Around VeritageMiami, BIG is Best in Glass, and this annual wine competition is coming up this weekend. Best in Glass is a big deal for several reasons. First, it’s the only wine competition I know of that is judged only by working sommeliers and, second, the aim is not to award high marks to rare wines (that you and I probably could neither find nor afford) but to recognize wines that we can find and, better still, may be able to order by the glass at our favorite restaurants.
To accomplish these aims, our judges are sommeliers at some of the best restaurants in town. They deal with wine lovers every day – they are experts at helping us consumers figure out what we like, and they also find wines we may not know but are similar to the wines we like so we have new taste adventures ahead. That said, there are a lot of wines out there and sommeliers can’t know them all … which is why they love being judges at Best in Glass, where they get to taste nearly 400 wines submitted for tasting. Here’s a photo of the room where my colleague Manny Ornano (we call him Mr. BIG) and his team are cataloging the wines entered. This photograph shows only about a third of the red wines entered in the competition.
And while Manny is cataloging the wines, I’m organizing them into groups or flights (as they are known in the wine trade) of five, six or seven wines for the judges to taste. Over the course of two days, the judges will try about 370 wines. We will taste them in two rounds. In the first round, the judges decide which wines they want to give a closer inspection, the wines they think deserve a silver or gold medal. On the second day, they come back and taste just those medal contenders for a final evaluation. The conversations are interesting – the judges come up with some very interesting descriptions (I’ll never forget sommelier Luis Mejia saying one wine reminded him of smelling the inside of a new motorcycle helmet; he meant that as a compliment). The judges also examine value: is the wine priced reasonably enough that they would consider putting it on their list of wines available by the glass?
We are gearing up for an exciting event and I look forward to sharing the results with you. Join our Facebook page for photographs from Best in Glass, and look for Twitter and Instagram feeds from our judges and staff – just search for the hashtag #BIGWine and look for us @VeritageMiami
We are going to have some great wines to share with you soon!