Just few days after intense days at Court of Master Sommelier I was invited to participate at International Awards Virtus. This competition is relatively new. The first edition took place in 2019. Despite pandemic situation, organisation has managed to conduct two more editions and therefore this year it was its 4th edition. Particularity of this competition is, that producers can submit for evaluation not only wines and spirits, as it is in International Wine & Spirit Competition or Mondial des Vins Extrêmes, but also olive oils.
Jurors are divided in groups of five and all the judging process is leaded by the chairmen of the table. Chairmen is taking care of accuracy of wines and spirits presented for tasting and judging sequence. It is important to mention, that during the judging process all wines are served blind. It is not like our ayes are blindfolded, but all the bottles come with protective cap, so that we are not aware of brand, producer, region or grape variety. The only information that we get abou the wine is its code (to identify the wine), category given, according to International Organisation of Vine and Wine (I have to admit I don't know all of them by heart), percentage of alcohol and year of production, unless it is a blend of different years and it is non-vintage product. All of this is done to obtain the most objective and impartial evaluation of the wine.
Along three days I have had six flights. During this flight I had an opportunity to give my evaluation to ninety nine (99) wines. The wines I tasted were: dry red wines, still white wines from non-aromatic grape varieties, liqueur wines and sparkling wines. All and all my jury table has given 25 Gold medals and 3 Grate Gold medals. Final results with reviled winner wines, spirits and olive oils can be found on the official page of International Awards Virtus.
Exciting trip during three days with six flights along eleven countries - that is how I can describe my participation in International Awards Virtus.
In total for International Awards Virtus were presented 476 samples from 11 countries. Between participants there were bottles from less common (and less presented on European market) wine and spirit production countries such as Bolivia, Tunisia, Venezuela, Panama and Brazil. Special place in this competition is given to grape spirit Pisco from Peru.
To sum up my experience in judging at International Awards Virtus, I must say that it is well organised, for now relatively small wine and spirit competition (if we compare it with average 6000 samples of Berliner Wine Trophy). Experts on the matter (either wines, spirits or olive oils) are highly qualified and experienced. Overall quality of submitted wines is very good. For the jurors the rhythm of tastings is balanced, so we can pay more attention to details and discuss given evaluations. In the futre hope to see more wines of subcategories, so that they can be grouped in separate flights for evaluation.
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