Tuesday, 28 February 2012

WSET Diploma - Day Two

Day two of the Diploma arrived after a three week break. During those three weeks we weren't particularly guided regarding what to study next, so it's fair to say I didn't really make the most of the time. A bit of reading around grape-growing and pruning was time well spent though.
Again, in the absence of advice regarding what to bring, I opted for just my tasting glasses (purchased from the WSET on day one) and the Unit Two handbook, which transpired to be the correct decision (note, we used eight glasses, not just six, during this session).
The first half of the day was dedicated to viticulture, which was every bit as chemical / biological / geological as it sounds. From root stocks to parasites, cloning to site selection, this was one of the most information-rich lectures of my recent life. Having just come out of two years of studying Forensic Psychology at Masters level, this is really saying something! I arrived at lunch time with 15 A4 pages of notes, and the lecture itself really skimmed just the essentials from the accompanying text, which is densely packed with detail.
This is not to say there wasn't time for tasting - we assessed eight wines during the session - simply that this is a lecture to bring your 'A game' to if you intend to maximise your learning potential. I would also seriously recommend reading the relevant chapter from the Unit 2 handbook in the week before you go: any head start you can give yourself will really pay off when it comes to digesting the information.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Cognac: Breaking News!

There are exciting things afoot in Cognac, and your intrepid reporter has got the scoop!

Last week, a group of four journalist / blogger folk (including GinMonkey and Chocoralie) made the journey over to France to take a closer look.

The good folk at Remy Martin had some news to share with us, but keeping their cards close to their chest, decided to keep the mystery to themselves until the big reveal. I'm not nearly that good with secrets, so I'm just going to come out with it: changes are being made to their VSOP.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

History is written by the victors (and Wikipedia)

I've been doing a lot of research into the history of Gin lately, and found an enormous amount of inconsistencies. Common consensus seems to be that, loosely speaking, Gin was first created by Franciscus Sylvius in 1650 (remember this date). This was thought to have been for purely medicial reasons, with Juniper being noted as an effective diuretic, used to treat liver cirrhosis and kidney failure (although with apparently little attention paid to the counter-productive effects of the alcohol it was steeped in).

Franciscus Sylvius