WSET Level 3 Lecture #2: Natural Factors & Human Influence in the Vineyard (Wine Tasting)

This post summarises the tasting session on 11-Jan-2017, the second of the 15 lectures from WSET Level 3 course which runs from 4-Jan-17 to 19-Apr-17 at WSET London. The theory part is covered separately in the previous post. The exact details of wine samples and the price information is included below. So, if you wish, you can do your own tasting by yourself!

  • Tasting Location: WSET London, Vintners Hall 1
  • Date & Time: 11th January 2017, 6:30 pm
1. Wine #1
1. Wine Information
1.1. Wine Name Chateau Talbot Saint Julien Grand Cru Classe 1855
1.2. Country France 
1.3. Region Bordeaux
1.4. Sub-region Saint Julien
1.5. Vintage 2006
1.6. Quality Status AC 
1.7. Producer Chateau Talbot
1.8. ABV 13 
1.9. Retail Price (£) £43 
2. Appearance
2.1. Clarity clear
2.2. Intensity deep 
2.3. Colour garnet 
2.4. Other tears 
3. Nose
3.1. Condition clean
3.2. Intensity pronounced 
3.3. Aroma Characteristics
  • Primary: blackberry, pepper 
  • Secondary: smoke
  • Tertiary: earth, leather, savoury
3.4. Development developing 
4. Palate
4.1. Sweetness dry
4.2. Acidity high 
4.3. Tannin high (came across as medium to me) 
4.4. Alcohol medium 
4.5. Body full
4.6. Mousse n/a 
4.7. Flavour Intensity pronounced 
4.8. Flavour Characteristics
  • Primary: blackberry, pepper 
  • Secondary: smoke
  • Tertiary: earth, leather, savoury
4.9. Finish long
5. Conclusion
5.1. Quality Level
  • Balance: y
  • Length: y
  • Intensity: y
  • Complexity: y
  • Conclusion: Outstanding
5.2. Readiness for Drinking/ Potential for Ageing drink now, but has potential for ageing (fruit flavour is still there)
5.3. Thoughts
  • Two wines were given to guess the grape variety
  • I initially thought it was Syrah. It tasted similar to the Australian Shiraz I tried last weekend, with the fruit and pepper flavours.
  • But I was wrong, of course! (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, rest is Merlot, a typical Bordeaux blend) 
2. Wine #2
1. Wine Information
1.1. Wine Name Rutherford Hill Cabernet Sauvignon
1.2. Country USA 
1.3. Region California
1.4. Sub-region Napa Valley 
1.5. Vintage 2012
1.6. Quality Status wine with geographical description  
1.7. Producer Rutherford Hill Winery  
1.8. ABV 14
1.9. Retail Price (£) £34.99 
2. Appearance
2.1. Clarity clear
2.2. Intensity deep
2.3. Colour ruby
2.4. Other tears 
3. Nose
3.1. Condition clean
3.2. Intensity pronounced  
3.3. Aroma Characteristics
  • Primary: black cherry (I thought more of a red cherry, strawberry flavour, but wrong!), ripe fruit, jammy
  • Secondary: vanilla, coconut
  • Tertiary: n/a
3.4. Development developing   
4. Palate
4.1. Sweetness dry 
4.2. Acidity high (I thought medium)
4.3. Tannin high (I thought medium)
4.4. Alcohol medium
4.5. Body full 
4.6. Mousse n/a  
4.7. Flavour Intensity pronounced  
4.8. Flavour Characteristics
  • Primary: black cherry (I thought more of a red cherry, strawberry flavour, but wrong!), ripe fruit, jammy
  • Secondary: vanilla, coconut
  • Tertiary: n/a
4.9. Finish long
5. Conclusion
5.1. Quality Level
  • Balance: y
  • Length: y
  • Intensity: y
  • Complexity: y
  • Conclusion: Outstanding
5.2. Readiness for Drinking/ Potential for Ageing can drink now, but has potential for ageing  
5.3. Thoughts
  • I initially guessed as Merlot, but 90% Cabernet Sauvignon! (I felt hopeless…)
  • 6 year difference between the first sample – thus, no sign of tertiary notes 
  • Let’s not make a haste conclusion and then try to fit my tasting observations to that conclusion! – take time and observe! Trust my senses and taste buds. (Of course, I have no confidence in them, but I have no choice…)

3. My Thoughts

Clueless… That sums all in a word how I felt during this tasting. Looking back, maybe I was fixated too much on getting the grape variety correctly. As a result, I did not appreciate and enjoy the wine as much as I could have. That is a shame. (Especially, as these wines are way above my normal wine purchase price range!) Maybe, all the tastings during WSET Level 3 is done in a blind tasting format. So, I should just get used to it and focus more on my senses.

From now on, I will try to take more time to feel the wine with my nose and tongue, and worry less about getting the answers right. Let’s enjoy! Back to the basics again. I am here to enjoy the wine, not to be stressed out!

2 Comments

  1. Jooh
    10 Feb 2017

    Amuse-toi bien, mon Chéri!

    Reply
    1. sooh
      12 Feb 2017

      Bien sur, mon Chéri!

      Reply

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