Derived from the Greek oînos, meaning wine, and logos, meaning science, oenology is the study of the science of wine. It leads to the ability to identify a wine’s aromas, age and composition, and the technical and scientific expert in the subject is known as an oenologist. It is a discipline that concerns not only tasting but also consultancy, covering the choice of grape varieties, vineyard management and treatments, the harvest date, and winemaking, effectively accompanying the wine from beginning to end, even after its commercialisation.
Oenology is above all a science, and an oenologist must have expertise in biochemistry, vine biology, and winemaking, coupled with rigour and intuition to be able to monitor and approve all stages of production, and to propose concrete solutions. The nationally recognised Diploma in Oenology is at master’s degree level. There is often confusion between the roles of the oenologist and the sommelier, who, whilst having perfect knowledge of wines in order to propose the best wine pairings, is not involved in vineyard practices or winemaking.
You don’t have to be an oenologist to appreciate wine. But regular tasting is the best possible way of learning all its secrets, finesse of aromas and nuances. Tasting in the company of experts will enable you to refine your tasting and sensory perception skills. Start by participating in tasting visits, or themed visits to explore different grape varieties, terroirs and blends. Certain wine estates also propose tasting lessons. Check what’s available!
Are you keen to know more about the intricacies of wine without necessarily undertaking a long course of training? Numerous courses, visits and tastings exist to help you expand your knowledge. Because, although theory is important, nothing beats putting theory into practice by visiting wine producers, talking with the winemakers and listening to them talking about their wines. Themed visits are regularly proposed which will allow you to develop your sensory skills and your palate.
An immersion into the world of wine production is a unique opportunity to combine theory and practice, discovery and knowledge. It is a special moment that will help you to better understand the influence of the terroir and the specific choices that have a bearing on the aromas of the wine in your glass, and allow you to take away many interesting and unique anecdotes.
The mild climate of this region has given rise to the prestigious appellations of Anjou-Villages Brissac, Quarts de Chaume Grand Cru, Bonnezeaux, Coteaux du Layon, and Saumur-Champigny, to name but a few. Following the course of the river, the vineyards spread over rolling hills, and the wine cellars, some of which are troglodyte, are accustomed to receiving wine enthusiasts.
Châteaux and Domaines abound along the length of the Loire. The region is not only famous for its royal chateaux but also for its distinctive wines. Sancerre possesses a terroir that is renowned all around the world, and the Château de Sancerre looks down over hillsides of the greatest Sauvignons. The mild, temperate climate of Touraine produces red, rosé, white, sweet and sparkling wines.
He who knows how to taste no longer drinks wine but tastes its secrets Salvador Dali
By going directly to the wine producer you will have the pleasure of visiting their winemaking cellars, their barrel halls, and perhaps even the property and the vineyards. It will enable you to discover the different terroirs and methods of production, and the selection of grapes varieties for each blend. Wine comes alive when it is explained by the people who make it. Because making wine generally comes from a love of the earth, of gastronomy and innovation. So, be curious, and let yourself be entranced by a themed and guided visit!