Hello wine lovers it has been a few days since I have written. I was invited to the Los Angeles International Wine Competition. The event was held at the Los Angeles County Fair grounds in one of the exhibition halls. The 50 plus judges were set into 5 and 6 person panels Judging started at 8:30 Wednesday morning. Wines were served according to panel order. This first panel consisted of 40 cabernets in the range of 1.00 dollar to 14.99 per bottle. The wines flights were served 10 glasses at a time so each judge at the table could contrast and compare each wine to the other. The only information given to us as judges was the price range and the varietals. After a series of cabernet wines the panel of judges moved on to red blends and then on to Zinfandel. We were given several price ranges of Cabernet and zinfandel to judge as well as red blended wines. Our panel of judges consisted of wine makers and wine growers and one gentlemen— a Master of Wine. The Master of Wine level of education takes some a lifetime to complete. There are only a handful of Wine Masters in he United State. I was fortunate enough to be seated next to him for the three days of judging. The other judges were from Lodi, Napa, Sonoma County, and Long Beach.
Sitting with such knowledgeable people about wine, I have to admit it was a bit intimidating. I was pleased to find out I was accepted with open arms and an abundance of care and friendship from the all of the judges. I met a truly professional group of ladies and gentlemen. Meeting Michael Jordan Master Sommelier of the Napa Rose Restaurant was a real treat. Michael was wonderful to learn from, as were all of the judges. Dan Berger, Anne Littlefield, Peter Marks, Wes Hagen Gary Eberle, Joe Hart, Don Galliano and our leader of the event, Dr. Bob Small, Professor of Hospitality at Cal Poly were ever engaging and fun to work with and learn from. Dr. Bob is also a manufacturer of gourmet ice cream. You might find his product on the shelves of high-end retail grocery retailers. Dr Bob’s Ice Cream is a super premium brand that is a party for the palate. The Tahitian vanilla is super as is the Butter Pecan. Our stay for the three days was at the Fairplex Sheraton located just east of the fairgrounds. The Sheraton provided shuttle service to and from the judging building, but many opted to walk only a 10-minute stroll to stretch their legs before a long day of sitting and tasting wines. Along the way to the Fairplex tasting hall we passed a little known racing museum, a real treat for car buffs. The museum is located just past the Fairgrounds off of McKinley drive east of the fair and before the Sheraton. The surrounding area is a heavily wooded area with a planted grove of cedar Redwoods. The parking area of the Sheraton Hotel is laden with old growth California Oaks giving the whole place a park-like feel. Our last evening together, dinner was served in the Wine Pavilion. This building is sponsored by Ralphs Grocery as is the Los Angeles International Wine competition. This dinner was the highlight of the three day competition. The Sheraton chefs prepared a decadent feast and a Flat Bread Pizza Company was brought in with a portable hearth oven on wheels to make amazing personal flat bread pizzas. At the end of the three days of wine and food I was ready to come home and relax and get ready for another work week. Many stories need to be told and I look forward to seeing all of you in the next few weeks to come, keep your glasses full and your minds open ! Cheers
Mike The Wine Guy