(by peter & susie)

Susie leading the MW bootcamp IIIWine-chester.

Has a certain ring, doesn’t it?

Our home town certainly had more than its fair share of elite wine experts (and enticing grape scents) this past weekend as 25 Master of Wine students attended our wine tasting bootcamp in preparation for their challenging exams next month.

Our course featured 36 separate wines, over a hundred bottles opened, 33 questions to answer and then dissect, and a total of 900 marks up for grabs. In the end, what had been six months in the planning (tasting wines, devising questions, analysing past exams etc) lasted three days. Full ones, mind: packed with tasting, analysis, feedback, one-on-one clinics, exam strategy discussion sessions – and the odd laugh, which is always important.

Susie and I always love hosting this weekend. This was our fourth (you can find a report on last year’s here). It was particularly fun, as well as hugely impressive. The overall standard we witnessed was the highest it’s ever been – which surely bodes for a vintage crop of new MWs in the pipeline.

We’d like to personally thank all the students who came on the bootcamp (from Singapore to Spain) for their hard work, commitment and good humour. Huge thanks also to all those who helped us set it up, from wonderful suppliers like MMD, Pernod Ricard, Liberty Wines, Mentzendorff, Waitrose to the Winchester Guildhall and the Institute of Masters of Wine.

the definition of dedicationSome of those on the bootcamp have already been kind enough to write and thank us, whilst others have tweeted about the course. Here is a sample of what’s been said:

  • ‘Inspiring & brilliantly organised weekend of MW student tasting. Thank you Susie & Peter!’
  • ‘Extremely constructive – I found the whole process very useful. I enjoyed seeing you both again and spending time in lovely Winchester. Thank you very much for your help, advice and reassurance.’
  • ‘Inspiring stuff…taste buds whipped into shape!’
  • ‘V well chosen wines, some even enjoyable too. #unexpectedpleasure’
  • ‘It was a great weekend and thank you to you both for all the preparation and thought that went into this. The wines were very well selected and in most cases ‘classics’ which was really helpful.’
  • ‘Great day with Peter & Susie @wineschools in Winchester. Better call it #winechester’

Wine highlights included an indulgently buttery 2008 Meursault Blagny 1er Cru from Joseph Faiveley, sensational Murrieta Rioja Reserva 2007, beautifully decadent Taylor’s 20-year-old tawny, smashing Sauvignon Blanc in the form of the Brancott Chosen Rows 2010, scented Chambolle-Musigny 2008 from Domaine Hudelot-Noellat and stunning Quinta de Vargellas 2001 vintage port.

For reference, here are the full question papers and list of wines we featured over the three days:

We’re planning to do two such bootcamps next year and will be posting dates for these very shortly, for those who want to book in as early birds.

Anyone interested in becoming a Master of Wine, or signing up to the programme, should visit the IMW website or go along to the open day on 20th May 2013 (click here for more details).

As for Wine-chester – we have a few more plans up our sleeve in this respect, too… We’ll keep you posted!