Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Tuscan Tourists, 5 of 5

After an action packed day yesterday involving three wineries, each spectacular in their own right, it was another early start.

As has become habitual I donned my running shoes and went to explore the charming town of Montelcino (which I have come to learn translates literally as the 'mountain of oak trees'). I was rewarded well for my efforts: the morning mists gathering in the valleys provided a view nothing short of majestic (unintentional wine plug).

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tuscan Tourists, 4 of 5

The Castle of Banfi

Our whistle-stop tour of Tuscany had already exceeded expectation. The rustic delights of Castellare in Chianti and Villa S. Anna in Montepulciano had set the bar extremely high. Nonetheless, the regard with which all our previous hosts has spoken of our next destination filled us with anticipation. Next stop: Castelli Banfi.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Tuscan Tourists, 3 of 5

Simona Fabroni at Villa S Anna

After the morning in Chianti Classico, we arrive in Ababbio di Montepulciano a little late and drive straight past Villa Saint Anna, finding it on our second pass through the village, such is the discreet nature of the estate. With that said, once we're through the gate it is every bit as impressive as you could hope.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tuscan Tourists, 2 of 5

Sunrise in Chianti

After our first evening in Tuscany I woke up early, eager to see more of the area. So early, in fact, that I managed to squeeze in a decent run and a swim before breakfast.

I have become rather fond of running in wine producing areas - you can access areas on foot which are simply inaccessible by car - especially in the morning whilst the plants are still shaking off the cool humidity of night.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Tuscan Tourists, 1 of 5

Sangiovese vines in Chianti Classico

Each year the Bibendum Wine Training Team (shortlisted Wine Educators of the year) travel to a different wine producing region to gain a deeper understanding of their vines, wines and winemakers.

Monday, 22 April 2013

WSET Diploma, semester 2, day 5

With 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

#OPD - a new way of assessing days

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

WSET Diploma, semester 2, day 4

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

WSET Diploma Semester 2, day 2

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

WSET Diploma Semester 2, day 1

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.