The wines were fine. That wasn't the issue. I sat in as an observer on a panel (at top) judging 93 of them in a single day. Drinking that many would have been suicide. And if I liked a wine a lot, too bad. All of my tastes went into a spit bucket.
You can read the details of the judging and learn about related events you can attend in my story today in L.A. Weekly's Squid Ink.
Mercifully, at lunch the drink set out at each place was iced tea. During dinner, we could drink as much as we wanted from displays of last year's winners (above), and bottles were passed non-stop at the tables. The downside was, after dealing with so much wine during the day, I wasn't up for more.
The food was wonderful, though. The Squid Ink article describes what the judges ate for lunch. For dinner, we were almost overwhelmed by dish after dish prepared by Chef David Teig and his crew (above). Teig is in charge of McKinley's Grille at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center, where the judging took place.
Dinner ended with a choice of Moscato snow cones drizzled with port wine or hoja santa custard ice cream topped with saffron honey. Why choose? I had both--and caught the last trolley back to the hotel.