I'm not against wine reviews or wine contests, but I do not read reviews about wines that appear in the various media, nor am I impressed by the positive or negative grades that sometimes appear at the end of the reviews, and not from the wines that are available in most of the usual competitions.
I do like to get a general impression of the writer's opinion about the wine in order to , at least, get a basic general background about the wine, and its structure.
I am also sure that most of the consumers and wine connoisseurs do not care about the aromas of the wines, like the smell of berries, ripe grapefruit or tropical pineapple. Also, it does not matter to them whether the taste of the wine is reminiscent of peach, plums or figs. These figures certainly will not be the ones that will help them decide which wine to buy, sip or give a gift, and they, like me, skip the tight text of criticism. This text is probably written later on the historical traditions of wine critics.
This is the first reason I do not usually write reviews of wines and describe their smells or tastes, which have no journalistic significance if the wine is good or not. I prefer to tell the stories of wine and those behind it, which are much more fascinating and interesting.
I have never studied in a multi year academic course of wine making, or a university course that gives students extensive knowledge of the global wine industry and authorizes professional tasters to visit wine and recommend it or not.
Therefore, in my opinion, I have no moral or practical right to praise or to respect the professionalism of a winemaker whose wines I take with pleasure or with a feeling of personal disgust.
Recently, I participated as one of a panel of judges in an international wine tasting competition held in Germany, with a unique professional method that deepened and sharpened my opinion on wine grades and the distribution of degrees and medals in various wine competitions, many of which I also attended as a judge.
Within a few hours, in Germany, I realized that there was very little real value for the thousands of medals and certificates that decorate the winery walls around the world. Their main value is promotional value, which helps to identify the winning wineries and sales of their wines. This too may be excellent …
There is also no practical value to the point that wines receive in a blind tasting, while analyzing a very small number of parameters in the wines and only according to the taste test of the tasters, who should not consult with those around them, or he does not even know what he tastes and where it came from.
The taste and ranking in the competition in Germany were according to WINES SYSTEN AG- PAR
In this method, there is maximum transparency regarding the claimed wines.
The judges were divided into teams, with each team discussing each wine tasted, under the direction of the professional team leader, who even inserted the data into the computer, which was immediately broadcast to the director and initiated by Martin Darting.
When wine was suspected of being defective, an immediate consultation was held with the manager regarding the continued taste or replacement of the wines with proper wines.
What is P.A.R?
PRODUCT – Information about the grape growing area, chemical analysis of wine, grape varieties, etc.
For each wine served for a taste in the competition, the following information is attached:
Year of harvest, grape variety, growing area, amount of alcohol, amount of sugar, amount of acid, stay in barrels or not, PH, intentionally oxidized wine or not (some wines require oxidation).
Only the name of the manufacturer or winery are not mentioned, so the bottle labels are hidden.
Thus, as soon as the tasting begins, one knows what tastes into his mouth and he does not have to use his mind and senses to guess, a guess that can, of course, also be a mistake.
The source area of the wine grapes tested is very important when tasting, in order to provide the correct grade. It is clear, for example, that Cabernet Sauvignon from the north of the Golan Heights is completely different in nature and characteristics from his brother, who was born on a few farms in the center of our Negev. This should be taken into account when evaluating the characteristics of the wine.
Each tested attribute is related, of course, to the quality of the wine.
ANALYSIS – Sensory evaluation of various parameters in the wine through the eyes, nose and mouth. Grade 1 expresses a low level of the parameter and a grade of 10 indicates a very high level.
The characteristics of the wine are divided into 20 parameters:
sight – 3, aroma – odor – 6, taste – 11.
In other words, in the first stage, 20 grades should be given according to the wine's suitability. How should this wine be?
And more score and information are required:
The level of wine relative to a new or traditional production method is old.
The degree of probability that you will buy yourself the wine. From 1 to 10.
What is the wine's potential for aging? What year will it reach its climax?
RANKING – The score refers to the same 20 parameters of the wine that I mentioned above, where 5 is the average, 10 is the best and 1 is the lowest.
The team members give the scoring according to their opinion of how this wine is compatible with each parameter regardless of how it should meet the parameters of the type of wine being tested.
For example, the level of sweetness of the wine in the range from 1 to 10. It may be 5 (sweet medium) although the specific wine is generally dry wine. In the corresponding rating in ANALYSIS, the wine will receive a low grade because it is not as good as a dry wine, and sweetness remains.
Thus, the tasting team gives a total score of 42 items in each wine.
All the data is put into the computer, which every team has, when tasting. Special software processes the data and immediately calculates the grade awarded to the wine. Each parameter has a different relative value in determining the quality of the wine.
The composition of the teams varies in the different flavors, so that in each taste the staff manager knows the area and theTerroir well from which the wine came from, and it is easier to make the joint decision by scoring each parameter in the wine.
In most of the other competitions held in Israel and around the world, the taste is almost blind, each taster works separately in the team, and there are far fewer parameters in each wine.
Thus, the grade obtained is better suited to the taste of the taster, and its taste buds, and not necessarily according to the true quality of the wine.
For example, in this method, wine may be given a very low score due to high acidity due to lack of knowledge of the variety, the region and the Terroir from which the grapes came from, and that made this kind of wine with high quality.
For example, in this method, wine may be given a very low score because of high acidity due to the lack of knowledge of the variety, the region and the Terroir from which the wine grapes came from, and the high acidity of the wine indicates a higher quality.
At the end of the competition, the leading team of the competition analyzes the results of each wine, and gives the winery, within a few days detailed information about the taste of each parameter separately, and what it is recommended for winemakers to do in wine production over the next few years. On a high score, if he received one.
All winery owners or winemakers participating in WINE SYSTEM competitions are invited to contact the Director, Martin Darting, and to consult with him, free of charge, about the processes proposed to improve their wines. They do it, of course.
The Lotem Winery, the Galilean, who took part in the last competition and even received high marks for their wines, told me that in their long and pleasant conversation with Martin, they received important advice for improving their wines in the next harvests
Hans Sternbach's wines also participated in the competition in Germany using the PAR method.
In November 2017, additional international competition PAR will take place in Germany, with this method. The wineries of Israel, who wish to receive a professional, detailed opinion on their wines, and not only a two-digit number, which is a mark, are also invited to participate and send their wines.