Gird Your Loins There’s A Lot of Wine Involved
Welcome back to our podcast series: thoughts on WSET 2. This week Maggie talks about the amount of wine tasting involved.
As always we’ve included the script below for those of you who prefer the written word and also some photos of just a selection of the variety of wines we tried during our WSET 2 course.
Hello darlings! Maggie here again. Welcome back to the second of my podcast series ‘Thoughts on WSET 2’. This week we look at the huge amounts of wine involved. Now as you know I am girl who likes a glass or two, but not even I was prepared for the amount of wine tasting required as part of the WSET 2 qualification. During the two days that I took the course I tried a total of 42 wine! Yes you heard me correctly, 42! I was exhausted and to be honest more than a little tipsy when I took the exam at the end of the course.
Admittedly 4 of those wines were served with lunch and dinner and I wasn’t really obliged to drink them. However we were in Haro, Rioja which is the heartland of Spanish wine making. it would have been churlish to refuse. The other 38 wines were all part of the course.
‘Is it necessary to try so many wines?’ I hear you ask. Well yes it is rather. The point of the course is to learn about wines and to do that you must try them. Every aspect of wine discussed, such as the levels of sweetness, acidity and tannins, are each accompanied by a wine that demonstrates that property. Then you review the main grape varieties used and the top wine producing regions and try a wine that epitomises their qualities. For the Noble grapes grown in several countries, such as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, you clearly need to compare the difference between say a Pinot Noir from Burgundy versus one from South Africa. Add in the sparkling and fortified wines, and it’s easy to see how the numbers add up.
Now before you panic there are ways of handling the quantities of wine involved. The first is to do as the professionals and spit out the wine after tasting it. We of course did not do this because it is sacrilege to spit out a decent wine. Also I’ve never developed the knack of assessing a wine, especially its finish, if I don’t swallow it.
The second is to take the less intense version of the course. The WSET 2 qualification has 16 hours of classroom time. We did 2 sessions of 8 hours due to time constraints. The more popular version is 4 sessions of 4 hours one night a week with about 8 or 9 wines tasted per session, which is much more doable.
All in all it was a novel experience and I now know I’m unlikely to become a professional wine taster. It’s too much like hard work. At a recent event the wine expert had come straight from a professional tasting where she’d had to try 50 wines. Good grief we at get palate fatigue after 5 or 6 wines.
It turns out we’re not really morning drinkers either. I can categorically state that Chardonnay and breakfast cereal are not a good food wine pairing.
So I think I’ll stick to drinking wine one bottle at a time and enjoy the pleasure that brings.
That’s all from me folks, see you next time.