school desksTerm has started for the children, and now it's the adults’ turn. Evening classes begin in September and it’s not all about beginner’s French. Wine tasting is still being offered by many local education authorities and if you’re lucky the course will be taught by a wine tutor who is knowledgeable and understands you’ll be nervous when you first arrive.

swirling wineDuring each two-hour class expect to sniff and taste up to six wines. Your tutor will encourage everyone to describe the wines for themselves, with perhaps a little prompting.

When the course tutor asks the inevitable “so what do think this wine smells of?”, what’s the ‘correct’ thing to say? Expressing your thoughts to a group of strangers is nerve wracking, but you’ve got to say something it’s expected. Just say what the wine aromas smell like, you won’t be wrong.

Most of the rest of the class will nod in agreement and then go on to express their own different, and often contradictory, sentiments. By the end of the course you’ll find there are as many opinions of what a wine ‘should’ smell like as there are class members.

Next you’ll be asked to take a large sip of wine and swoosh it around your mouth a bit. This is a good way of allowing taste buds to register a wine’s many flavours. But what does the wine taste off?

Hopefully something fruity (don’t be afraid to say grape). Often red wines taste like darker coloured fruits (blackberries, blackcurrants, plums, cherries) and white wines of lighter coloured fruits (lemons, bananas, melons and apples).

The great benefit of attending wine courses is that each class gives you the chance to try many different wines without having to buy them yourself, and they’re often wines you wouldn’t have been brave enough to try at home.

Don David Malbec MalbecPG Wine Reviews

Adeletto Italian Prosecco
£6.99 Co-op (down from £8.99 until tomorrow)
Coconut and pear with a sharp tingle.

Co-op Irresistible Australian Chardonnay 2017
£7 Co-op
Pear and melon flavours. Could do with a bit of lemon acidity to balance the flavours.

Tesco Finest French Minervois La Liviniere 2015
£8 Tesco
An interesting red with flavours of plum and a hint of black olive and liquorice – lightly fruity with a dark ending.

El Esteco Don David Malbec-Malbec 2016, Argentina
£8.99 Co-op
A blend of two Malbecs (hence the name) with aromas of smoky damson and ham and additional flavours of liquorice and mint toothpaste. Fruity and deep.

Tesco Finest Argentinean The Trilogy Malbec 2015
£12 Tesco
Creamy dark chocolate and plum flavours with a hint of black pepper hotness.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk