classroomTerm is starting for the children, and in a few weeks time it’ll be 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.

During 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.

nose in wine glassWhen 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.

Stone Dwellers winePG Wine Reviews

Root:1 Chilean Carmenere 2013

£7.99 Morrisons

Plum, liquorice and cinnamon flavours – rich but not over powering.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2014

£8 Sainsbury's

Gooseberry, lemon zest and some apple tannin extra bite.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Italian Pinot Grigio 2014

£8 Sainsbury's

Apple, pear and lemon – a creamy and citrusy mix.

Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2014

£9.99 Waitrose, Ocado, Tesco Wine by the Case

Redcurrant, cherry and milky coffee flavours. Sensible and standard Beaujolais flavours.

Montes Alpha Chilean Merlot 2012

£12.99 Majestic

Damson, blackcurrant, strawberry and raspberry. Nice mix.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on