On Wednesday I proposed that the tasting portion of the WSET D3 exam is still a theory exam. I threw a couple of made-up theory questions based on your dry tasting notes (my experiential tasting notes) to put that into practice. (Read WSET Diploma Tasting—Burgundy’s Chardonnay Spectrum for the original inquiry and my full tasting notes.)
I got some great feedback on how to tackle those questions. Based on my notes and yours, I’ve put together some bullet points on what to cover in the theory portion. If you have additional thoughts or notes you want to add to this post—you know how to reach me. Cheers
Nervous about your WSET Diploma D3 tasting exam? Yeah, me too. Kind of. The best advice I can give is to remember that the tasting portion of the exam is exactly like the theory part of the exam—but instead of written prompts, they’re presenting you with wines.
If you’ve made it to the Diploma level of the WSET, that means you have a pretty strong palate and have practiced writing tasting notes utilizing the SAT grid already. So trust yourself, trust your notes, and use what you see, smell, taste, and have written down to answer the proposed question(s).
Easier said than done. But let’s put this into practice using one of the very first regions you study in D3—Burgundy. You don’t have to taste along—instead, I encourage you to write a few dry tasting notes (following the grid and SAT format) for the wines listed. Then, take a look at the theory questions I’ve created and see if you can answer those based on both your knowledge of the region(s) and using your tasting notes as evidence to back up your answer.
At the very end, I’ve listed my tasting notes and conclusions about the wines (which I did, indeed, taste). And if you feel so inclined, post a few bullet points about how you’d answer these theory questions. The more we interact the more we remember.
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!
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.
In this video interview, I talk with Ehler’s Estate winemaker Laura Diaz. We discuss her career, her viticultural and winemaking practices, and taste through some of Ehler’s newest releases. Laura provides insight into what makes this piece of Napa Valley so special in terms of terroir, history, and the loving family behind the wine brand.
If you have follow up questions for Laura, please leave them in the comments below and we’ll get answers for you in a follow up article.
For more information about Ehlers Estate, their wines, and to purchase wine directly or make an appointment for an in-person or virtual tasting, please visit the Ehlers Estate website.
BriscoeBites officially accepts samples as well as conducts on-site and online interviews. Want to have your wine, winery or tasting room featured? Please visit the Sample Policy page where you can contact me directly. Cheers!
Educational posts are in no way intended as official WSET study materials. I am not an official WSET educator nor do I work for a WSET Approved Program Provider. Study at your own risk. Read the full disclaimer.
**Please note: all reviews and opinions are my own and are not associated with any of my places of business. I will always state when a wine has been sent as a sample for review. Sending samples for review on my personal website in no way guarantees coverage in any other media outlet I may be currently associated with.**