Not every day in the life of a wine taster is as perfect as it sounds: a line-up of 100 sauvignon blancs is not necessarily what you feel like first thing in the morning, nor is the discovery (which really did happen to me at an Australian Capital Show) that the day’s work is a close encounter with more than 200 shiraz samples, none more than three years old.

However, for every one of those “I wish I were somewhere else” moments there are countless others that make up for the oral abuse. Such a day occurred recently: it began with a presentation of polished and impressive high-end Italian wines and finished with a line-up of finely crafted, suitably edgy examples from the Cape.

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