This week I received the information I have been waiting for since 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 27. After months of studying and the grueling task of tasting delicious wine, I found out that I passed the International Sommelier Guild’s Wine Fundamentals Level 2 course. You remember the class I’ve been telling you about. Well, the test was broken up into three parts: 100 multiple choice questions, six essay questions, and four blind tastings. I knew I would do well on the multiple choice, but thought I’d squeak by on the essay. I got 90 percent on both. But it was the blind tasting that I’m most proud of–100 percent. That’s right, baby. Before my head gets too big, I should admit that the wines were a Fino sherry, which is unmistakable, a California oaky Chardonnay, again, can’t miss it, a Pedro Ximenez sherry, and an Asti Spumante sparkling. Each one of those wines display classic characteristics, which made the blind tasting approachable. Want to know what else was on the test? Follow the jump.
The most intimidating part of the test for me was the essay questions. As we all know with multiple choice you can reason your way into the answer if you don’t know it. With essay questions, if you don’t know the answer, 1000 words on everything but the answer will not get you a passing grade. When the instructor, Darryl Beeson, passed out the essay questions, I just took a deep breath and dove in without looking beyond question one.
The ISG doesn’t allow you to take your tests with you, but I can tell you the questions were hard. A few examples (loosely worded): How has technology changed the process of making Champagne and sparkling wine? Describe the difference between wine produced on the left and right banks of Bordeaux, France. Describe in detail the process of making sherry in Jerez, Spain. Compare and contrast Pouilly Fuse and Pouilly Fume. You get the point.
The multiple choice asked questions from all of the major wine regions including Washington State, New Zealand, Bordeaux, Australia, just to name a few. I can already say that this class has helped me in my work. At a recent Amarone tasting, I heard Beeson’s memory trick in my head for remembering the three Amarone grapes. “I took Rondinella to the prom in my Corvina where we ate spaghetti Molinara.” Laugh if you want. It works.