La Rioja is always a great place for a break, and all the more so if you want to exchange ideas and work in connection with the world of Masters of Wine. That was the experience I enjoyed just a few days ago. I participated in Mock Exams, an initiative aimed at trainees aspiring to become Masters of Wine, by means of the Foundation for Wine Culture; also involved were some of the designation of origin’s most representative wineries, such as Torre de Oña, and private sponsors such as Rioja Alta.
In this case, we were lucky to have, as a leading instructor, the recently graduated Almudena Alberca, the first Spanish woman to become a Master of Wine, as well as Andreas Kubach (another MW). They were able to draw on their vast viticulture experience, sharing their comments and knowledge regarding the wines we worked with. They were both extraordinary. The selection of references was also fantastic.
These exams for MW aspirants consist in making “flights” over 12 wines, normally in series of whites and reds, in which you have to identify each one by means of its grape varieties, origin, production method, style, etc. And, of course, in tasting each of them, all within the limited time of the “flights” in official exams, 2h. 15´. I can assure you that it’s not easy since time also flies…
During this break, we also visited Luis Cañas’ Amaren winery, a group of Master of Wine aspirants, located in Marqués de Riscal, another of the initiative’s sponsors. I must say that I liked the way things were arranged, since there were also tastings of all the wines from the foundation’s partner wineries, including Terras Gauda or Vega Sicilia. Really interesting! In my case, although I’m not included in the programme for this year or next year, I’ve still got the itch and might consider taking up my Master of Wine studies again.
You learn something new every day.