Passed my Level 3 Exam!

My Level 3 Award in Wines from the Wine and Spirts Education Trust arrived in yesterday’s mail, one week earlier than I expected!

I passed the “theory” part of the exam with merit and the blind tasting (2 wines, one white, one red) was just a “pass”.  The theory section was 50 multiple choice questions and 4 short answer questions with multiple parts for which we had 2 hours.  I used just about all of that time.  It’s been about 25 years since I’ve taken anything other a multiple choice test.

The blind tasting, which we wrote first, was 30 minutes.  The goal of the tasting is to see if one can describe wines using the WSET’s “Systematic Approach to Tasting.”  The idea behind the SAT is to provide a standard framework to describe wines (appearance, nose, palate) that would allow another person familiar with the framework to have an idea about how the wine looks, smells, and tastes, even if they have never tried it.    It’s fairly detailed — here’s the Level 3 SAT.  One doesn’t have much latitude in how to describe stuff like color, alcohol, or acidity, but one can use whatever aroma and flavor descriptors one wants.  I had hoped that my white wine would have been a Sauvignon Blanc because I think most of them smell like Mexican guava (how’s that for obscure?), but I got what I’m pretty sure was a Sauternes.  I’m sure there’s a straight Sauvignon Blanc in my future, though…

For those that don’t know about the WSET Awards…  There are four levels.  I started at Level 2 in February(a month worth of Saturdays taught by the inimitable Quentin Sadler) and then did Level 3 online, both while I was visiting the London School of Economics.  The next and final level with the WSET is the Diploma, which comprises 6 sub-courses and takes about a year to 15 months to complete.  After that, one can apply to the Master of Wine curriculum.  If you work really, really hard and have a bit of luck, after another 3 or 4 years, you get to use the hallowed “MW” after your name.

So I’m thrilled to have passed Level 3!  Now the really tough work on my way to those initials begins.  Thanks for accompanying me on that journey…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *