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Wine Course

I’m in London at the moment studying wine. At the age of 42 it is a huge luxury to spend a whole 4 days learning about something you are interested in. OK, there was an exam on Monday morning but it is a classic case of no pain, no gain. Without the exams I don’t think I’d commit half as much to memory. What does the course cover? How to make wine, that was Monday’s multiple choice, growing grapes, making wine, the technology of wine. We’ve covered styles of sweet and fortified wines – see pictures of that tasting. We are now looking at styles of table wine, so in a day we have learned about and tasted wines from Bordeaux, South West France and lastly the Loire. A lot to cover in a day but we are expected to do 90% of the learning in our own time. So what’s the benefit of the course? For me the absolutely key benefit is to learn me what good “looks like” in wine. The really key thing you learn is tasting technique and how to differentiate good from bad. So what makes good? Well some of the things on the shopping list are;
  • typicity, tasting of where the wine comes from and the grape it is made from
  • concentration, ie lots of flavour and depth of flavor
  • balance, having everything work well together with no element out of place
  • complexity and length give interest and stop the wine seeming dull or one dimensional
The one thing I would recommend, if you are at all interested in wine, is to take a course. The entry level one is known as the intermediate level. Any member of staff at Scarlet Wines who stays for more than a couple of months does this and it is fantastic. It takes about five days and for most people is an incredible eye opener. At present St Austell Brewery offer these courses two or three times a year but if there is a demand it might be something we will offer at Scarlet. It’s different from school days though - learning can be fun, at least if you love the subject.

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