My French dream edged forward this week as I passed my mock wine-tasting exam with merit. Let’s hope I can repeat the feat on Wednesday when I take the real thing.
Gaining a qualification in wine is all part of our plan to move to south-west France and open a cheese and wine bar-cum-shop. I need to know more about wines to be in a position to give advice.
So I am taking what is effectively just short of an A Level in six weeks.
I was worried I had bitten off more than I could chew, if you will excuse the mixed metaphor. However, the mock exam got off to a good start with the two wines we had to sample in a blind tasting. I scored 21 marks out of a possible 25 for each, a 2014 Vouvray and a 2015 Barbera d’Alba.
Then we moved into the 50 multiple-choice questions. The first was about Sancerre – a favourite of mine from the Loire.
Finally came the written-answer section. I stumbled on the sherry question but fared well on Germany’s Mosel wines and on Californian Zinfandels. (The latter barely classes as a wine in my book, but that’s another story.)
“Gaining a qualification in wine is part of our plan to move to south-west France and open a cheese and wine bar-cum-shop”
The final question was about offering New World alternatives for classic French wines. This is one of the reasons I took the course in the first place, though in reverse. I want to be able to offer French wines to a customer who knows he likes, say, a South African Chenin Blanc.
We had to come up with Australian alternatives to a white Burgundy and a red Bordeaux. For the Meursault premier cru stipulated in the question, I offered a gently oaked Chardonnay from Yarra Valley in Victoria. For the Margaux, I chose a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend from Margaret River in Western Australia.
The actual exam is on Wednesday. I have deliberately kept this weekend free and I have booked Tuesday off work too, so that I can revise. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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