Last week I went to one of Lavinia’s wine tasting classes in Madrid run by Anna Harris Noble from tasteexchange.com. I’d signed up to this on a whim a week earlier because I know of Anna from other groups in Madrid and was curious to see her in action. So this write up is about Anna. I will do do a separate write up about Lavinia, which is a huge wine store in Madrid, after I have revisited for a proper look round. The wines we tasted at this class (which were delicious) will follow shortly.
Anna Harris Noble runs tasteexchange.com which helps Spanish wineries market their goods internationally. She has 15 plus years experience in the industry and is WSET 4 qualified. In addition she writes for Spanishwinelovers.com, is a qualified WSET trainer (sometimes she does the classes for Vintage Class who I did my training with) and has now become involved with Lavinia doing one off tasting classes. Like I said I was curious to see her in action. Click on the image above to see more of Anna’s background.
On the day of the class I hadn’t been well. I suffer from IBS and it had flared up that day. Just what you don’t need before a tasting. So I literally dragged myself out of the house, because this event cost me 45€ which is super expensive by Madrid standards where most wine tastings range from 5€ to 20€. However this is not a tasting, but a class on tasting. Having said that I had done my WSET 2 (Wine and Spirits Education trust level 2 qualification) a couple of weeks earlier, so was kicking myself for signing up to something that will no doubt be more of the same stuff. As you can probably tell I was a bit grumpy.
Well I’m really glad I went. This class was worth doing, even with the WSET 2 qualification. In fact it was the chapter on the Spanish wine industry that WSET is totally missing. Yes we went through the same tasting protocol that WSET uses, though it was useful to bed that in, but then Anna started to go into detail about the different wine regions in Spain, the climate variances and the effect this has on the grapes used and wine produced. Now I loved WSET 2 and would highly recommend it, but the one criticism we all had was that Spain was seriously under represented given that it is one of the top wine producers in the world. This course helped to plug that gap.
If you’re unable to do WSET or are only really interested in the Spanish wines then this course would be a great place to start. If you’ve done WSET but feel it didn’t give you enough on Spain then again this course is worth signing up to.
Anna clearly knows her stuff, but she has a very open relaxed presenting style with an emphasis on enjoying the experience. The group was a mix of drinkers and caterers of varying levels of experience. Anna handled that variety with aplomb and I think everyone went away satisfied and having learnt something.
More importantly the 4 wines she chose to represent the varying climates in Spain were delicious. More on that shortly…..
Would I do this ‘class format’ of Lavinia’s on a regular basis? Probably not. I think once is enough especially at that price. There’s plenty of other tastings in Madrid where the emphasis is on the wine rather than learning about the industry. However I’m glad I did it once and that it was Anna that I picked. She made it very worth while.