Back in April I was lucky enough to be an associate judge in the International Wines and Spirits Competition. I had three really interesting days judging with world class tasters at the IWSC headquarters near Guildford. Interestingly its base is on the site where they film Top Gear.

I was a judge in two categories of French wines and also for Sherry. I know this sounds like me bleating on but tasting 60 wines in a day is really hard work. Anyway there were some real greats and some less good-uns and seeing Masters of Wine disagreeing over the quality of wines was really reassuring, after all we all have the ability to taste and judge and in reality its really hard to say that one wine is definitively better than another.

Although while were on that, when assessing a wine there are some elements that will make constitute high quality, what you should be looking for is BLIC:

BALANCE - are the components (acidity, tannin, fruit, alcohol etc.) working well together?
LENGTH - does the wine linger in the mouth and does this flavour change or reveal layers of flavour?
INTENSITY - how big are the flavours, are they well concentrated are they varied and interesting?
COMPLEXITY - does the wine taste one dimensional or does it have depth, a variety of aromas and flavours?

For a full list of winners and more details on the fantastic IWSC go to