I think many of you had an experience at Christmas. But how do you really do that? Here is a guide for you who have never been on a wine course before.
When two waiters opened the double doors into the banquet hall, I most wanted to turn around. It felt as solemn as the Nobel dinner. My very first wine course was a gift from my girlfriend. Now the evening had come. And I was immediately scared to say or do anything wrong.
Do you know the feeling? I guess many of you had an experience as a Christmas present this year. Interest in food and wine has exploded in Norway. Tastings and lectures are held on each headland, it feels like. But how does it really work? This is what I wish I had the first night – a guide to what happens on a wine course.
The most important thing is that you enjoy, taste and learn. You do not have to impress the teacher, as I felt the first night. You do not even have to agree with what is being said. The most important thing about a wine course is that you find out more about which flavors appeal to you, and how to describe these.
2. Why is it so important to say what the wine smells like?
Because most people experience that the words do not suffice when describing a taste experience. Most of what you taste is actually scent. Everyone who has ever had a cold knows this. Without the nose, it becomes clear that the mouth is a rather gross motor taste.
By practicing putting aroma into words, we can say something about how the wine is made, where it comes from and how old it is. But most importantly, you get words to describe the taste experiences you like. This will come in handy the next time you shop at Vinmonopolet.
3. Mass training makes everything easier
Most people I know taste one wine at a time. At a wine course, you will be served small tasting glasses of several wines in a row. You will notice how much easier it is to understand then. The smell of oak, for example, can be difficult to explain.
With two wines next to each other, where one is stored in a steel tank and the other in a barrel, it suddenly becomes easier. Autolysis, this scent of yeast bread you can find in sparkling wine … I have used column meters to explain it, sometimes without success. By comparing a champagne with a prosecco, you quickly understand my point. But how many do it in private homes?
4. Take notes
With new insights, you will feel excitement and mastery. Just then, you think that your newly acquired knowledge will be glued. All experience indicates that it is wishful thinking. Write down a few sentences during the wine course, it will increase the learning considerably.
5. Dive into a region or grape
This week I have chosen Piedmont. Many beginners find specific topics advanced. But believe me – delimitation is easiest.
Then all that remains is to take in a world of fragrance and taste. Enjoy!
- See Ingvild Tennfjord’s wine recommendations further down in the case.
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