Chris Mauch Wine Tasting by xuyuzhu


									This month I’d like to talk about my recent trip to Lodi California to be a wine
tasting judge at the Lodi Wine Awards.

In Oct. of last year, I took a 150 question test put out by a company that
consults with wine tasting event planners. In Jan., I was advised by the Lodi
event planner, that he had my test results and I was being considered for a
seat. There are 1600 entries for 125 seats. That’s what the pros call it. Then in
Feb., I was told that I made it to the final round. A few weeks later, I get a call
from the planner, saying to pack a bag, ‘’you are coming to California”
 Planning a trip to Ca. at the last minute was not cheap….airfare, hotel, and
I got there late Friday night. Could not sleep, to excited I guess. Hotel had the
usual breakfast, waffles, bacon, rolls and coffee. A man came in, he looked
familiar, it was the director of the event. He is staying at the same hotel I am.
We talked for a while and he was amazed that I came all this way.

I had to be there Saturday 8am for training/orientation on how the process
works. There were 2 sessions, AM & PM and Sunday if necessary.
Each session lasting 3 hours or so with 25-35 wines per session. We would
follow the 6 S’s of wine tasting…
Swirl, Smell, Sip, Swish, Spit and Savor. We were warned to SPIT!!!! DO
NOT SWALLOW. You would be warned twice if caught and the third time
you would be escorted out of the building, stripped of your pass and not be
allowed to the ‘’after party ‘’on Sunday. They were very serious about that.

 It was a blind tasting, meaning I had no information about the wine other than
the varietal…Riesling, Merlot, Chardonnay… and the price range….less then
$10, $10-15, 15 -20 20-30, 30+. Each glass was numbered that corresponded
to the bottle that was in another room. On the table was a number chart,
0-7, with 7 the best. After following the 6 S’s and deciding on a score I would
place my glass on a number. The clerk would ask me for the glass number
and he would record my score and take away the glass.
I took the number and placed it on my info sheet for use at the party. I
repeated this process 66 times on Sat. and 25 times Sunday. In the AM session
I was tasting dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Gewürztraminer. The PM session
I tasted Chardonnay- non oak. I was not buzzed or anything but I was hungry.

I remembered seeing a Mikey D’s around the corner so I decided to play it

safe and go there.
But back in the corner of the stripmall was a small place called Calios Café’ &
Bistro. It was small, 10-12 tables, there were several people seated so I
thought what the heck, try it. If the residents were there, it’s good enough for
me. Menu was short. Either a 3 course dinner for $30 or ala carte. I choose the
3 course dinner. A nice wild green salad with a Balsamic vinegar dressing,
Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Blackbean and Mango Salsa and dessert was Flan
with Vanilla Caramel and Fruit. The kitchen was open and you can watch the
Chef prepared this himself, so it took time to serve, but it was worth the wait.
All beautifully presented like a piece of art. Something you’d see at 5 star
restaurants. After the meal, the Chef came out and talked to the diners. He
asked me what brought me to Lodi, and told him the wine awards. He
announced that to the crowd and took me to his table…the Chefs Table,
normally for VIPS. We sat and talked, he would bring out samples from the
menu and more wine. 2 ½ hours later it started to get busy, so I thanked him
and left. Yes, I paid the bill and a nice tip.

Sunday I tasted less dry (or slightly sweet red wine). All of which were fine
with me. I was finished by noon Sunday, so with nothing to do till the party at
6pm, I still had a few hours to kill, so I got a wine trail map and started out.
Yes, more wine tasting. But this time I would get to SWALLOW. Visited 4
wineries and tasted more fantastic wines that we in Indiana will never taste.
Production is so small, 500 cases that are sold out in a few months. I got the
royal tour when I told them I was at the wine awards. Went to the cellars and
tasted the wine directly from the barrel (barrel tastings)

At the party, with the sheets and numbers in hand, I searched for the wines I
tasted. I was amazed, there were over 700 wines entered. The majority of my
high scoring white wines came from the East Coast….South Carolina, New
York and Pennsylvania. While the reds came from the West Coast, Ca.
Washington, Oregon and Texas. I won the prize for coming the farthest. A
wine glass from the Gold Medalist for Red/ Bordeaux style.
To say this was a dream come true is an understatement. I thought only the
pros and critics from New York and L.A. got to be judges. I guess even me,
Chris Mauch from Merrillville Indiana can be a wine judge.


If you would like your own private wine tasting, email me

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