Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WSET, Class 4

Tonight's class was all about the classic Bordeaux grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc (also grown in the Loire Valley). Like last class, we tasted French wine and then the American interpretation (or as those in the know would say "old world vs. new world").
As one who has primarily developed her palette on "new world" wines, I have a much easier time identifying and understanding American wines. That said, I love good French wine so as usual, I had a blast at class. Plus, I know my palette is slowly (very slowly), but surely learning.

So enough about me and my learning. On to the highlights:

-Tasting two styles of the same grape side by side (or "contextual tasting" as I call it) is the best way to go. It makes it so much easier to discern the different scents on the nose and the flavors on the palette. And it's just plain fun (for wine geeks like me, that is).

-The California climate makes it really easy to grow almost any type of grape whereas the French climate is a bit more challenging. That's why you'll hear of bad vintages of Burgundy or Bordeaux, but you rarely hear of bad vintages of Napa or Sonoma or Santa Ynez.

-Bordeaux is in the Southwest of France and is known for several appelations primarily split between two zones - the left bank and the right bank of the Gironde estuary. Wines from the left bank (Medoc, Haut Medoc, Graves) are Cabernet Sauvignon dominated while wines from the right bank (Pomerol, Saint-Emilion) are Merlot dominated.

-Sancerre does not have notes of honeysuckle (see, I told you my palette takes the short bus to class!).

It's been a busy 3 days of eating, drinking and more eating and drinking and I appreciate you reading along with my adventures!

Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,


Alli M.


elliej said...

To think you spent all of that time in Bordeaux before you were a wine-o -- or is it wine -e?

Alli M. said...

I'm definitely a w(h)iner.
Secondly, I was 14 when I was in Bordeaux and so the few times I had wine there I had no clue what I was drinking and I'm pretty sure I didn't really enjoy it. Though I still remember the fresh mussels I had. They had been caught the morning we had them and cooked with butter, wine and some herbs. If I had that meal again, I'd certainly be drinking a Sauvignon/Semillon blend from Bordeaux.

elliej said...

You're not a w(h)iner -- I'd say wineist. It sounds so sophisticated -- just like you.

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