By Jason Feulner, Finger Lakes Correspondent
At the end of May, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail hosted the 3rd Annual Golden Nose Awards in Corning, my home town. The Golden Nose is a wine- tasting and judging event that utilizes the noses of the participants, who are trained and led by experts to make judgments about wine. The event was held at the Rockwell Museum of Western Art and the Corning Museum of Glass, two amazing venues that I would highly recommend for a visit any time you happen to be in the Finger Lakes/Corning area.
Our friend the Finger Lakes Weekend Wino was a participant and therefore a judge, and he writes about his experiences here. The official website of the event, outlining the itinerary and results, can be found here.
The Golden Nose Awards is a great way to get more people involved with wine at a level at which they might not otherwise find themselves engaged, and therefore I cannot help but applaud the idea. After all, the ultimate critics are the consumers and there is no reason to assume that most consumers are incapable of learning how to judge wine in a sound and legitimate fashion.
At the very least, I would imagine that the enthusiastic wine drinker does not bring the same amount of hubris and snobbery to an amateur tasting event as would many professional critics.
Of course, I am fully aware that it takes many years to learn how to differentiate between the subtleties and nuances found in wine, and in my own experience I believe that my palate is nowhere near ideal after several years of trying to bend it into shape. As much as a professional can help guide a random group to a better tasting in a brief and intense session, the fact remains that some of the amateur judges simply weren't going to rise to the occasion no matter what.
As long as they had fun, however, who cares?
I do not look at the Golden Nose as a comprehensive Finger Lakes wine tasting event at this point, hoewver. According to the list of wineries, it looks as if some very good to excellent wineries did not participate. Additionally, the matter of sponsorship means that Seneca Lake is overrepresented while the offerings from Keuka Lake and Cayuga are a bit sparse.
Ironically, these deficiencies are no more glaring than those of other New York competitions that are professionally judged and make the bold claim of being more comprehensive, such as the always controversial Classic. The Golden Nose Awards is about consumer participation, and it succeeds marvelously in this respect.
Next year, I will make sure to try to coincide a trip to see my family in Corning with the Golden Nose. It sounds like a good time and a wonderful chance to meet some fellow fans of Finger Lakes wine.