separately and in aggregate. The average score for all 175 wines from 35 wineries was 86.
Men’s and women’s judging scores tallied separately
The average score for the male, female and consumer judges was also 86 in each category, but the average score for the trade judges was one point higher.
Where the real story is told is with individual wines. The top scoring Sangiovese and Malbec rated an average of 94 points, which the men rated at 92, while the women rated them a rarified 97 and 98. The Cabernet Franc was a difference of eight full points. For the top rated Chardonnay, the professional tasters scored it over the consumers by ten full points.
None of the eight judges per table influenced each other as they each tasted different wine types until the final Best of Show flight.
“We are excited about bringing a wider field of judges to this competition”, said Hibble. “It is important to have input from people who buy local wines at the wholesale level as well as from our retail customers.”
Santa Cruz 2010 wine competition names best red, best white and Best of Show
The best Santa Cruz Mountains red wine, based on points, is a tie between Clos Tita 2006 Gironde, a Cabernet blend, and Soquel Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Franc. The best Santa Cruz Mountains white wine is Beauregard Vineyards, 2007 Chardonnay.
The Best of Show award is a taste-off between the winners in each varietal category voted on by the entire group of judges. Best of Show winner is Martin Ranch Winery 2007 Syrah Santa Cruz Mountains, Lester Family Vineyard.
The 2010 judging was held on August 30th and once again hosted by Janet and Lionel LeMorvan, proprietors of Ma Maison Restaurant in Aptos. This year, 35 local wineries entered the competition with 175 wines. Full results posted on the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association website.
Visit the wine display at the Santa Cruz County Fair.
By June Smith