What's better than judging the 27th annual Dallas Morning News and Texsom Wine Competition? Judging hybirds and native grapes with Doug Frost, MS, MW who (though he hates this description) is the godfather of the regional wine movement in the United States. And the other two members of our panel weren't too shabby, either -- Marguerite Thomas (who I have judged with before, and tells great Julia Child stories) and Sheri Sauter Morano, MW.
We did norton. We did catawba. We did baco noir. We did chambourcin. We did traminette. We did blanc du bois. We did chardonel. And we gave gold medals. The norton was classic, and the vidal was a beautful wine -- rich and full, with a grassy aroma and acid to balance the fullness. In some ways, this was among the best group of hybrids and natives that I've judged over the past several years. They were professionally made, competent, and varietally correct. There were disappointments, certainly, and especially among the blanc du bois, but that's the nature of judging this group of grapes.
We also did Spanish varietals, and awarded golds to two tempranillos and an albarino. A chenin blanc, meanwhile, got a silver, and when I find out what it is (the results won't be released for a month or so), I'm going to buy some. If it's $10, it's Hall of Fame worthy.
Also impressive this year: The qualifications of the judges, which made the Wine Curmudgeon feel like a high school student at post-graduate seminar on particle physics. We had a PhD. We had Master Sommeliers. We had Masters of Wine. In all, 23 of the 56 judges had initials after their names, easily the best credentialed group in the six or seven years I've been judging wine competitions.