If you are wondering that I have posted more sparkling wine reviews than usual recently, it is for the reason that I have just completed the sparkling unit exam for the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) diploma.  The exam involved reviewing three sparkling wines blind, and writing three long responses to questions on aspects of sparkling wine regions and production in 65 minutes, and several months of preparation.  It is not particularly easy.  That the sparkling wine exam included a South African sparkling and a vintage dated German sparkling riesling suggests that the examiners have a sense of humour for candidates such as myself based in Australia.  Well, that's how I have rationalised it anyway!

As usual, the process of tasting and in depth studying has resulted in my interest in wines of the style maturing to engagement.  There are some remarkable sparkling wine bargains to be had with the Cremants of France, particularly Cremant de Bourgogne, down south in Limoux, across in the Prosecco region in north eastern Italy and, I think, in Tasmania too.  In time, I think I will come to regard the sparkling wine unit as fondly as the fortified wines unit that introduced me to some brilliant Palo Cortado sherries and Madeira styles, and confirmed Rutherglen's high standing in a global sense.

The next exam is the table wines of the world.  It involves reviewing twelve wines blind as well as a three hour paper on almost any aspect of table wines in the world.   So, it is basically going to be quite difficult.  Strangely enough, though, I think this is probably my idea of fun.  Reflecting on this, poring over wine region minutae I suspect forms a cord of sorts connecting my professional life and studies with my interest in wine.  Consequently, expect over the next few months a greater number of old world and obscure (at least from an Australian point of view) wine reviews.  As ever, interspersed will be notes on wines that I have liked or have been kindly sent.
Wine Thoughts
March 11, 2013

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