This week I started my first wine course at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. My interests in wine began with my first restaurant job at the now deceased Biltmore Room. The guys behind the bar had such enthusiasm for wine and creating unique cocktails, it was infectious. Since then I feel like my knowledge has been slowly developing, but I haven't made any real efforts to learn more until now.
I really wanted to develop my palate and be able to anticipate what a bottle should taste like based on the label, so I signed up for the Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits. My first day did not disappoint and our teacher Michelle Cherutti-Kowel was fun with a relaxed teaching style, which was nice.
Some great wines I discovered in our tasting was a 2010 Pio Cesare Barolo. The first time I tried Barolo was when I was studying abroad in Florence and it blew my mind away. I love big, powerful tasting reds and although this young Barolo is good, apparently in 3-5 years it will be great. For only £36.99, I think it's worth buying now and saving it for a special occasion in a few years time.
I know very little about white wines except that I always enjoy a sweet one and this Cave de Turckheim Gewurtztraminer is deliciously sweet. It's not too sweet like a dessert wine, but it's very fragrant and flowery. I have a shit palate and nose, but I could smell the flowers. This one is £16.99 and would be crowd pleaser at a party.
And my absolute favorite of the night was this Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Aszu Blue Label. This was beautiful...full body and very sweet, like dessert. My teacher rated it very good-outstanding and Hub and I have agreed to invest at only £18.99 a bottle. I also think this would make a great gift.
And a few interesting things that I learned on the day:
- Most wines we see strive to be acceptable, if not better, and that includes a Sainsbury Pinot Grigio for £4.99
- Although I always read about chocolate notes in certain wines, chocolate is a tricky food to pair with wine because it is both sweet and bitter
- I love Thai food and really aromatic foods like Thai need really aromatic wines
Have you taken any classes at the WSET? I'm really curious about their evening tastings and plan on trying them after my course ends. I have 7 more classes to go and will keep you updated as I go along.