Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rating the Raters (cont.)

Dan Berger Wine Experiences
98/18 Dan's personal experience and qualifications can be summed up by the link to his website, so I won't go into it here. I give Dan an 18 out of 20. Pretty high score.

I had the privilege of judging wine with Dan at the Washington Wine Competition. This is a unique competition where the wines are all judged anonymously (double blind), privately, and individually, followed by the judges posting their scores for all to see, followed by discussion of the wines. It is sometimes intimidating to post your scores for all professional judges to see, but usually there is not a lot of variation in the scores. Judges may be cajoled into changing their scores so as to help a wine to medal or not. Flaws are pointed out and the wines re-examined during discussion. Judging is based on a simple, yet very effective criterion: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and no award. Double gold medals are awarded when all the judges agree that the wine is gold medal quality. If four out of five judges give it a gold, the dissenting judge is allowed to up his/her score to make it a double gold. This happens often if the dissenting judge gave the wine a silver.

So, I have judged wine side by side with Dan Berger and I know exactly how good he is! Basically, he is as good as I am and that is damn good. We only disagree on certain late harvest wines and I tend to deviate quite a bit from all judges in this category. This causes him to lose two of his twenty points, but no one is perfect, just like no wine is perfect in every sense.

Dan does not like big alcoholic wines, but he and I are both guilty of scoring them highly when sniffing and spitting are de rigueur. These wines show well out of the chute, but get really boring after one glass. Give me some wine with varietal character and some acid to stiffen it up so it goes well with food. If I want a cocktail, give me a gin and tonic – real gin, not Bombay Sapphire!

Personally, Dan is affable and easy to talk to. He even published a humorous article that I wrote anonymously in his newsletter. The piece made fun of none other than E. Robert Parker.

Disclaimer: to my knowledge, Dan has never knowingly rated a Bonair wine and has never published a rating of our wine.

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