Some time ago I subscribed to Wine Spectator Magazine to help track interesting wine and stay current with new trends. One day while browsing their website I discovered their Wine Spectator School. They offer a multitude of self-paced online wine classes that can really broaden your wine knowledge and help to make sense of the dizzying array of wines for sale at your local shop or grocery.
Ok, I know anything self-paced and online is sure to be as exciting as watching paint dry, but after doing a couple courses with just Jane and I, we discovered a great formula. Buy the two or three bottles needed for each class of the course, invite several couples over on a Saturday afternoon and enjoy a plethora of really good wine and cheese while learning what makes our favorite bottle so damn good.
After finishing each course we follow it up with dinner and invariably conversation about the good, the bad and the funny of our own little private wine tasting. Each time we do it someone makes a major wine discovery!
If you are at all interested in wine and wine tasting, the courses can be really interesting and informative without coming off as preachy or trying to sell you anything. The introductory ABC’s of wine concentrate on wine basics. The abbreviated version of how its made, what we taste and why different people taste different things in the same bottle of wine. There is even an quick comparison tasting with three whites- Reisling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay not to mention a red comparison with Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon for the red drinkers.
Once you graduate from the ABC’s you can move into Understanding Wine which consists of ten more in-depth classes that thoroughly compare two different varietals and gives you cues to why they may be similar or different.