tasting


Meh. That’s my one word review of the first week of spirits for our WSET Diploma. We covered a couple of areas, some interesting to me, some not so much. The morning was theory and tasting technique, as well as a practice test tasting on sparkling wines. (I was right on two of the three, but other people had the same incorrect answer for the second wine as I did.) The theory topic – basically, distillation – was interesting to me. I...

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Week 1 of Semester 2 of the Diploma was a bit of a challenge. I’m not referring to the having to get up earlier than usual, or dealing with the Tube strike when I needed to get around London. Those were manageable, if not my preferred way to start the week. There are three related things I’ll discuss here, although don’t expect any massive insights. The first thing that made the return to the classroom a challenge is the recalibration...

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Well, according to the WSET Unit 6 (fortified wines) exam results, anyway. My pride is somewhat assuaged by the fact that at least I passed the theory section. (One can insert here all the jokes about academics being useless in the real world.) I’m still debating spending the money WSET charges to get the feedback on the tasting section. It might be interesting to see how close I was to what they thought the fortified wines should...

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I wondered, back in December, if certain kinds of tasting notes were soulless. I want to return to this point, and take it in a slightly different direction. I want to think about the ways in which tasting notes can be unduly restrictive. One of the starting points for this is further reflection on the WSET fortified wines exam I sat about a month ago, and in particular, one of the wines, an Oloroso sherry. The other starting point is...

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I’ve written about orange wine before (See here). This is about a different aspect of it – orange wine and expectations. Over the course of doing various wine tastings, I’ve noticed something that intrigues me. Not only does orange wine not follow ‘the rules’ in how it is made, it also doesn’t really follow them in terms of how people react to it. By this, I mean that, as a general rule, people tend to prefer what they know. So you’d...

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After a longer-than-planned winter break, I’m back to blogging. Earlier this week, I had the pleasant of an all-too-brief visit to Plumpton College, in Sussex. For those not familiar with it, Plumpton is the one place in the UK that offers degrees in wine business and production. The College more generally does various agricultural and ‘land-based’ courses (as their website puts it.) Alas, I did not get to see the kangaroos. At any...

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