Cattle judging gives food for thought

April 26th 2011

Auckland’s Royal Easter Show was the highlight of my Easter weekend mainly because it meant I was having a break from MW study, with the exams just six weeks away.

I now know more about alpacas than is healthy and have watched sheep racing competitively over hurdles a.k.a the sheeplechase!

And the size of the cows. I’ve never seen such big’uns except for on Victorian paintings of super-sized cattle. I’m not sure what they were feeding them (steroids?) but they would certainly provide plenty of rump and fillet.

The judging of the cattle was totally foreign to an urban girl like me. The formation of the horn on the Highland cattle, the ‘ease of movement’ and ‘kind eyes’ were all important to the judges. It was like getting a glimpse of another world and another language. Which got me thinking that maybe this is how the average consumer perceives the wine world. Come on, can we really smell cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush and, what does ripe acidity or fine grained tannins mean? I am as guilty as the next wine writer of this but it does make us sound pretty pretentious and excludes your average person in the street.

It’s important not to dumb down but making it seem less fluffy and more accessible would be a positive improvement. Perhaps we need to look at a different way of creating tasting notes that actually mean something to those who don’t spend all day everyday breathing wine (which, is certainly more appealing than breathing in that noxious cattle smell).

Posted in - Blog Posts & blogging & Master of Wine & New Zealand on April 26th 2011 0 Comments

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