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Well, let me rephrase that. We have learned a little something; we just haven't learned a lot. My father was fairly knowledgeable, and I counted on him to answer my questions and to make recommendations.
Thus when I saw that The Great Courses was having a huge sale, I jumped at the chance to get their "Everyday Guide to Wine" class for a rock-bottom price.
If you haven't heard of The Great Courses, you should take a moment to explore their site. I've listened to and watched a handful of their classes over the years, and I've never been disappointed. There are sixteen programs related to food, drink, and nutrition and there are hundreds of others covering history, culture, art, music, literature . . . you name it. I recommend them.
Now, back to "The Everyday Guide to Wine." The host of this 24-lecture course is Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, who is one of the few Masters of Wine in the world (there are only 26 in the United States). Not only does she know her stuff but she is well spoken and not even a little bit snobby. She is equally at home talking about the necessary vocabulary and the particulars of winemaking as she is describing the distinct characteristics of specific wines.
I've already watched the first two videos (the introduction to the course and an introduction to wine tasting). This weekend's video is titled "Winemaking from Vineyard to Harvest." According to the course guide (a downloadable booklet), I'll be learning about the various factors that affect the vines (climate, altitude, latitude, diseases) and other aspects of growing wine grapes.
As part of the third lesson, I'll be tasting and comparing two wines made with the same grapes but grown in different environments. The first is a Chablis Appellation Controlee and the second is a South Australian Chardonnay. Oh darn, I have to open wine to get the most out of this class! Next time it'll be both whites and reds.
Sound fun? It does to me. I've been taking notes and enjoying putting what I've learned to use. Although I'll buy many of the suggested wines to taste, I'm not sure I'll get them all (for example the fortified wines). I'll let you know in a few months if I've stuck with the class.