Category: Wine

wine reviews, wine events, and all things wine related

WSET Diploma Tasting—Common Grape Variety

I’ve gotten some feedback that many folks studying for the D3 WSET Diploma Exam are interested in calibrating their palates and practicing their tasting and note-taking techniques. Those of you who are preparing (or have taken) the WSET exams know that there are very strict criteria about how how to evaluate the wines (following the SAT guidelines) but also about how to correctly draw conclusions about the wines you’re tasting and how to communicate those conclusions.

I’ve been taking some tasting classes geared toward WSET Diploma with a Master in Wine in preparation for my exam. Over the holiday, I thought it would be fun to have my partner help me with a blind tasting mock exam.

Following the WSET taste testing format:

Wines 1–3 relate to Unit D3 of the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines
All are made from the same or predominantly the same grape variety. Describe them under the headings below.

Follow along on my tasting notes and see if you can figure out what the common grape variety is. Note: This exam also, for two points, asks examiners to determine the country of origin for the wine (but not qualify that determination). I’ve included my deduction in each tasting note below. However, I’ll leave the wine reveals to the very end of the post. Good luck and have fun!




This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: December 6—December 11

Hello my friends. As I write this, Sonoma has announced we are going into another lockdown—something, in my opinion, we should have taken on board sooner. But despite personal opinion, whether you agree or disagree, I urge you all to be safe and follow the local ordinances of your state and county.

With that out of the way, I’ve got my weekly list of wine-centric news and blogs. So please, scroll away, catch up, have fun, leave a comment if you feel so inclined.

For those of you following along on my WSET Diploma journey, apologies for the lack of posts. I’m hoping to get them going again soon but I’ve been spending a lot of time balancing work and study. Connect with me if you’re in the middle of your Diploma as well—would love to learn how others are tackling this D3 process and what kinds of tips/tricks/info you’d like to see covered here. Always happy to engage.

Signing off—have a fun, safe, and healthy weekend.


This Week’s Latest Wine Headlines: November 27—December 4

Happy weekend. I hope everyone had a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving weekend last weekend and is off to a great start to the Christmas/Hanukkah season. For my part, I’m keeping busy with work and studies.

The biggest news this week came on Thursday when Governor Newsom announced another wave of stay-at-home orders for several California counties which will undoubtedly affect several small businesses, including wineries and tasting rooms. I’ve included a few pieces to give you an idea of what’s going on.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Scroll through and find some fun—What’s it like to be quarantined with Francis Ford Coppola? Discover the myth of witch’s wine. And of course go down to the blogs for some independent insight.



Hey Briscoe, What Else You Drinking?

It’s time for another fun episode of Hey Briscoe, What Else you Drinking? Yes, believe it or not I do find time to taste wines not associated with my exam preparations. I do several virtual wine tastings, belong to my own set of wine clubs and *gasp* purchase wine for the pure random pleasure of it. Here’s a list of a few recommendations from recent sips…

No tasting grid necessary, these are off the cuff tasting notes, so please don’t mind the slam poetry and leave wine-snobbery at the door. You’ve been warned.