The month of May was packed full of events for the Wine and Management students. From coffeeology to a master class on Alsace wines, a whole variety of themes was touched by very generous individuals! It was the ideal time to spend some time in class with the students. Let’s look back on a week of lessons punctuated by special events…
From wine to coffee…
The week began with a coffeeology lesson. This may, at first glance, seem rather surprising but tasting grands crus coffees is very much like tasting wine. Acidity, bitterness, sweetness, the sensations are extremely similar to those experienced in wine tasting. Just like wine, tasting coffee involves both visual and olfactory senses. Vincent Pateux, sommelier, member of the Union des Sommeliers de France and coffee expert, taught the students the particularities of each type of coffee.
Once the basics had been understood, the lesson ended with a tasting: Aroma profile, level of acidity and bitterness, texture, a selection of grands crus coffees were closely examined by the students and their teacher for the day!
Sommellerie competitions with David Biraud
In the middle of the week, David Biraud stepped in as teacher for the day. A sommelier with an impressive track record in competitions: Best Young Sommelier in France in 1998, Best Sommelier in France in 2002, One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France - MOF) in sommellerie in 2004 and finalist of the Best Sommelier in the World competition in 2010, he came to share his experience with the students. Thanks to him, they gained an insight into the everyday life of somebody preparing for the most prestigious sommellerie competitions. From theory revision, to the practical side in the Mandarin Oriental hotel where he works, David Biraud’s days follow a similar pattern and are extremely intense. For him, competitions are a real driving force: He tells the students that, for him, “the purpose of competitions is not to show off when you win, but primarily to act as a way of boosting your career, and more importantly, as a means of trying to better yourself”. The students then had the opportunity to watch him carry out a blind tasting before being asked to step into his shoes. They found themselves confronted with an unknown wine and he gave them invaluable advice for their forthcoming exams.
The diversity of Alsace’s terroirs and landscape
The week ended with a master class on a region with diverse terroirs and landscapes: Alsace. The students studied the geological and climatic particularities of this reputed vineyard, in the company of Thierry Fritsch, enologist at the Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins d'Alsace. Caroline Furstoss, Jean-François Piège’s Head Sommelier and Best Sommelier of the Year, 2014, then shared a selection of her favorite Alsace wines with those present.
If you too would like to study alongside top wine professionals, more information on the Wine and Management programme can be found here.