Saturday, November 20, 2010

WSET Level 3 Completed!

Looking towards Domaine Gayda and its Vineyards.

The Vineyards.


It was a bit too chilly for a dip.

The Entrance to the Gites (Accomodatiom).

The Gites.

The Gites.

Beautiful even in November.

My Place!

I know it's a bit of a crap picture, but just wanted to show everyone my dream fridge, which has a wine fridge built into it!!

The Accomodation.

The Accomodation.

I just got home late last night and enjoyed a much deserved ice cold beer after five intense days of WSET Level 3. What is the WSET Level 3?

The course provides a core knowledge of the wide range of wines and spirits around the world and their commercial importance in the global market. It builds on the knowledge gained in the Level 2 Intermediate Certificate and provides an in-depth study of the main wine regions and a detailed analytical approach to wine tasting.

Topics covered:

Viticulture and Vinification, Bordeaux and South West France, Burgundy and Alsace, Loire, Rhone and South of France, Germany, Austria, Hungary, UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal, Eastern Europe, New Zealand and South Africa, North and South America, Australia, Fortified Wines, Sparkling Wines, Spirits, and Liqueurs

It was only myself and one other person in the course, apparently there were a few more people registered, but they decided to postpone the course until spring because of all the strikes that were going on in France. I will admit to feeling slightly intimidated, since the guy that was in the class with me is the owner a very successful wine tasting company that has been around for the past ten years. It can be found all over France, parts of Germany and is planning on expanding into Spain and Italy. I tried my very hardest not to look like a complete idiot.

I took the course through Vinecole which is located at the beautiful Domaine Gayda in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of south west France. The course was taught by Master of Wine Matthew Stubbs, (who was great!) and another lady named Emma who I was not so great. She gave off the impression of being insincere and a snooty know-it all, she has her Diploma Level, which is only the level above the course I just completed.

Regardless, I had a great time and got to sample and analyze over 90 different wines! Some of my favourites were:

1.Estiba 1, Bodegas Esmerelda, Torrontes, 2007, Mendoza, Argentina
Not everyone's glass of wine but Argentina's answer to Viognier is this richly aromatic, spicy, lemony, musk peach-scented white made from the country's indigenous torrontes grape.
Appearance: clear, medium minus intensity, lemon in colour, legs
Nose: clean, medium plus intensity, developing, stone fruit, peach, pear, apricot, cirtus, honey, floral
Palate: dry, medium plus acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, medium plus intensity, medium length, with flavours of peach, stone fruit, pear, apricot, floral and hints of honey
Conclusions: good quality, mid price, drink now

2. Montana, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2009
Super fresh, zingy flavours with mouth watering acidity and lovely fragrant herbaceous aromas are all hallmarks of excellent New World Sauvignon Blanc. The fresh passion fruit flavours go well with oysters or salmon as well as asparagus.
Appearance: clear, pale, lemon-green in colour, watery rim
Nose: clean, pronounced intensity, youthful, grapefruit, citrus, green apple, grass, herbaceous, pear, floral
Palate: dry, medium plus acidity, medium body, pronounced intensity, medium alcohol, medium plus length, with flavours of citrus, grapefruit, grass, apple, floral, pear, herbaceous
Quality: very good, mid price, drink now will not develop.

3. Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva, 2005, Spain
Made from a blend of tempranillo, graciano and mazuelo grape varieties. This red has been aged for at least 18 months in barrel and 18 months in bottle prior to release, in accordance with DO regulations – however most Riojas are aged longer than the legal minimum.
Appearance: clear, medium plus intensity, ruby-garnet in colour, legs
Nose: clean, medium plus intensity, developed, dark fruits, dried fruits, raisin, cinnamon, soft strawberry, earthy, vanilla, toasty oak
Palate: dry, medium acidity, medium plus tannin, med alcohol, medium plus body, medium plus intensity, long length, flavours of: dark fruits, dried fruits, jam, earth, savoury, clove, cinnamon, toasty
Quality: very good, high priced, drink now but will improve

4. Chateau Marquis d'Alesme-Becker, Grand Cru Classe, Margaux, 2007, Bordeaux, France
Appearance: clear, medium plus intensity, ruby in colour, lots of legs
Nose: clean, medium plus intensity, developing, vegetal, earthy, black fruits, green pepper, licorice, mint/menthol, plum, eucalyptus, oak, black cherry, cloves
Palate: dry, medium acidity, high tannin, medium plus alcohol, medium plus body, medium plus flavour intensity, medium plus length, with flavours of green pepper, plum, cassis, black cherry, blackberry, cedar, spice, oak, licorice, mint, earth
Quality: very good, premium price, drink now but will improve

I also loved some of the Italians, especially these two: Barolo, Cantine Rocca Ripalta, 2006 (Italy) and Chianti Reserva, Famiglia Terraccia, 2007 (Italy)!