school desksTerm 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.

nose in wine glassDuring 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?

strawberriesHopefully 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.

PG Wine Reviews

Aldi ToscanaAldi Venturer Sicilian Nero D’Avola 2013

£4.99 Aldi

Pizza wine: plum and apple flavours

Sainsbury’s Winemakers’ Selection Spanish Gran Reserva Carinena 2008

£6 Sainsbury’s

Yoghurt tartness with plum and milky coffee plus some nuttiness. Complex.

Sainsbury’s Winemakers’ Selection Spanish Old Vine Garnacha 2012

£6 Sainbury’s

Simple quaffable flavours of sweet cherry and Maltesers.

The Interlude Australian Pinot Noir 2013

£6.49 Co-op

Light plum flavours.

Errazuriz ChardonnayErrazuriz Estate Series Chilean Unoaked Chardonnay 2012

£9.99 Tesco

Light and creamy lemon flavours plus that sensation when you suck on a fifty pence piece.

Wirra Wirra Church Block Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot 2011

£9.99 Co-op

Blackcurrant and spicy plum.

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

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