Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Malolactic Wine Competition, Madrid

I spent two days last week tasting in Madrid at the ML wine competition organised by Lallemand ML School. I had been asked to join an experienced judging panel including Norrel Robertson MW (wine maker in Calaytayud Spain), Jamie Goode (UK wine writer), Mike Florence (director of Litmus Wines), Dr Sybil Krieger-Weber (Directrice of ML school of science), Cees van Casteren (writer, wine business teacher), Antonio Palacios (winemaking teacher at the University of Rioja), David Molina (Director of Barcelona Wine School and ex El Bulli sommelier).

This competition was slightly different than normal and required a more technical palate as it was all about malolactic (ML) bacteria. The wines entered had been made using different strains of ML bacteria and fell into three categories; co-inoculation (ML bacteria introduced at the start of the alcoholic fermentation), sequential inoculation (after alcoholic ferment has finished) and the third being ML bacteria inoculation with oak.

I was lucky enough to have participated in last year’s inaugural competition, and this year’s event was again set in the magnificent Casino de Madrid.

The competition was split into two days: day one the jury tasted through the many entries narrowing it down to 39 finalists; day two saw 60 producers invited to taste along with the judging panel, with the final results being split between the jury and producers.

We tasted blind and in three flights of 13 wines, each flight representing a category, scoring appropriately as we went. It was a thoroughly enjoyable tasting, magnificent room, good company, great tasters and seamless organisation from Carlos Suarez of Lallemand. I also got to grips with how to taste and spit with my top shirt button done up and wearing a tie!

Needless to say a very Spanish and late lunch followed in the casino restaurant.

Click here to read Jamie Goode’s wine blog on the event.


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