At the wine school, in general, we learn about all sorts of alcoholic beverages, but of course wine is the major thing we study and our textbook covers wines from all over the world. Wines from France take up about half of the book and wines from Italy consume much of the volume as well. Recently, we finished studying the wines from both of these countries and that was, sort of, the heavy lifting part of the course. Yet there are still many wines from other regions of the world to cover and, unfortunately, I am starting to feel not as focused as I used to be. I'm not alone in this feeling as many of my classmates feel the same way.
The other day, the wine school held a get-together and there were a few faces at the party that I recognized from my wine class. The ambience of the class is getting much more relaxed and nicer as the course progresses and we all get to know each other better.
A shot from the wine school's get-to-gether party. Every member who attended the party brought a bottle of wine and by the time the party was over all of the wine was gone.
There are many reasons why I like the Tasaki Shinya Wine School, but what makes me feel like I made a good choice in picking this school is that the teachers keep encouraging us. They keep telling us we are doing great and can do better. This attitude really helps lift our minds and spirits, especially now that our ability to focus is starting to wane. I guess I can't say this is true for the A students, but it's certainly true for me.
I and a few others scored poorly on the recap test for the Italian wines last week, but our teacher kept cheering us on saying that making mistakes helps us to remember better. That motivated me to review the Italian wines more carefully and not to give up on the section. I realize that this course is designed to introduce us to a broad range of wines from all over the world and that in order to become a true expert I will need to work at this subject for many years to come. What really encourages me is to know that no one is born a wine expert. This is a subject and a skill that can be learned and if you keep working at it you keep getting better and better at it.
Our teacher also keeps telling us that our level of knowledge about French and Italian wines currently exceeds that of most native French and Italian people. He says that natives usually don't know as many details about their wines as we do.
Being born a curious person, I needed to confirm that this statement was true, so I gave my French and Italian friends a little quiz the other day. It was true that they didn't know as many details about the wine making process and many other small matters, but they were both born and raised in wine making countries and their experiences with their wines are far deeper than my few months study. The bright side of this story is that now I can talk more intelligently and accurately about wine with both of them and I like that!
An interesting thing I noticed by throwing questions at my foreign friends, was that both of them had no interest in the wines from the other person's country, only interest and knowledge about wines from their own countries. My French friend laughed through his nose and said that Italian wines are not delicate or elegant, so they are not worth drinking. The Italian said that the French have no creativity and have just stolen the Italian wine making techniques over the years and copied them. Both admitted they hardly ever drink imported wine. This made me glad that I'm in a course that covers so many regions and introduces us to so much of the what the world has to offer when it comes to wine.
I found my friends' perspectives on wine interesting but felt a bit sorry for them because last night I had a dry Riesling from Alsas France with grilled fish and will enjoy a Montepulciano d'Abruzzo from Italy with tonight's dinner pairing it with a soy sauce based dish of simmered meat with potatoes. I love living in Japan!