day four and the Rhone Valley behind us, we set off for Italy.
I'll admit it. I've been dreading Italy. Such a diverse country with a massively convoluted infrastructure, fragmented regionality and more grape varietals than you could shake a multi-named stick (branch, twig, pointing device) at.
After an introduction like that, you'll be waiting for a statement along the lines of: "What a lot of fuss about nothing! All very simple, really". Well, sorry to disappoint.
I've often been told the key to Italy is to think if it as a group of regions rather than as a whole, which is a perfectly sensible piece of advice on the face of things. Until, that is, you realise you've just given the same problem a different name!
Let's take a look at the lesson.
Saturday, 20 April 2013
I spend a lot of my life trying to impose objective assessments onto subjective experiences. This will be a familiar experience for anyone who has spent any time dealing with the WSET's SAT (Systematic Approach to Tasting).
On occassion, this can become a tiresome process. Rather than enjoying the wine or spirit in the glass, we obsess about the primary, secondary and tertiary character, the acidity and alcohol balance, level and nature of tannin, and so on and so forth. SAT fatigue is a sensation familiar to any scholar of wines and spirits.
Friday, 19 April 2013
|The road to Cote Rotie|
As I missed day three due to previous commitments, we pick up from day two here.
The session tackled the Rhone (North & South) and "Southern France" (Languedoc, Rousillon, Provence) and was brought to life in a wonderfully auto-biographical style by a charming man who, in a selfless act of martyrdom, has gone to the trouble of spending a good amount of time in that particular part of the world, adding colour to his explanations of the region.
Friday, 12 April 2013
I've been looking forward to this!
Following on from my previous post (Semester 2 day 1) we are now in one of (sadly) only two spirits lectures, the second of which I'll miss due to overseas travel, but hope to attend later in the year so I can fill in the blanks...
Tuesday, 9 April 2013
We're back! The second half of the diploma (now referred to as WSET Level 4, but I'll continue as I've started) is now in full swing, bringing with it a mix of emotions:
The good: it is great to be studying again. Sure, there's some hard work, but you get out of life what you put into it, so bring it on. Semester two also contains spirits, my natural environment, so that will make for pleasant study time.
Thursday, 10 January 2013
The first few months of the year always feel a little down-beat. Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are but a distant memory and the weather remains dark and gloomy for the foreseeable future. To add insult to injury, everywhere you look people are sniffling and sneezing their way through the day. But there is light in this wintery tunnel, and it’s jolly tasty.
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
One of the most common questions I face when teaching wine appreciation is: "How can I get better at wine tasting?". The answer is so simple that people often think I'm joking, but my honest response is to taste as many other things as you possibly can.
Saturday, 10 November 2012
Can there be any better way to understand a wine than to visit the vineyard? See the vines, feel the sun on your face and the soil beneath your feet? Of course not - and it needn't cost a fortune.
|Wine Consumption World Map|
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Hot on the heels of part one of The Cambridge Distillery's interview on Cambridge105, part two is now available for your listening pleasure.
|The Tailoring Room at The Cambridge Distillery|
The Cambridge Distillery is the world's first Gin Tailor. Created by my wife and I, it is dedicated to making unique gin blends so that every individual can enjoy their own bespoke recipe. In this final part of the interview, the process of gin tailoring is discussed in detail. Listen to the interview by clicking the 'play' button below.
Thursday, 25 October 2012
Many of those who know me will be very surprised to see me writing a blog about vodka. For those who don't know me, allow me to briefly surmise: vodka is excellent. For cleaning things. Before the Russian Mafia arrive at my door I would like to qualify that I restrict this rather disparaging opinion to those Western vodka brands whose only aims are the pursuit of flavour neutrality and the PR goal of being photographed along side a vacuous minor celebrity, both of which strike me as entirely pointless endeavours.