Portfolios of Tasting Notes
We are committed to helping our Diploma students perform well on their exams. So we ask you to submit a number of tasting notes for each Unit so that we can give you feedback before an exam rather than your getting negative feedback -- a failing grade -- after the exam. We will set informal due dates for these tasting notes with our students once classes begin.
Portfolios of tasting notes on light wines, spirits, sparkling wines, and fortified wines (i.e., Units 3-6) were once required for Diploma candidates (until August, 2005). These were graded pass/fail but were mandatory for passing Units 3-6, respectively. The idea was to make sure students knew how to write WSET-acceptable tasting notes before taking the tasting exams. Though no longer required, we believe that our students still benefit from submitting tasting notes for us to receive feedback before their exams.
If you have taken the Intermediate or Advanced courses, you're aware that the detail required for these tasting notes is greater than what most people think of. The WSET index to pdf files of the tasting note categories for wines, spirits and sparkling wines is here.
During our Unit 4, 5, and 6 classes, we will taste at least 16 categories of spirits, 7 categories of sparkling wines and 8 categories of fortified wines. In the past you needed to submit tasting notes for each of those categories; now we will ask you to submit a few, just so we can be sure you have the WSET-tasting note skills you will need for the tasting exams.
For Unit 3, Light Wines of the World, we will taste at least 128 different categories of wines during our 20 weeks of classes. During 2003-04, tasting notes for all 128 categories had to be submitted. Then, for 2004-05 the portfolio requirement was cut way back to just 26 categories. Now, as with Units 4-6, we just want to see a few sample tasting notes to make sure you have mastered the WSET approach to tasting notes. The lists on the page linked above are merely for your reference, since the wines used for the Unit 3 blind tasting tests will come from these same 128 categories. The WSET still recommends that all Unit 3 students taste all 128 categories.