If you enjoy California Zinfandels but are looking for something perhaps a bit less jammy, cast your attention over to southern Italy. This grape goes by Primitivo here, and offers up all the wonderful flavors of the variety while being quite approachable!
Chateau Maris La Touge is a lovely Syrah and Grenache blend from Minervois in the south of France. As we are coming to find out, we're quite enjoying wines from this part of the country!
We've had a love affair with Pulenta Estates ever since visiting the winery for Angie's birthday in 2014.
In fact, their entry-level Malbec (La Flor), is what we consider to be our house wine. It is an easy drinker that we love (in part thanks to the memories) and is the kind of bottle we pull out when we have guests over and we don't know their tastes at all.
But this winery has far more than its entry level Malbec that we enjoy. In fact, their higher-end, Malbec I, is even more delicious but comes at an increased price to match. In this one, we wanted to share our tasting notes for the Malbec I.
Out of the three sections of the WSET Level 3 exam, it is the essay portion that terrified me the most.
Why? Well, a few reasons.
First, WSET multiple-choice exams only have four possible answers, and you can likely deduce the right answer in many cases. Even without that, I'll take a 25% chance of being right over 0% any day.
Second, the WSET Level 3 tasting exam follows the Systematic Approach to Tasting lexicon. Again, simply using the right words and being in the ballpark will get you pretty far in this one (we discuss more about why in the previous article).
But for the essay, you're on your own. And with just “four” questions at 25 points each, well, things can go south in a hurry. Don't worry, though, as we've got some tips to help you prepare!
Strekov's Fred wine blends from Slovakia consist of Alibernet and Dunaj grapes. But what is interesting in this one is that the series consists of several bottles in numeric sequence (e.g. Fred #2, Fred #3, etc.) where, as far as we can tell at least, the only discernable difference is the blend percentage of the two grapes (what they are, well, we can't tell).
From there, the wines are produced with minimal intervention at all and the result is an incredibly juicy, fruit-forward wine.
WSET Level 3 is an intense 10-week wine course that dives into many elements of wines of the world.
As we've talked about WSET courses many times on this site, in this one we wanted to turn our attention to the exams specifically. Unlike the exams for WSET Level 1 and WSET Level 2, which have multiple-choice sections only, WSET Level 3 consists of a tasting exam and essay portion as well.
So here, we wanted to dive a bit more into the WSET Level 3 tasting exam- what you can expect, and tips and tricks on how to prepare.
Hint: it involves drinking wine!
The Gerogian grape Saperavi is quickly becoming a favorite of producers in the Finger Lakes. One of the first plantings of this grape came at Standing Stone vineyard and they have been excelling at this particular varietal for a while now.
One variant the winery offers is a rose made from this grape, and with a crisp acidity and strong red fruit flavors, we have to say it was a pretty delicious rose!
As chemical engineers, one of the things we love about wine is the science of it all. The steps that go into transforming a simple grape into the alcoholic beverage we know and love are incredibly interesting to us, and learning about it is often one of our favorite parts of WSET wine classes.
But as our consumption of wine has increased, so has our consumption of wine-related media- print, online, and targeted ads that we otherwise did not want to see. What we've noticed is that there is a subset within the industry that pushes a narrative that conventionally processed wines have certain ingredients, additives specifically, that are bad for you and that natural, additive-free wines are inherently better.
While we personally have nothing against natural and additive-free wines (and regularly drink them- they can be quite good), there is one thing you should know- any business that discusses additives negatively is likely trying to take advantage of you to get you to buy their product.
The simple truth is that virtually everything you own or consume has additives in it up to and including the drinking water that comes out of your tap (the very same water used often in natural wines).
We see the chemical paranoia online almost every day and shake our heads at how unwarranted it is in most cases. Yes, there are some cases worth discussing in greater detail (of which we will do below), but most of the time it is complete garbage and deserves to be called out.
Anyone up to talk science? We are!
When it comes to taking WSET wine courses, the fun part is learning about wine (plus tastings, naturally). But as with any good course, there is one aspect of it that most students dread- the final exam.
I know we were afraid of our WSET Level 2 exam after hearing some stories about questions on it, and I was equally afraid of my Level 3 exam for similar reasons.
But in a way, whether you are taking Level 1, 2, or 3 is a bit immaterial as the multiple-choice exam for each level follows a similar setup and logic system (although note that Level 3 has other exam components that we will discuss in separate articles). As far as the exam is concerned, the main difference between levels is simply the sheer number of topics that you may be asked about- Level 3 is more robust than Level 2 which is more involved than Level 1.
Overall, the same basic structure applies. So in this one, we wanted to share a bit more of the logic that goes into the multiple-choice WSET exams, and the best way to approach them independent of the level you are studying for.
Before jumping into things, we have a few upfront notes you need to keep in mind. First, we are not affiliated with WSET other than being students. Likewise, we skipped WSET Level 1 and do not have experience with the exact exam. Finally, we both took our Level 2 in 2020 and I took Level 3 in 2021. Testing structures and content can and does change regularly. As such, any individual concept below should be discussed with your instructor.
Tintilla de Rota is found in the Jerez region of Spain, and El Triangulo's bottle checks a lot of boxes for us- a nice medium intensity, well-balanced flavor profile, and more.
An easy drinker all around!