A year ago I did not know that the word sommelier existed yet alone was something I'd become. Then I did. Was it a plan? Not really. It just seemed to happen, with lots of help from lots of people.
Sommeliers, briefly, match food to drinks to get the best out of both, and I am an Italian Sommelier.
Throughout the course I realised that nobody ever taught me about drink and drinking. I just experimented sometimes with success, sometimes less so.
I'm setting out to try to de-mystify what's in the bottle. All shoppers should be able to have some concept of what's in the bottle and what it should taste like. You can't always ask for a taste in a supermarket. At a restaurant do you know what the wine should taste of when you are poured a taste. If it doesn't taste as expected are you confident enough to say anything?
I have discovered so many things that across the Dover Straits are perceived as general knowledge. I want to share some of what I have discovered.
As a young drinker I knew the rules. Old men drank bitter, younger men drank lager, the Irish drank stout and women drank sherry or gin. Wine? Wine was posh. Wine drinkers were posh. Beer was cheap, wine was expensive and 'it all tasted the same.'
As a newly qualified sommelier I now know how wrong I've been for a very long time. I have now been taught how to taste things properly. I didn't even know I didn't do that right either. I've spent years drinking things I didn't really like, but at least now I know why I don't like things!
Thanks to the fantastic teaching at the UK Sommelier Association I am now in a position to have a very good idea of what is going to be in the bottle, what it should smell like, what it should taste like, what food it will go well with, and also will I like it.
There is a wide wonderful world of wines, beers and spirits out there. I want to share how they are judged and tested and tasted. I want to let you in to that world, it's a really fun place. If you already know something, then I hope you'll learn a bit more. If it's all a bit new then let's go on the journey together. I'll try to write jargon free, and give you a bit more confidence and knowledge.
It's going to be an awfully big adventure, but remember when all is said and done, wine, it's only a drink!