That's how sparkling wine tastings work

Premium Sparklings from SZIGETI received a total of 58 awards in 2021. They obtained 2 x double gold, 17 x gold, 21 x silver, 11 x bronze and the sparkling wines from Burgenland were also convincing when it came to evaluations according to points. But how does a sparkling wine tasting actually work and who sits on the jury?

Medals and awards for wine and sparkling wine are comparable to cachets in the food sector: their number is large, the significance not always really convincing. That is why Peter Szigeti only submits his Premium Sparklings to selected national and international awards: "The criteria of a tasting must be transparent and comprehensible. Only serious awards give me the security of a well-founded evaluation and customers the guarantee of buying a truly excellent product."

From application to tasting

Tasting competitions, i.e. national and international awards, are announced publicly. Sparkling wine producers can submit their samples - usually together with a detailed analysis - although the number of samples allowed per company is often limited. Peter Szigeti: "If only three samples are accepted per producer, the significance of a gold medal is incomparably higher." He submitted six samples to the 2021 London Wine Cup and received silver six times. For him, this is a sure sign that he has done something right with all his sparkling wines and that they meet with approval all over the world.

Tasting professionals among themselves - the jury

There is no question that not just anyone is allowed to taste and judge sparkling wines at prestigious awards. The juries are made up exclusively of experts who have the appropriate training and experience, e.g. that of a qualified sommelier. Of course, this also applies to Austrian competitions. Peter Szigeti: "The test numbers of the banderoles of the Federal Office of Viticulture may only be awarded by sworn wine tasters with special sparkling wine training, without exception." Among the domestic awards, Peter Szigeti particularly appreciates the Austrian Wine Challenge because the jury is always made up of certified tasters and international sommeliers.

A look behind the scenes - sparkling wine tasting in detail

The usual procedure for judging wines or sparkling wines is blind tasting. The bottles are in opaque sleeves and bear numbers instead of names and proof of origin. The jury members usually sit in booths where they test up to 30 samples per day without any influence. A mammoth task that demands the utmost concentration. At major international awards, up to 4,000 samples are submitted! The colour, aroma and taste of each sparkling wine are assessed, and the impressions are recorded in writing on a tasting note. Between samples, water and white bread ensure that taste perception is regenerated. A tip from Peter Szigeti for all those who like to taste his sparkling wines at home: "One or two ripe strawberries, slowly chewed and swallowed, neutralise the palate best of all!" By the way, the sparkling wine is not drunk during the tasting. After being swirled in the mouth, the sparkling grape juice is spat out into waiting containers.

What distinguishes a wine tasting from a sparkling wine tasting?

Peter Szigeti finds tasting sparkling wine rather easier than wine, because "the CO2 brings the aromas to the surface, from where they rise directly to the nose." Young sparkling wine tastes fresher for longer than light white wine and the residual sugar is hardly noticeable in sparkling wine. Because of the bubbles, you should always take a gulp when tasting, but then slurp, smack and move your tongue around the mouth as if you were tasting wine. The wealth of aromas that can be smelled and tasted in Premium Sparklings from SZIGETI is incredibly diverse. It ranges from citrus notes to ripe berry fruit to mushrooms and forest floor. There is talk of white flowers, tobacco and cassis, toasted bread and brioche. "When you taste the wines, you get carried away, and it becomes literary," smiles the likeable sparkling wine producer from Lake Neusiedl.


Public tastings at the Szigeti sparkling wine cellar

It is definitely worthwhile to take part in a public sparkling wine tasting and get a taste of the world of professional tasters. During a cellar tour in Gols, you can choose between three, six and, if you wish, more samples - sound information included.



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