Best of Spain Wine Challenge 2023.
On Wednesday the 25th of October Dutch Wine Apprentice participated in the fourth edition of the “Best of Spain Wine Challenge”. This event, organized by the UEC (Spanish Union of Wine Tasters) aims to increase the visibility of Spanish wines in the most relevant international markets, in particular The Netherlands and Ireland. Like last year, the magnificent Van der Valk Hotel in Amsterdam was chosen as the venue for the event. We were invited to be part of this year’s tasting panel together with notable experts from the Dutch wine industry.
Opening of the Event and Presentation of the Jury
The event was opened by Miguel Berzosa, President of the UEC, who welcomed us and explained the judging method used during the competition. For this event the UEC appointed a carefully chosen jury of wine professionals: Ibert van der Waal MV, Joke Holster, Jeroen Vonk, Hans Sjakes, Wieger Roelevink MV and our own Spanish wine specialist Inma Muñoz.
Divided into two groups of three specialists each with their President, Ibert – Jury 1 – with Han, Inma and Joke – Jury 2 – with Wieger and Jeroen, we started tasting the first sample we were served.
Tasting and Judging the Wines
Now on to the tasting. On a large single table, with 5 (still) empty glasses, a spittoon and a mountain of tasting evaluation sheets to fill out, the tasting competition began. It was a blind tasting, of course, in which each group of specialists tasted 45 wines. In total, 90 samples were presented at this event. We tasted still wines (white, rosé and red) and some sparkling wines. All this according to the official rules of a wine competition.
The aspects to be taken into account when judging a wine in this type of competition and in a manner appropriate to the UEC are:
- Visual: You look at the clarity of the wine and pay attention to what it looks like. Is it clear or does it show some signs of cloudiness?
- Nose: The first thing you have to notice is the genuineness of the aromas of the wine in question and, above all, its positive intensity. Give maximum points to the olfactory quality in general.
- Taste: You repeat the genuineness of the wine, but now on the palate. Its positive intensity and quality. You add the harmonious persistence of the aromas.
Concentrating on all these aspects for no less than 5 hours, we critically evaluated the wines presented. The samples were presented in a certain order within the categories by vintage, starting with the 2021 and 2022 vintages, some without vintage and ending with samples from previous vintages, the last being 2016.
The last step of this tasting evaluation is harmony. Is it a harmonious wine? Is it balanced? This is followed by an overall assessment of each sample, and personal score from each jury member to reach a final verdict.
After tasting all the wines and rating the wines the ‘Best of Spain Wine Challenge’ awards the following prizes:
- Best of Spain Grand Gold
- Best of Spain Gold
- Best of Spain Silver.
For the exact results we will have to wait, but with certainty we can say that many of the samples obtained one of these well-deserved awards. The day ended late at night and with very black teeth due to the last red wines, but we were satisfied for having tasted so many interesting samples.
We would like to thank the UEC and especially its president Miguel Berzosa and the tasters who accompanied us that evening. Stay tuned for more information on the results in this Challenge.