Friday of last week saw what seemed like most of Australia’s wine industry lunching at Sydney Opera House, celebrating another Royal Sydney Wine Show, savouring trophy-winning wines, and hoping for a few insights from Chairman of Judges Len Evans and perhaps a glimpse of visiting judge, Hugh Johnson, the world¹s most widely read wine writer.
Johnson spoke first. In his own gentle way, quelling the chatter of a few hundred voices, he delivered an outsider's view on wine judging and of Australian wine. A refreshing view it was, too, from a man happy to deliver personal judgement on wine quality but scathingly critical of those giving so called objective scores:
"I judge wines by loving it or hating it and there's not much in between. I love vitality in a wine, the sort of wine where one bottle is not enough. So giving wines points creates a spurious sense of accuracy and if you can believe it means something when someone gives a wine 87 points out of 100, then you would believe anything."