Ilustration by Andrew Saeger, tHE ARTdept.Hey fellow lushes! How about this for

Ilustration by Andrew Saeger, tHE ARTdept.Hey fellow lushes! How about this for a Monday that didn’t suck? The Wino got to judge nearly 100 whites for the Ray’s Boathouse 25th retrospective of Northwest wines.Now, that might sound like the greatest excuse in the world to get hammered in the middle of the day, but judging wines is serious business. For starters, it’s done in a room that’s as quiet as church on Sunday, it requires a keen sense of concentration and a decent ability to spit. Say what? Photo by Leslie KellyNo this isn’t Skid Row! It’s a blind tasting at Ray’s.That’s right. This is no chug-a-lug. When you sit down in front of flights of wine, it’s your duty to evaluate the way the wine looks and smells. The way it feels on your palate and how it finishes once you’ve swished it around and spit it out. All this is done with speed and efficiency, the polar opposite of sitting on the deck and Ray’s and lingering over a bottle of something cool on a hot summer day.Photo by Leslie KellySo pretty. It’s a shame to spit, but that’s what a wine judge does.Still, it’s amazing what you can pick up through this kind of experience. The goal is to reward wines that best express varietal character — I tasted Pinot Gris and Chardonnay — and because it’s a blind tasting, you just don’t know who’s who until after it’s all over. Then, you get a key that lists the wines you’ve swirled and sipped. What stood out for me isn’t necessarily going to jibe with the findings of the other judges, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say Hogue Cellars Pinot Grigio showed well. The Wino was particularly impressed by its respectable score because — hell’s bells — it’s such a great deal, selling for $10 and sometimes even cheaper. It’s bright and fresh with the kind of citrus-y snap that makes it a fab food wine. The experience reminded me how much Hogue I used to drink back in the day, before the shelves became heavy with so many choices. I think it’s high time to revisit that old friend.You, too, can put on your judges hat — or robe or powdered wig, if you prefer — and check out the huge lineup of stellar Northwest wines at the Ray’s Retrospective public tasting to be held sometime in the spring. I’ll let you know when they announce the dates. Follow Voracious on Twitter and Facebook.