Back to school


A combination of disgruntlement at work giving me delusions of grandeur over a new career and wanting to be able to describe things in more detail than on a scale of ‘not very nom’ to ‘all of the nom’ led me to spend the evening back in school. I have signed up to do the Wine and Spirit Education Trust level 1 in Wine. This evening was my first session. The first thing of note to mention is that I am sober enough to write this. It’s actual wine tasting rather than ‘wine tasting’. It also really was like school. They took a register and everything.

The first half of the evening was spent learning about the (very) basics of wine making and the major characteristics of the most popular grapes. There were bits of information about which grapes go in to wines from which big French regions (turns out Sancerre is a Sauvignon Blanc – which I didn’t know, despite it being blindly obvious… go me!). I knew most of it (OK, yes, still with the not realising that it was a Savvy B… I know), but it was well laid out and interesting.

The second half, as you’d probably guess, was a wine tasting. Sort of. It was more of a teaching you how to taste wine in an analytical way. Despite being analytical in almost everything I do and being obsessed with flavour, this is not something I do very well. I didn’t need to be told what I was tasting or smelling in any way – I got all of the flavours and scents before we were told them – as did everyone else in the room – but the method of breaking down the tasting in to:

  • Look at the colour (yay! bullet points!)
  • Smell it to make sure it’s ‘clean’ (i.e. good to drink)
  • Smell it for what it smells like
  • Taste it for sweetness and/or body
  • Taste it for what it tastes like

was something actually new for me. I enjoyed it a lot. Well, I think I did. One of the wines they gave us was revolting. I’m pretty sure they did that on purpose as part of the training. It was a caramel-sweet white zinfandel rose. I REALLY didn’t like it. We did also have a classic Sauvignon Blanc (look, I just hadn’t put two and two together, OK?) and a HUGE Cab Sav. They were much more pleasant.

Next week is going to be about matching with food, which I am very excited about!

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