I have a confession it wasn’t until my late twenties I started drinking wine. It was one of my previous employment that the social after work culture involved the local Patch dungeon 50% off bottles of wines happy hour did I begin drinking wine. As I attended more and more events I learned how to appreciate good wine with food. When WSET invited me to come along to one of their courses I didn’t hesitate. As a complete newbie I enrolled in the Vine to Glass class, the price is £35 and last over 2 hours.
Located at the bottom of Bermondsey Street closest to London Bridge station the WSET school has the entire building to themselves. After signing into reception, I made my way to the floor of the class. Hosted by Virgilio Gennaro a Wine Director at Giorgio Locatelli Consultancy and Business Development Manager at Berkmann Wine Cellars. He holds the WSET Diploma in Wines and Spirits and as a sommelier skills specialist, he has worked with WSET on its wine services courses.
Virgilio started the evening with an introduction of how the evening will pan out. The room was filled with a mixture of people. Professionals who travelled far to attend the course. Hobbyists, house wives and people that generally have an interest in wine. Virgilio went into the wine fridge and brought the wines. We started off with two white wines there are three main steps to wine tasting. The first is the sight, second is the nose and the third is the palette. The appearance is very important as the first thing you see is the clarity. The wine reflects light, you then look at the depth of colour. A white wine you distinguish the colour by lemon, amber or gold. The depth is the concentration of the wine and finish. The body is the weight of the wine, the scale is from water to full-fat milk.
Smelling the wine, we focused on what aromas we could smell first, swirling the wine glass helps intensify the smells. Do you sometimes see people inhaling and spitting wine out? This method lets the person taste the wine on the back of their tongues. If things get a bit much then you can smell the back of your hand to reset your nose.
The first white wine we identified what the appearance looked like then we tried to guess the notes of the wine by the aromas we smell. People guess gooseberries, touch of white pepper, and salad tasting notes. Wine 3 had apricot, citrus, honey, candied orange peel.
When there is high acidity in a wine it leaves a mouth-watering sensation. If it is high in sugar and makes your gum a bit funny the wine is dry.
We ripped open a grape, without the skin the inside is very sweet. The skin is very dry on its own, we tried the stalk and learned that some wines add the stalk for bitterness.
Virgilio went through the wine production process and explain different climates affect the acidity and sugars the wine produces. As we had more wines going back to the first few wines we tried during the evening I managed to taste different notes. Tasting popcorn, knob of butter surprised me once the more tasted.
I’ve learned heaps within the 2 hours at WSET and plan to attend the food and wine pairing event in the future. For more information and the calendar click below.