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Level Two Sommelier Course- #274

Level Two Sommelier Course- #274

Vino - Rater Blog #274

Level Two Sommelier Course  Blog 274

In 273, I delved into exploring the wine industry. Now, let’s embark on a trek through the Level two sommelier course.

Well, I’ve leveled up and tackled the Level two sommelier course. Spoiler alert: I passed on January 26th, 2024. But hey, let’s rewind and take a look at what went down.

Level Two Exam

The exam is split into three juicy sections:

Tasting Portion: This is where the real action happens. Armed with the required wines, you dive into tasting under the watchful eye of Instructor Keith Wallace. No faking it here; you’ve gotta show off your tasting skills with authenticity. There were 6 different wines and questions after the tasting to describe what you just experienced. It was a little different than what I expected so it was not an easy task.

Aroma Identification: Get ready to put your nose to work! Armed with your trusty “Exam Material,” you sniff out specific aromas and link them to winemaking processes or grape varieties. One example was aa Packet that smelled like Lavender and My task was to match it with a certain type of wine they called out in the question.

Theory Portion: This section tests your wine knowledge with around 40 questions of multiple-choice, sorting, and fill-in-the-blank formats. And hey, watch your spelling on those blanks—accuracy is key! In Level one I studied the quiz questions and there were only a few from the lectures. This test was about 50/50 so it was a good thing I took good notes during the course.

Fun Stuff I Learned

Throughout the course, you’ll pick up some handy techniques like the 5 S’s:

  1. See: Check out that wine’s color and clarity.
  2. Swirl: Give that glass a gentle whirl to awaken the aromas.
  3. Sniff: Take a big whiff and dive into a world of tantalizing scents.
  4. Sip: Taste the flavors and let them dance on your palate.
  5. Savor: Fully immerse yourself in the taste and finish.

Food Pairings

I loved this part of the course. It took a deep dive into pairing wines with different types of food. I was always under the impression that white wines were better with fish but was pleasantly surprised to learn that a light red wine like Pinot Noir is fabulous with certain types of fish, especially those with richer flavors like salmon or tuna. I love to smoke salmon on my green egg so this was a nice surprise since I’m partial to red wines. 

Aromas

Now, let’s talk aromas! Did you know there are over 200 different aromas in wine? From almonds to wax, it’s like a sensory playground. Here is what 200+ aromas could look like:

MAIN AROMA & FLAVOR DESCRIPTORS

Fruit:   Citrus – Orchard Fruit – Stone Fruit – Tropical Fruit                    Strawberry – Raspberry – Cranberry – Red Cherry – Black Cherry – Blackberry – Blueberry – Plum

Earth:   Soil – Forest Floor – Mushroom – Vegetal – Grass – Barnyard – Clay – Smoke – Graphite

Mineral:  Ozone – Wet Rock – Chalk – Dust – Gravel – Slate – Flint – Oyster Shell – Petrichor

Wood:   Cedar – Fresh Pine – Clove – Nutmeg – Cinnamon – Vanilla – Mocha – Caramel – Coconut

ADDITIONAL

Fruit: Banana – Gooseberry – Lychee – Quince – Melon – Papaya – Satsuma – Passionfruit – Star Fruit – Mango – Pomegranate – Red Currant – Black Currant – Raisin – Rhubarb – Mulberry – Date – Prune – Fig – Candied Fruit – Marmalade – Fruitcake – Stewed Plums – Crème de Cassis – Boysenberry

Earth: Game – Leather – Potting Soil – Compost – Petrol – Tar – Ash – Iron – Rubber – Hay – Flint – Pencil Shavings – Bark – Mulch

Floral: Rose – Jasmine – White Flower – Orange Blossom – Geranium – Violet – Honeysuckle – Hyacinth – Lavender  – Elderflower – Iris – Peony

Spice: Black Pepper – White Pepper – Ginger – Tobacco – Garrigue – Dill – Fennel – Sandalwood – Anise – Mint – Cardamom – Tarragon – Allspice – Pink Peppercorn – Fenugreek – Juniper Berries – Cigar Box – Incense

Nutty: Almond – Walnut – Marzipan – Hazelnut – Peanuts – Yeast/Lees

Meaty: Bacon – Beef Jerky – Grilled Meat – Tallow – Barbeque – Virginia Ham

Wood: Mocha – Espresso – Cocoa – Butterscotch – Toffee – Maple Syrup

Herbal: Eucalyptus – Lemongrass – Verbena – Green Pepper – Tomato Stalk – Asparagus – Celery Seed

Organic: Butter – Honey – Brine/Salt – Green Pepper – Canned Peas – Licorice – Toast – Soy Sauce – Yogurt – Sauerkraut – Olive – Lemon Curd – Cheese – Beets –Fruitcake – Tea Fruit Loops/Linalool – Balsamic – Chamomile – Seaweed

Other: Medicinal – Cola – Horse Blanket – Band-Aid – Wet Fur/Wool – Sweat – Cabbage – Burnt Match – Lanolin – Mold – Cardboard – Bubblegum – Wax

COMMON AROMAS BY STYLE (EXCLUDING OAK)

White Wines – Crisp and Fruity • White Flowers • Citris, Apple, Pear, Peach • Minerality • Herbs

White Wines – Big and Round • Floral • Quince, Banana, Peach, Pear, Apple, Tropical • Butter • Nuts • Spices

Red Wines – Light and Fruity • Strawberry, Cherry, Raspberry, Cranberry, Pomegranate • Floral • Fresh Herbs

Red Wines – Full and Earthy • Cherry, Currant, Blackberry, Blueberry, Plum • Forest Floor, Mushroom, Vegetal, Smoke, Meat, Leather, Tobacco • Spices • Nutty

Sparkling Wines • Citrus, Apple, Pear, Quince, Peach • Nutty, Mushroom, Toast • Minerality • Floral

Rosé Wines • Floral • Red Fruit • Minerality • Herbs • Spices

Whew, that’s quite the list and the crazy thing is there are many more aromas that could be in your glass depending on the varietal. When it comes to common aromas found in your favorite varietals, it’s like unlocking a treasure trove of sensory delights, here are just a few that you may experience:

COMMON AROMAS BY VARIETAL

Pinot Noir: Think cherry, earth, and a hint of mushroom.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Blackberry, Black Currants,cedar, and a touch of vanilla!

Chardonnay: Dive into a pool of apple, butter, and a sprinkle of lemon zest.

Merlot: Picture plum, chocolate, and a dash of herbs for that perfect balance.

Sauvignon Blanc: Get ready for a burst of citrus, grass, and a touch of tropical goodness.

Level Three Next

So, there you have it—a peek into the world of wine education. For Level Three I need to purchase another 20+ wines for the course. This course focuses on wines from many different regions, Deductive Tasting and a deeper dive into the aromas mentioned above.

 Cheers to new beginnings and endless adventures in the world of wine!

…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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