Hungover from Sunday, when Kelleigh hosted our Wine Club’s first dinner (see above), with parings for every course (menu to follow), I taught all day on Monday, and prepared for my final exam at the International Wine Center, after completing an eight week course. The first organization in the US to be affiliated with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (since 1994), IWC offers Intermediate and Advanced courses, both of which are precursors to the WSET Diploma in Wine & Spirits; the Diploma program being a pre-requisite for those who desire to become a Master of Wine (there are 277 world wide). And while the latter is not something to which I currently aspire, I gained a lot of specific knowledge and cannot wait to register for the next course. From 6 to 8 PM on Monday nights, I sat with approximately 47 other students in a long white laboratorial room to listen to our instructor, Jennie, as she lectured and presented maps and informational slides on wine. There were tastings too, generally six a night; tastings which Jennie encouraged us to spit. (Something about those five 50ml of wine affecting our tasting notes on the sixth.) But not all of the wines were worth drinking. That wasn’t the point. The goal was to observe the nose and presence on the palate, while associating them with the varietal or region that we’d discussed that night.
Based entirely on the WSET text book Wine and Spirits Looking Behind the Label, the course provides a framework from which one can begin to understand a bit more about wine. We studied the Classic Grape Varieties: chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon and merlot, sauvignon blanc, riesling, syrah and granache.
And the places from which they come. We memorized the appellations of Burgundy and Bordeaux, Loire Valley, Spain, and Italy, along with their local varietals and the expected taste characteristics of each. We studied the language of tasting. We addressed each country’s quality classifications and approach to labelling, the effects of soils and climates, and the wine making process, including champagne. Everything that we learned made me want to learn more. And from what I could tell, my fellow classmates were equally intoxicated by the knowledge that we had gained.
IMBIBE WINE CLUB
Menu for Sunday night:
Navarro Gewurztraminer served with White Bean & Garlic Dip
El Coto Rioja 2004
Charvin Cote du Rhone 2006
Coltibuono Chianti Reserve 2006
All three served with Roasted and Stuffed Acron Squash, Spinach & Gruyere Cassoule, Steamed Green Beans with Walnut Oil, and for the carnivores–Roasted Pork Loin with Vegetables
Dessert: Tawny Port (too late into the night to record any specifics)
served with apple and pear crunch/cobbler
[Where: International Wine Center, 350 7th Avenue, Suite 1202, New York, NY 10001]