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In Reply to: To Me It Tastes Like... posted by Gordon Hubbell on May 25, 2011 at 03:02:50:
Great article! You summarized what I've been poorly attempting to describe when asked about judging.
Years ago my wife volunteered at the Harvest Fair in northern CA where they judge (arguably) the worlds best wines. We got to go to the judges dinner and I was able to talk to some of the premier wine critics. I asked them "when you taste a wine and judge it a gold,silver or bronze what makes that so?" In other words "why is your word any better than anyone else since you may think it's a gold and I may think it's barely a bronze? What makes you right and me wrong?".
Well, first off nobody took offense rather, they seemed to like the question and to the last one answered "wine and food tasting is all subjective and specific to the person". What makes them good or trusted judges of wine (imo) is their tastes seem to align with the most amount of consumers most of the time and/or "some" people just believe those critics know better than anyone else because they're told so. I do wish judges would as part of their training have to experience BBQ from all the different regions and be comfortable with it. While we lived in the south and again while in our RV full time we made a point to eat BBQ from every region. We had everything from mustard based to no sauce to sweet as candy and I really liked 'em all. They all had something that complemented the BBQ in different ways. I didn't think this meant much until the Smoke on the Water comp in Vegas earlier this month when teams/judges from across the nation were all in one place and we heard comments about the scores being all over the place in some of the teams opinion.
My thought was "what if for example a table of judges who're used to Florida comps got California or AZ BBQ?" Would it be so different or something that they've never tasted before that they'd not like it or feel it's so alien that they score it down?" What about the judges that are used to vinegar based and get mustard or tomato based or the fruit based stuff that they'd never had before?
Just a thought....
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