Hello, Ladies and Gentlemen. I recently received some positive feedback on my Life is too short to drink bad wine! post. I was told it was very useful and informative. I was pleased. However, I also received some fair criticism! “Where are the tips and advice?!” – one for curious Amazing readers said. “Not a £5…not a supermarket offer…then what??”.
Fair enough. From now on I am going to share with you some tips and … simply my own experience. I would also be happy to hear about yours – because we learn from each other.
I became interested in wine a few years ago. At some point I realised that drinking wine is a bit like reading books: you look forward, have great expectations, and then either they make you happy and satisfied or disappoint you. The most interesting books we may read many times, they become our friends 🙂
My first step to learn about the wine was a big fat book Grapes&Wines by Oz Clarke.
It was a present from my friends. I really liked it, it was very informative. Still on my shelf and I reread it from time to time.
My second step was to take a Wine and Spirit Education Trust course. I think WSET is a number 1 educational body in the wine and spirits field. All the wine professionals study there. Its doors are open for the amateurs as well. There is a gazillion of various study options. If you have plenty of money and limited time, you go to school and take classes. When you have little money and plenty of time or just want to study at your own pace, you can take an on-line course. That was what I did. It is basically the same as an “off-line” but you have to buy all the wine and try it by yourself. That was what I did (with the help of my friends 😉 .
Of course it is better to attend the classes where you can interact with the teachers and ask all your questions, but if you dont have this opportunity, I would suggest you take an online course and go to as many wine tastings as possible. And here we come to the third step – wine tasting!
Wine tasting is the most important thing in all this wine journey. Why? Ask yourself “Why do I want to learn about the wine?”. Two answer options are possible:
1. If the answer is: “I want to develop a wine taste. I want to be able to recognise when the wine is faulty and when it is good and stop poisoning myself. I want to discover a new pleasure in life”. Then you should just simply start trying as many good wines as possible.
2. If the answer is: “I want to know as much as possible about wine, so that I could show off a bit in the company of my friends and to have a “gourmet reputation” – then carry on with the books!
And now please get ready for the main part of today’s post! I am gonna say smth really important for you aways have in mind!
If your answer to the question “Why do I want to learn about the wine?” is the first option, the first thing you need to do is to start drinking good wine! This is really really important because you need to start setting up the benchmarks! If the book or the online course tells you to try Pinot Noir from New Zealand, dont go to Sainsbury’s to buy the cheapest half price Pinot Noir. If you do, you learn nothing and only get a headache instead! If you drink the cheapest poor quality wines you will never learn how this or that wine should actually taste!
You should learn what is GOOD first. Then you will be able to recognise when it is bad.
even if you pay me! (It wasnt always like that. Litres of Blossom Hill were consumed by Marie and myself at Adelphi pub in Preston when we were students and at the Bedford later, before I realised B & G were the reasons of my memory loss and “extravagant” behaviour ;-).