Starting School + Whistler (you should probably go)
Last night I started the last section of my WSET Diploma. WSET- Wine & Spirit Education Trust - is a London based program for those who hate fun & wish to get all the wine-related Jeopardy questions right. It consists of 4 levels, three of which I have already passed (hooray!): beginner, intermediate and advanced. I even threw in their French Wine Scholar program last summer, because I was so afraid of entering the Diploma, despite knowing what I really needed was to enter the Diploma.
The Diploma takes two (or many more) years and is divided into 6 parts each with its own rigorous exam, consisting of essay questions and a blind tasting flight. As those who know me in real life can atttest, these exams - Spirits, Sparkling Wine, Fortified etc.- have caused me great duress and many a long night in libraries with acned youth and cold homeless or at my kitchen table staring at 5 identical looking dark spirits and wondering how the fuck to identify what each one tastes like, where it comes from, what its made of and what it costs (with only what's in the glass to give me clues).
Happily, I passed those other sections! Yay! Sadly the last section, still wines of the world, is the longest and hardest. It goes from now until June culminating in an all day exam with 12 blind wines and 7 essay questions. It covers all wine regions of the world, which successful candidates (exam speak!) must be able to describe in detail and identify in the glass. Soooo lots and lots (and lots) of blind tasting and studying to come this year. Despite the course being so demanding, I actually love really understanding the heart of each appellation in terms of geography, history, best producers and trends and it will be fun to share the best bits of this insane amount of information here. So be excited for that. Also remind me that I wanted to do this in May when I am found naked and hyperventalating in the LCBO.
In the meantime, I am trying to do all the most beautiful things in BC before it gets too cold and rainy. Last Saturday started cold and rainy, but a good friend from Toronto was visiting, so whatever we were going to Whistler.
Whistler is a resort town in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains - Wikipedia, you the best - about an hour and a half north of Vancouver. It has a population of 10, 000-ish - mostly hot young people from Australia, but over 2 million visit a year to ski, eat expensive oysters, look at hot Australians and say they've been to Whistler.
It was my first time and it was unreal. So beautiful it felt like a dream. We drove down, ate shitty expensive fish and chips, drank corporate beer (I'm sorry, principles), then took a gondola to one of the prettiest peaks I have ever had the pleasure of scampering across. If you go, skip the overpriced food & pack a badass picnic + best champagne. Crack it at the top and drink it out of red plastic cups. Tuck your non-drinking hand in your newly purchased patagonia fleece, breathe the cold mountain air and know that you're doing it right.