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Masters of Wine


Just saw that they’ve published this year’s MW exam papers.


Interesting if just to have a list of wines that can be considered reference points for certain styles. I actually think the stage 1 exam doesn’t look that hard. Lambrusco and Sherry are so easily recognised that you’d know the relevant countries for the first two tasting sections straight away. From there, Franciacorta and Prosecco would be straightforward as Italy doesn’t have that many important sparkling wines and you could easily rule out Asti. Similarly for the second section you’d then easily get Albarino (and you’d presume Rias Baixas) and White Rioja. For Q3 Cab Franc should be easy, then you’d automatically think Loire and SA. The Chilean one might be a challenge though. I also think the Chenin Q isn’t too tough.

Stage 2 looks fiendish though (on the tasting side)!

Which two varieties would you save?

@Mooble Really interesting, thanks for sharing.


I drink a lot of RSA wine but I wouldn’t automatically think of South Africa for CF.

Fewer than 1% of vineyards are planted to CF and when you take away its use in Bdx style blends there aren’t many varietal RSA Cabernet Francs. (tho’ of course many more than when Norma Ratcliffe produced the first one at Warwick not so long ago).

Although I suppose list is affected by those wines that are available.


What is a pass mark? Spotting the varietals potentially easy but origin, wine making techniques and quality potentially challenging - possibly easier for the reds, the burgundy and cote rotie ought to be distinctive. It also strikes me that you could get to the exam and never have tasted some wines of that type of that quality, even with years in the trade. Tough stuff.


That’s odd, I feel like I see it really often at tastings, but that could be because it’s one of my favourite grapes so I look for it… It’s the only place other than the Loire that I would automatically associate monovarietal CF with.


I think for some wines the winemaking techniques are fairly obvious - a big, buttery, vanilla-scented Chardonnay will let you talk about MLF, oak ageing etc, a bubblegum Beaujolais will let you talk about carbonic maceration etc. But for some wines I agree it would be tough.


Wow, that’s something to aim for. I can imagine squeezing through the theory papers (given a lot of revision) but those practical papers are terrifying. Best get drinking, I suppose.


Thanks for posting this @Mooble (I meant to say)


That’s a very expensive blind tasting…


Was listening to a podcast today about the MW process. Fees are £3700 per year, so I’m guessing that covers some pretty awesome tastings!


Best CF I had, and what turned me into a lover after too many green unripe Loire CFs, was the CF in Ontario.

Looking at my consumed bottles on CellarTracker I see the majority of CFs is from the Loire, followed by South Africa, Ontario and New York.

Not uncoincidentally, most were sourced in those regions.


Really scary, not surprising there are so few MWs. And there was me getting stressed at having to formally evaluate just 3 wines yesterday :disappointed_relieved: :smile: