Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have an excessive access to California North Coast wine. And, while I’m not exactly complaining, I am admitting that this has, in some ways, stunted my international wine perspective. So studying for the WSET, in which you’re expected to know a lot of detail about different winemaking regions throughout the world can be a bit daunting. And there are two country’s that intimidate me the most. France: its history, its reputation, it’s frickin’ variety of different wine laws. Australia: It’s huge. So when I received the following practice question I had a bit of a heart attack. But then I realized that there’s an opportunity here, an opportunity to tackle two fears at once.
During service a customer asks you to recommend an Australian alternative for his two favorite French wines. Recommend alternative wines that have a similar style, quality, and price. You must account for the factors in the vineyard and winery which make your choices appropriate. Also explain any important differences in the wine.
During my WSET tutoring, I received a practice question that showed us these two labels and asked the following question:
These two premium quality wines have very different characteristics. Under the headings below explaining how what happens as the grapes develop, up to the point when they are crushed, has a direct impact on the style and quality of these two wines.
Here’s a fun exercise to helping to learn the different German regions: think about them in reference to the country’s most popular grape variety—Riesling. Going from North to South, let’s talk about Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, and Baden.
I recently took a WSET tutoring session in which I was given quite a few test questions in order to prepare me for the written portion of the exam. Rumor has it, this is where most students have difficulty for a number of reasons, including not using their own deductive reasoning. Just like those nasty word problems you’d get in math class as a kid, sometimes it’s about taking what you do know to help you figure out what you (think) you don’t know.
The above image is from a Simpson’s episode entitled “Visualize the Problem.” I thought this appropriate because I’m about to share a little “proud of me” moment when I did just that. The question was about the Mosel region of Germany:
Due to the challenging climate in the Mosel, all the very best vineyards share similar characteristics. Explain what the climatic challenges in the Mosel are and identify and explain how three of those characteristics help to overcome these challenges.