This month, the five-star Vineyard hotel in Berkshire is offering oenophiles the chance to study in style with the launch of a one-day Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET)-accredited course featuring wines from some of the world’s most illustrious estates. Champagne Taittinger, the Rhône’s Jean-Louis Chave and California’s Peter Michael are just some of the names on the syllabus for this one-off course on Sunday January 21 (£800, including a three-course lunch), which is inspired by the infamous “Judgement of Paris” tasting of 1976, when top Californian wines caused astonishment by outscoring their French counterparts in a blind tasting organised by English wine merchant Steven Spurrier.
The course will be hosted by Vineyard’s director of wine James Hocking, who will introduce different styles and grape varieties, explain how to taste and interpret wine, how to cellar and serve it, and offer guidance on food and wine pairing. The day will then conclude with a 45-minute examination made up of 30 multiple-choice questions – those who pass will be issued with a lapel pin and a WSET Level One certificate, an entry-level qualification recognised throughout the industry.
Wines to be tasted and discussed on the day will include Champagne Taittinger, Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs; Hermitage Blanc, Jean-Louis Chave; Pouilly-Fumé “Silex”, Didier Dagueneau; Peter Michael, Mon Plaisir Chardonnay; Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru, Domaine Cathiard; Cornas, Auguste Clape; and Rudd Estate, Oakville Red.
Blessed with a 30,000-bottle cellar, Vineyard is renowned as a destination for wine lovers, and regularly hosts WSET Level One and Level Two courses. But this is the first time the Relais & Châteaux hotel will have hosted a WSET course featuring these high-calibre wines. Whether you’re a beginner or an aficionado, this is a tasting opportunity not to be missed.