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Tuesday night marked the final exam of a class that helped me achieve more wine knowledge than I would have previously conceived, and more confidence in my tasting than I thought was possible. Coming away from this course I was also able to knock down an extra hundred plus wines from my mission to 500 without spending a dime more than the class cost—definitely easier to swallow wine on another’s budget. I feel pretty fortunate to be following this dream of entering the wine world with gusto and definitely have an exciting week planned for food and wine to come.

Back to the exam, I was reeling from the two exciting, nerve-racking at times, victories for the Ducks that were of the utmost importance as far as having any chance of making the playoffs in the logjammed Western conference of the NHL, and was not looking forward to cracking the books for a final exam.

I hunkered down, though, and remembered this was something I wanted to do and that studying should be fun when it is a topic that you are enthralled with, making the studying session a little easier… but with a blind tasting portion too I was not sure how I would fare.

When it came time to begin the exam I was apprehensive… what class material would be on the exam? I was in for a treat, breezing through the final with aplomb, feeling incredibly fortunate that everything I had studied was actually on the exam, unlike those rare instances where it seems that all the things you have researched are excised from the exam, leaving only the esoteric. That is a rough feeling on any test but it was not the case on Tuesday

Like I said, it was a pleasing experience to feel that confident coming out of a cumulative exam. The blind tasting portion however was the real challenge. It was exciting because book knowledge can certainly be helpful but tasting goes a very long way in the wine world and to run the diagnostics on my tasting notes would be advantageous to my career as well as being plainly beneficial at this moment.

I nailed that too… I guessed the wine was Pinot Noir from Burgundy after going through the technical sheet on the wine’s traits. Turns out it was a Volany Premier Cru—or a really outta sight Pinot Noir from Burgundy, specifically, a village located between Pommard to the North and Mersault to the south. I was humbled on the extra credit tasting though guessing for fun what the wine was and from where. I was mixed up on the white wine, a Chardonnay that happened to be from Burgundy too, guessing it was Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre (my face was red).

After the exam, scores were revealed, three more wines were tasted, five in all:

88 Coteaux d’ Aix-En-Provence Les Baux Terres Blanche

88 Domaine Piquemal L’ Âge de Raison Rivesaltes Ambré

09 Moulin de Gassac Guilhem

07 Volnay 1er Cru Les Champans Domaine de Montille

07 Auxey-Duresses Deux Montille Sœr Frère

The wines were interesting and varied, the red table wine from Provence was showing signs of age at first—riddled with stink like a trip to the petting zoo but opened up to expose some fruit.

The dessert wine from Provence was definitely the most interesting; a fortified wine made in the South of France akin to Madeira or Port but with the age on it, it was not tired a bit and displayed a TNT-like explosion in the mouth with caramel, coffee and almonds. It was delicious.

Ending the night was bittersweet; I did receive an A on the exam, and was able to erase another five wines from the countdown (337 remaining) but learned that it would be my professor’s last course taught in the program. It was a privilege to taste through a fantastic set of wines with him during the quarter, and I wish him continued success with his new wine business that is booming. As for me… I’ve got an exciting week ahead, stay tuned!

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