Wine Talk

Snooth User: shanwich55

Bite it WSET.

Posted by shanwich55, May 17, 2010.

I grew up on a farm.  Farmers kill themselves to survive and we support each other by buying locally.  I am from CA and I have been drinking wine predominately from Napa, Sonoma and Carneros since I was 21.  The point is, when I am studying for this WSET exam and being told that the best expression of every premium wine is found in some AOC in France (Except Riesling in Germany), well I kinda want to say, "bite it" you, Francophiles.  Of course, I will select the answers they want to get my certificate to put on my resume.  I will say it on the exam, but they will not make me believe it.  Guess what? I prefer Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Sonoma to a Bordeaux on the left bank.  I prefer our tannin structures - it is like a nice warm velvet blanket and less astringent and harsh.  Yes, I said it.  Viva la California!!!!

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Replies

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Reply by gregt, May 17, 2010.

Suddenly these diplomas and certifications are all the rage. 

OK. 

But the best tasters and the most knowledgeable people I know have never went through those.  Tasting wine is how you learn about wine.  Growing grapes is how you learn about growing grapes. 

Don't worry about it.  It's one thing to repeat what you're told in a class.  It's quite another to be able to taste differences in wines and regions, and to discern quality..

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Reply by dmcker, May 18, 2010.

And keep an open mind (and mouth) about other expressions of wine than those from California. You may find your tastes change as you experience more types of wine, and wine and food combinations.

I also grew up in a farming environment in California and on local wine, though that was another era. Since then I've traveled more than most, and have experienced all sorts of wines in their native environment. Now, no matter where I am, I like plenty of European wine, and the expression and style of the best from there, and really don't appreciate a lot of CA fruitbombs... ;-)

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Reply by shanwich55, May 18, 2010.

I completely have an open mind and some of my favorite wines are from Spain and Chile but to be told that every single variety, other than Riesling shows its best expression in a blend, somewhere in France is a little hard to believe.  There is France and then there is the rest of the world.  WSET is a tribute to France.  Each chapter is dedicated 3/4th to regions in France and then the rest of the old world and new world are an afterthought crammed into little sentences.  It would be nice to learn more about each place.  It is a European program.  One thing that is cool about it is I am tasting 6 wines a class and some are very expensive like a Grand Cru Classe St. Emilion that I would never be able to taste otherwise.  That is the fun part.  Also, the teacher usually gives us a bonus pour to drink through out the class.

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Reply by dmcker, May 18, 2010.

Drink, drink, drink. Love how big the wine producing world has become. Personally, I still view a lot of French and German wines as touchstones for their varietals, though. I love French sauvignon blanc, and despise that from Kiwiland, etc., though I do also have lots of fun finding new expressions of pinot noir from Sonoma, Oregon and even the South Island of N.Z. that complement my appreciation of a good Burgundy.  ;-)

And so on and so forth...

So what all are you drinking in the WSET course?

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Reply by shanwich55, May 18, 2010.

A lot of good stuff - 2006 Chapoutier La Bernadine Chateauneuf du Pape AC, 2006 Sylvie Esmonin Clos Saint-Jacques Gevrey - Chambertin 1er Cru AC, 2006 Jean Noel Gagnard Blanchot Dessus Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru AC.

Then we have cheaper stuff too like 2007 Domaine Drouchin Chablis AC. 

I really love the instructor, she is amazing and the class is fun.  The book is just written in a somewhat confusing manner and it needs to detail areas outside of France a little more.  

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Reply by gregt, May 18, 2010.

But they were created by the Brits who have long had an affinity for French wine.  And frankly, a number of the instructors don't know regions other than what they've learned over time, like all of us, and since most studied French wines, that's what they're comfortable with.  It's not a knock, especially for people with no background in wine, but it's not the be all and end all.

Meantime I can't believe I posted something as illiterate as "have . . went"!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, May 18, 2010.

Ditch WSET and head over to The Court of Master Sommeliers, the preeminent wine education program.  Of course, I'm somewhat biased.  ;)

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Reply by shanwich55, May 18, 2010.

@GirlDrinkDrunk - Do they have that program in Portland?  I got a small scholarship to the CIA program at Rudd institute in Napa.  I want to do that.  But, what I seriously need to do is get a job!!!!  

@GregT, I didn't even notice that "have went" was wrong!!  :)

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Reply by dmcker, May 18, 2010.

That's OK, Greg. Zuf caught me out on a nasty misspelling about a month ago, too... ;-)

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Reply by John Andrews, May 18, 2010.

@shanwich ... I'm with and I love your commitment and enthusiasm! 

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Reply by shanwich55, May 18, 2010.

Thanks HondaJohn!!!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, May 19, 2010.

Shan, here's their site:

http://www.mastersommeliers.org/

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Reply by shanwich55, May 19, 2010.

Thanks Girl Drink Drunk!!!  It looks amazing!!! 

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Reply by taylorsenatore, May 19, 2010.

@shanwich55 -- you friggin' go girl! WSET is notoriously continental. With WSET, you'd think wine was only made wine in France. I think the book has only like 2 pages dedicated to California-- sheesh! Viva la California!!!!

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Reply by shanwich55, May 19, 2010.

Thanks Taylorsenatore!!!  WSET has one page dedicated to the USA and clumps CA, OR and WA together. Spain, Chile, Australia and New Zealand only get a page each.  It makes me as mad as a feral cat.  hiss!! claw!!! hiss!!! claw!!!

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Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, May 19, 2010.

Although The Court basically involves self education, I beseech you to utilize them.  Who needs people telling you what's right and wrong, and which countries are supreme? 

The Court simply teaches you geography, service and how to blind taste.  Isn't that all you really need to know?

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Reply by shanwich55, May 20, 2010.

Girldrinkdrunk, I could not agree more.  It is like studying to take a test where you are told that Gott's Roadside in Napa, Shake Shack in NY and Apple Pan in LA all make the best burger. Well, maybe those are bad examples - those really are the best burgers.

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Reply by cfwineedu, May 21, 2010.

Shanwich55 I don't know what level course you are taking, but as you continue up the ladder the rest of the world gets more attention. France does garner the most attention  because they were historically the most important wine producing county to the UK. At the end of the day the WSET programs enable the student to learn why things are the way they are as well as understanding how and what the factors are that infuence the style of wine from any specific reagion. When I teach level 4 I never make the comments that you quote that your instructors do.

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Reply by shanwich55, May 21, 2010.

I was taking the intermediate WSET.  My instructor was amazing and made the class worth it and then some.  I love love love her.  She never made any comments.  My problems were with the WSET book.  I let them know in my review of the course that the instructor could not have been better and that the book needed to not give such a short shrift to the rest of the world that lie outside of Bordeaux and Burgundy.  :)

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Reply by cfwineedu, May 21, 2010.

Oh now I get it, the book, nuff said.  I did not take the intermediate and have not read that book and nor do I teach that level. Who is your instructor?

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