Here in Chile, the wineries are hard at work getting in the first of the harvests, the early ripeners like Chardonnay. Meanwhile, I too am in a flurry of activity: 19 March is the official start date of the 2-year online WSET Diploma course I’ve signed up for. It’s a hardcore course aimed at professionals of the wine world and involves a series of written exams and blind tastings.
Am I worried? You bet I am! First there’s the issue of how to fit in the 15 hours a week study they say is necessary. I run a business and have a lot of regular translation clients to keep happy, I have to keep my home and garden ticking over and care for 7 dogs and a cat and, of course, I really ought to spend some time with my husband now and again. Clearly I have bags of free time!
Then there is the time and expense of flying halfway round the world to London twice a year to do the exams. Retaking exams would be seriously expensive, so I better hadn’t fail!
But the real issue that has me biting my nails is the need to become familiar enough with wines and spirits from around the world to hold my own in the blind tasting exams.
The thing is, here in Chile we have lots of really fantastic wines. In fact they are so great that there isn’t that much of a market for wines from other countries. Why would anyone want an expensive wine from Bordeaux when, for a fraction of the price, they can get a really great Cabernet/Merlot blend made right here?
However, where there’s a will, there’s a way, as they say! I’ve tracked down a number of different distributors for wines from different countries and, just as important, some like-minded people who want to taste them. So, starting next week, our new tasting club will be checking out the differences between wines from different countries. Appropriately enough, we’ll be starting with Chardonnay, tasting Chablis alongside unoaked Chilean Chardonnay, followed by oaked styles from Côte de Beaune, California and Chile. Will we notice much difference? I’ll let you know!
To celebrate the weekend and my upcoming challenge, I’d like to share a cheeky little number with you, which I understand will soon be available in the UK.
El Impostor is a bright pink, lightly sparkling wine made from Cinsault sold in a 33cc beer format. And it’s delicious! Refreshing, fruity and fun. Great for a hot day, a fun celebration or just when you fancy something a little different. For more information, check out the website www.terroirsonoro.com or twitter account @terroirsonoro. Cheers!