Our second class at the WSET was a rapid-moving overview of wine making the world over in 90 minutes. It made a clear distinction between two different aspects of this subject - "viticulture" and "vinification".
"Viticulture" refers to the various stages of the growing of grapes (vineyard, the vine, planting, cultivation) whereas "vinification" relates to the processing of turning grapes into finished wines (white, rose and red wine making, maturation, finishing and bottling).
|(Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia)|
|The phylloxera, a true gourmet, finds out the best vineyards and attaches itself to the best wines |
(Cartoon from Punch, 6 Sep. 1890 via Wikipedia)
It was interesting to learn about some of those terms that I had heard many times over the years but never really fully understood. For example "malolactic fermentation" (process which turns harsh malic acid into gentler lactic acid giving a more rounded, 'buttery' flavour) or the use of "noble rot or botrytis" (a natural mould which dries up the grapes to produce some of the most luscious and valuable sweet wines like Sauternes). Another useful snippet of learning is that French oak maturation gives rise to toast, hazelnut and vanilla flavours in wine, whereas American oak gives more coconut tones.
|(Botrytis Riesling via Wikipedia)|
Below are the wines that we tasted on this evening:
Enate 234 Chardonnay 2009, Somontano, Spain, Vinedos Y Crianzas Del Aragon SA @ £10.99 from Hallgarten Wines
Enate Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007, Somontano, Spain. Vinedos Y Crianzas Del Aragon SA @ £16.99 from Hallgarten Wines
Crozes-Hermitage 2008, Les Launes, Rhone Valley, Delas Frere @ £13.99 from Berkmann Wine Cellars
Shiraz 2006, Chateau Reynella Basket Pressed Shiraz, McLaren Vale, Australia @ £14.99 from Constellation Wine
Next week is Week 3: "Introduction to EU labelling"