So with that background review, where to start with studying regions and wines? The ISG program follows a predictable flow that generally moves from most complicated to least in terms of the regions studied. France, with its myriad regions, rules, and regulations, usually features first. Whether this is to scare off lightweight students or just to highlight the most difficult region – the “acid test” of wine knowledge to get off on the right foot – I cannot guess. However, having taken four wine courses now that started in France, I think it will be highly appropriate to shake things up a bit.
Thus I’ve decided it best suits this process to begin studying those New World regions that had begun to fall by the wayside in my Level 3 studies. By the time the course started exploring the New World, I was feeling enormous pressure and was already missing classes due to work commitments. Overwhelmed by Europe (the Old World), I have yet to “own” an understanding of the newer arrivals on the world wine scene: Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and North America.
So let’s begin here – with California in North America – since my cellar happens to be happily stocked with several new bottles in anticipation of a wine cruise to California that I was going to be hosting in September. I’ll be diving in to their Chards, Zins and Cabs, along with the lesser known offerings. I’ll pull out the texts and remind myself of the AVA regulations, and the history of wine in the region. I’ll make the damn flashcards and memorize what I need to memorize. And along the way, I’ll share the highlights… stay tuned!