SINGAPORE - Wine-tasting season is open.
The panel of judges in the first leg of this year's The Business Times Wine Challenge, held in partnership with UBS, have their work cut out for them, with this year's crop of wines "at least 60 per cent better" than last year's, chief judge Lim Hwee Peng has said.
The job of the panel for this second edition of the Wine Challenge is to whittle down the 120 wines submitted by various wine distributors, merchants and retailers to just 30 wines.
This will set the stage for the main portion of the Wine Challenge, when corporate chieftains will taste all 30 to identify the 10 worthy of the label "CEOs' Choice".
Meanwhile, in making the first cut from 120 to 30, the returning panel of professional judges were hard put to pick out the better ones from a slate of very good wines - not without a round of intense debate first.
When they still could not agree, they called for a retasting of the wines.
The judges were wine specialist Lim Hwee Peng, Les Amis Group director of wines Timothy Goh and Le Bistro du Sommelier founder and sommelier Maximilien Fedkiw.
They were joined by a different guest judge on three days this week, starting from Tuesday.
The wines were split into several flights and served blind.
Raffles Hotel wine director Stephane Soret, one of the guest judges, agreed with Mr Lim's assessment that the wines were all of excellent quality, making the judging process a hunt for subtle details rather than for obvious differences.
Mr Goh said: "Overall, the wines are very different from last year. There are some very stunning wines which we're happy to taste." Mr Fedkiw, agreeing, added that certain Old World wines had surprised the judges with their outstanding quality.
A new category for the Wine Challenge this year - added in response to feedback last year - features dessert wines. Mr Lim said that the quality of the submissions vindicated the decision to add this category to the challenge. "What stood out in the dessert wines were the freshness and cleanness of the wines. We did not find fault with any of the dessert wines. They were clean, well-made and of high quality. And because of that, we really had to be very stringent with our selection."
This article was first published on July 26, 2014.
Get The Business Times for more stories.