Patrick Alexander's
WINE APPRECIATION PROGRAM

Course Outline
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Class 1: Introduction to wine appreciation          

The introductory class will provide all the basic background needed to better appreciate the more focused classes which follow. Specifically, the class will learn to appreciate the four senses – looking, smelling, tasting and finally feeling the wine in the mouth. While tasting our samples we’ll discuss the importance of using all the senses in evaluating wine and discuss the challenge of putting those evaluations into words. The class will examine the vocabulary of wine as well as how to buy it, store it, serve it and of course – how to enjoy it. During this class students will taste two whites and two reds. 

Class 2: Varietals

Students will study how vines are grown as well as how wine is made and finally bottled – they will examine the different types of grape and the different types of terrain that favor the creation of wine -  the major red varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir,  Syrah/Shiraz) and the major white varieties (Chardonnay, Riesling,  Sauvignon Blanc, Gewerztraminer,  Muscadet) as well as more localized varieties like Zinfandel and Malbec. Students will also discuss champagne and fortified wines like port and sherry. 

Class 3: Terroir & France

Starting with the history of wine in the ancient world, its refinement in medieval Europe, and its modern global expansion this class will focus not on the wine’s grape variety but on the terrain on which it is grown and will examine the Roman heritage of the appellation d'origine contrôlée regions of France: 

Class 4: The Judgment of Paris.  (France vs. USA)

A casual wine-tasting held in Paris in 1976 forever changed the world of wine production. The accidental significance of the event has been the subject of at least one book and also a recent movie. It will also provide the subject for today’s class. Unfortunately we will not be able to provide the legendary wines which were tasted on that day – but at least we will be able to re-enact that battle of the reds – between France and the USA – with a blind tasting.

Class 5: Wines of Europe

It is true that, partly due to the very strict discipline of their Appellation Controlee system, French wines have a well deserved reputation as being the best in the world. But great wines have also been produced from all over Europe for hundreds of years. In this session we will examine the history, conventions, labels, major growing regions and wines of Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Class 6: Wines of the New World

The Books & Books Wine Appreciation Program admits to a Eurocentric bias. There is no way to rationally justify cramming ‘the rest of the world’ into this final class other than explaining that the program instructor is European.  Nonetheless, the wines of the New World are filled with surprises and perhaps we are just saving the best till last.  This final class is followed by a food-pairing dinner.