My tasty day as a citizen wine jury member

Brian McCulloch developed a nose for wine as a student, but lost it when work took him to the UK. Now he’s in France, he is relearning old talents – and brushed up certain skills as a citizen wine jury member at a major event in Paris 

After writing about the citizen judges who help award medals to wines at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris, I decided to give it a go – using skills long ago acquired fortuitously.

As a university student in South Africa, a few years ago, I dipped my toe into the world of wine through a chance acquaintance who let me in on a well-kept secret.

One of the hotels in the town had a top- class cellar of South African wines, and it had free regular tasting and lecture sessions on Saturday mornings.

It was another world, with many of the hotel’s regulars having no idea of the treasures kept under the floorboards.

For obvious reasons, they tried to keep this information quiet among the student population – but they did not mind the first time I went, and gave me a quick introduction into ...

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