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So, I took the WSET 1 course and exam with my buddy Melissa Bellini at the advice of friend, Robin Kelley O'Connor of www.RKOVine.com fame (and much more). We both got 100% of the answers correct. I thought a Level 1 wine class of any kind would be below my pay grade but the fact is there's plenty to take away from a wine basics course. I'm now, on lockdown, enrolled in WSET 2 and while I find it informative and somewhat more challenging, the course in many ways is not for me. I do enjoy what they call their SAT, the Systematic Approach to Tasting, as it instructs the student to establish and normalize a set of routine guidelines that allow wines to be rated and classified by character and against each other.
Some of these rating or descriptive criteria are as follows:
Colour (their British)
White wine: lemon-gold-amber
Aroma characteristics: eg, primary-secondary-tertiary
Flavour intensity: low-medium-pronounced
Quality: poor-acceptable-good-very good-outstanding
As you can see, it's well done and pretty standardized. Then along with these basic descriptors comes a long list of aromas and flavors to match to the wine like lemon, grapefruit, black cherry, leather, and all that.
Next in the study arsenal is a workbook of 25 "chapters" each dealing with a specific grape or two (or in the case of Italian grapes, 3 or 4), each chapter being only a couple pages of the book. There is a heavy slant in educating the student in French wines and wine regions and also Australia, South Africa, and South America.
While doing this, I'm also studying for two Italian wine certifications and my focus will return to those once I've completed my WSET 2 exam the first week of June.
An NYC born and raised Italian-American in love with the world of Italian Wine. Former Buyer. Moving on to learn as much as I can and teach about the confusing and inspiring gifts sent to us by Italian winemakers.