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Tasting Expert… the beginning

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Wow! I cannot believe the amount of information I have taken in regarding wine. I am learning a vast amount of knowledge… and it’s only been 5 days. I have decided I LOVE learning about wine. It combines all of my favorite things- history, travel, europe, gastronomy, a little science thrown in (actually a lot) and um, wine 🙂

In fact, because we are retaining so much, my classmates and I all decided to go to a hotel bar that has a beautiful wine list….and spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. We went to the Hotel Novotel, and claimed territory on the rooftop 🙂 We ordered a few bottles, a mix of red and white and toasted to where we are going to be in a year!

It’s just the beginning!

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You might be thinking how we could possibly drink more wine after tasting in class all day?

In class, we are highly discouraged from actually swallowing (drinking) the wine. Our professor needs our 100% concentration to learn the techniques to become expert tasters. He says there is a difference between drinking wine and tasting it for analysis. So in class we TASTE. We taste and then …spit it out. I know it doesn’t sound that appealing, but if we do not do this we would all be intoxicated by the end of the school day. Also, how would we be clear on what we are learning? We are tasting A LOT of wine. In the nature of 1,000 bottles when all is said and done this year.

Out at the vineyards and at the events or food and wine pairings, I will of course be drinking the wine as well as tasting. However, in the lecture room- taste only.

What does it mean to be an expert taster?

It is a study that I am privy to learning and I am so intrigued by it. If I play my cards right, I will be able to tell you (customer) the following about any wine you give me. Just by tasting it.

Vintage (Year it was harvested and bottled), Location (is it a french wine, from California, etc.), what the sale price should be, if it is aged, if it needs to be decanted, the grapes used to make it, and the food  it will pair nicely with.  

How does one begin to be a tasting expert?

Well, for starters we began with the nose. We did this really neat experiment in class where the professor passed around 20 bottles of perfumed liquid. Each one had a distinct aroma and we had to record what that was. The first day I got 6 out of 20 right. The second day we did this again and I got 16/20. Improvement. It is brain memory. The 20 aromas are the top aromas also noted when you smell wine out of a glass. I now have a pretty good idea what blackberry combined with leather will smell like. That smell is coded in my memory.

Did I tell you this is a lot of work and studying? Oh well it is. 🙂

What else? Let’s see…

Oh yes, I was just informed that the grapes in Bordeaux specifically Saint-Emilion region will need to be harvested soon! The rain is coming in….SO, I am going to Bordeaux to stay on a family-owned vineyard for TWO weeks. I will be in the trenches with this family on making their wine for the year. This is the time. I will also live in their home and have meals with them every day. I will be a welcomed guest who is also there to evaluate, analyze and learn. This is going to be quite the experience. I am tentatively leaving for Bordeaux September 23rd.

Our professor has placed each of us at our own vineyard. We will take the train from Paris to Bordeaux, and then each of us will be picked up and taken to our selected vineyard.

I imagine waking up at dawn to a rooster crowing, slight raindrops falling…putting on my rain boots and heading out for a day’s work. The rest….STAY tuned!

*Just a hint…it is grape season right now. Buy some this weekend …nothing compares to the grapes I am eating here. They are pure sweetness in my mouth! They even have seeds in them….I am off to eat a bunch now!

Have a great weekend everyone! I will report in at the beginning of the week. Hmmm, what should I do in Paris this weekend…. what a dreamy question to ponder 😉

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10 thoughts on “Tasting Expert… the beginning

  1. Wow Krista! Sounds fabulous! Can’t wait to hear about your 2 week trip to Bordeaux!
    Xo,
    Aunt Jenny

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  2. How fun for us that you are sharing what you are learning! I’m so excited for you (and for us as we are benefiting too by your sharing). I’m really enjoying your beautiful pictures! I’m already looking forward to what is to come next week from you. Enjoy the weekend and happy studying!

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  3. Those figs look positively amazing…oh..and so does le tour Eiffel and the wine and you ladies enjoying a verre de vin! So impressed with your 16/20. I have trouble NOT swallowing my sips of wine at a tasting. But it’s true that I can’t really “taste” after a few different sips and swallows. Love these posts…In vino veritas 🍷😘

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    • Lee ~ I know- the thought of spitting it …the whole class kind of sighed in disappointment….:) BUT it really is better for our learning. When you are drinking AND you are concentrated on the wine trying to analyze it you become “drunk” even quicker be cause your brain is working so hard. So happy you are along for the adventure.

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  4. Love how your class is so interesting. The way you explained how to tell the difference in the notes in the wine by scent actually explains a lot. I’ve always been completely perplexed at how to know the difference. When you said you were going to St. Emillion, it reminded me of the most perfect glass of wine I’ve ever had, it was from that region and since then I have always compared other wines to that one. I wish I knew the name of it! If you run into any that you would recommend, please let us know 🙂

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  5. Maybe we will learn a thing or two reading your blog,travel,food,wine is what I love. Am enjoying all the pictures so very much..So glad you are having a great experience my girl. Have a wonderful weekend sweetie. Chow🍴🍷

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  6. So excited to hear about your two week stint! Post some pics of you out in the field. So excited for you!
    Nicole

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