When you signed up for the WSET Level 2 wine course what did you want to have happen?
I have enjoyed learning about wine for the last 10 years, but have not undertaken any formal courses until now. When I signed up for the WSET level 2 course I wanted to learn how to taste wine in an analytical and consistent way, using language that everyone could understand. I also tend to drink wines that I am familiar with and have a good knowledge of Bordeaux, but wanted to increase my understanding of other wine producing areas and countries.
Taste a wider range of wines
I also tend to choose wines produced from a limited number of grape varieties, so wanted to taste a wider range of wines, whilst understanding the factors that influence the style of a wine. I think that anyone can buy expensive wine, they just need to look at the price tag. In contrast, I wanted the course to give me enough knowledge to buy inexpensively and not be disappointed.
The course definitely helped me to taste wine in a systematic and structured way. The WSET ‘tasting cards’ provide a good structure for appraising a wine and the course helped me to know what to look for. As an example, prior to attending, I didn’t know that to describe a red wine as being purple in colour, there needs to be a blue tint. Likewise an orange tint is needed to describe a red wine as garnet.
Tasting 43 wines over three days
Tasting 43 wines over three days and discussing them with fellow students also helped me to ‘put a name’ to the aromas and flavours that I was experiencing. Studying the characteristics of different grape varieties and influences upon style also helped me to know what to expect, before undertaking a tasting.
Changed my wife’s mind about Chardonnay
Since completing the course I now feel confident enough to choose wines from all over the world, most of which I have never tried before. These include a wonderful Pinot Noir from Monterey, California, and a Chardonnay from Mendoza, Argentina. The latter has actually changed my wife’s mind about Chardonnay, having never liked it before! I now understand that there are so many different styles of a particular grape, and this has led me to explore much more widely.
Food and wine pairing…works wonderfully!
The food and wine pairing element of the course has been a great help. Having learned that a dish with high acidity should be paired with a wine with similar high acidity, I paired a lovely Italian Barbera with a tomato based pasta dish. Similarly, the course taught me to pair a high acidity wine with a food that is fatty/oily. I would never have believed that Soave pairs really well with fish and chips, but it works wonderfully!
Unexpected outcome of the course
To anyone thinking of learning more about wine, I thoroughly recommend that they undertake the WSET courses with Enjoy Discovering Wine. The pre-course material is really helpful in preparing you for the course. Erica and Nicky are excellent educators and the course is delivered in a fun and thoroughly enjoyable way. An unexpected outcome of the course for me is that it has given me enough knowledge to choose lighter bodied styles of red wine that my wife will drink. She has never liked red wine in the past, but is now a convert!