Wine school

SilverSage

Resident Crone
I've been posting a few things in beverages and what are you doing today. I thought I'd actually pull it all together into a thread. I'm in wine school - working on a sommelier certificate. I've posted pics of the new fridge and some of the wine flights for classes. If Lee has time and wants to move those posts here, that would be cool, but I'm going to keep y'all up to date here, if you're interested.

Last night was pinot noir. Taste - learn - then mix them up and identify. Washington -Burgundy - New Zealand - California.

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SilverSage

Resident Crone
Tonight was cabernet sauvignon. Oregon, Haut Medoc, Chile, South Africa.

Again, smell, taste, learn. Then Judy mixes them up for me to identify. Oregon and South Africa were tough - they have very similar profiles.
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SilverSage

Resident Crone
So, here is the wine cellar. Not totally full, but pretty much. About 3 racks are junk wine. Judy likes to drink kool-aid! If I get much more wine, the kool-aid goes!!!
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QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
Looks as if someone beat me to it. Boy, Kathy, I didn't realize that you were going for sommelier! How cool and impressive!

I imagine that it's not at all easy!

Lee
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
Looks as if someone beat me to it. Boy, Kathy, I didn't realize that you were going for sommelier! How cool and impressive!

I imagine that it's not at all easy!

Lee
I've earned my Level 1 certificate, and am about 3/4 through Level 2. You need to pass Level 3 to get your sommelier pin. Beyond that, level 4 & 5, are really for people who work in the industry. Level 5 is a Master Somm, and you need about 10 years experience in the industry for that. I'm just hoping to get my pin.

Level 1 was not too difficult. It's mostly what you might call 'book learnin'. Grapes, locations, wine types, etc. Written test only.

Level 2 has much more concentration on blind tasting and identifying. It's definitely harder. Those are the recent pictures of wine glasses. At first it was learning to identify different grapes - not too bad. Then identifying Old World (Europe) vs New World (US, Austalia, S America, S Africa). Definitely more subtle. Tonight was winemaking techniques. Distinquishing between oak and malolactic fermentation. Recognizing differences in alcohol levels. Defferentiating between American oak barrels and French oak barrels. I had whites, roses and reds, all with different techniques. Had to learn to tell the difference.

Each class, they give us a list of which wines to pour, then they walk us through the tasting. We take notes and learn. At the end, I always go one step further. I have Judy come mix up all the glasses (I label the bottoms), and I try to identify them. We do that 2 or 3 times until I feel confident (or had too much wine to tell the difference).

I'll probably take my level 2 exam in January. They are going to send us small bottles of wine and we have to identify and write tasting notes. Then there is a written test as well. I'm not yet sure what is in store for level 3.
 

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SilverSage

Resident Crone
Here was the grouping tonight. Oaked chardonnay with and without malo (the fermentation that causes butterniess). Northern Rhone grenache/syrah blends from the same vineyard with differing skin contact (this one was easy). 2 Asutralian Cabernets - one aged in French oak barrels and one in American oak. Just looking at the color, you would think this one was easy. But when you start trying to identify the winemaker's fingerprints, it gets much more complicated.

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QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
Wow, fascinating! I assume that you are loving this and having fun, correct?

Lee
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
I take my level 2 test this week, so I'm brushing up on categories we covered. Last night I expanded the Cabernet tastings to 6. Australia, South Africa, Chile, Bordeaux, Washington State, and a Merlot in the mix for fun. Then I tasted each with my filet for dinner. The Merlot won!
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SilverSage

Resident Crone
Tonight it was 3 whites to pair with my scallops. Sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, Pouilly Fume from Liore Valley France, and a California chardonnay.

They all worked with the scallops, but I liked the Pouilly Fume the best. It cut through the butter sauce, without all the excess acid from the Kiwi wine.

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QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
I passed! I got my Level 2 certificate today! Now if I get through Level 3, I'll be a Sommelier!!

Kathy, that is huge! What an accomplishment. Through your posts, you are helping us imagine how difficult this is! Congratulations!

Lee
 

Shermie

Well-known member
Site Supporter
Technically, I'm not a wine drinker, but I DO drink sweet wine now & then. W9ine here sits too long & it slowly start turning to vinegar after a while. If I cook with it, I buy qt-size bottles to keep down its chances of turning to vinegar. :bolt:
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
Last night was a tough one. All the same grape - Sauvignon Blanc.
A Sancerre and a Pouillly Fume, on opposite side of the river in the Upper Loire Valley, France, with a Sauv Blanc from Chile.
I didn't pour the New Zealand, since the distinction is so obvious - I was trying to keep the challenge difficult. It was!!!
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QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
Oh, Kathy, that is absolutely WONDERFUL!! All your hard work (and fun) paid off - huge congrats!

Lee
 

SilverSage

Resident Crone
I really wasn't going to....
But......
I signed up for Advanced French. A prerequisite to Level 4 is passing 4 gifferent Advanced "---" classes.
Advanced French is the first....
The first week is Loire Valley, and here are the wines.
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SilverSage

Resident Crone
The interesting thing about this class is that each week for 8 weeks, they describe wines that you will need and it's up to us to find and source them. They are accurate, yet a bit cryptic in the descriptions. For example, they asked for a Sancere Rouge (a red Sancerre). Sancerre is usually synonomous with a white - Sauvignon Blanc. But a Sancere Rouge is actually a Pinot Noir (usually from Burgundy) from the Sancere region of the Loire Valley. Each week we have to source 6-8 wines, and they are giving the less known description. It's up to us to figure it out and find the correct wines. Sourcing counts for 25% of our grade.

In this picture, the Sauvignon Blanc is #3 and the Pinot Noir is #5. Both are called Sancerre, which is actually the region grown, not the grape.
 

QSis

Grill Master
Staff member
Gold Site Supporter
The interesting thing about this class is that each week for 8 weeks, they describe wines that you will need and it's up to us to find and source them. They are accurate, yet a bit cryptic in the descriptions. For example, they asked for a Sancere Rouge (a red Sancerre). Sancerre is usually synonomous with a white - Sauvignon Blanc. But a Sancere Rouge is actually a Pinot Noir (usually from Burgundy) from the Sancere region of the Loire Valley. Each week we have to source 6-8 wines, and they are giving the less known description. It's up to us to figure it out and find the correct wines. Sourcing counts for 25% of our grade.

In this picture, the Sauvignon Blanc is #3 and the Pinot Noir is #5. Both are called Sancerre, which is actually the region grown, not the grape.

Well, sounds like more stress than I'd want to take on, but as long as you're still enjoying it and having fun, that's all that counts!

Best of luck, Kathy!

Lee
 
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