Long Time Gonna Study This!
May 23, 2014 5 Comments
No…this is not the Bubbly Professor slipping up and using poor grammar…rather, it is a mnemonic device for the method I’ve been using for the past several decades to introduce and teach the incredibly huge subject of all the regional wines of the world!
Long Time Gonna Study This is my of remembering the 5 most important things you need to know about any wine region in order to really understand (and not just “memorize”) the facts and figures, grapes and places, and other details concerning a specific region of the wine world. The letters stand for: Location, Terroir, Grapes, Styles, and Terminology.
This is not the “easy way out” for studying. This is, however, a very effective study technique as it gives meaning and context to what you are studying, and as I’ve said so many times before…your brain just does not like (and is not good at) fixing random words and numbers into long-term memory. What your brain is really good at remembering are things that are personal, contextual, spatial, funny, surprising, physical, humorous, and (surprise!) sexual in nature.
So…how do we use this knowledge to make our wine studies more effective? We make our studies more contextual (the background story), spatial (how this location relates to other locations), physical (taste the wine, look at the label, pick up the bottle even if you can’t afford to buy it), personal (draw a map, say the words out loud, visit the region).
As for sexual, well, having a love affair with a brooding winemaker from New Zealand – or just thinking about it – that can’t hurt either… Alas, if a trip to Central Otago is not in your near future, there are other ways…never forget the very fine line between wine and romance!
Here is a more detailed explanation of the use of the LTGST study method:
- We need to know – where is this area located?
- Get specific – latitude, proximity to well-known cities and landmarks, and location in relation to other wine regions.
- Research the topography – rivers, lakes, oceans, mountain ranges.
- The best way to do this is trace a map, get to googling and draw in the cities, mountains, and rivers. By doing so you are making your studies more physical, which as we know will greatly improve your memory of the topic.
- What is the local climate, soil, topography, etc and how does it affect the wine?
- Knowing the details on the location (mountains, rivers, oceans) will translate into a better understanding of the terroir (see how that works)?
- What grapes are grown there?
- Are they blends, or single varietals?
- Understanding the location, which leads to a better contextualization of the terroir, will lead to better understanding of what grapes grown in a certain location and why. There’s a darn good reason Alsace grows mainly white grapes and Bordeaux can grow botrytis-affected Semillon so well, and they have everything to do with location and terroir!
- After we know the overall climate and the grape varieties that are grown in a certain region, we’re ready to study the types of wines made in a region.
- What styles of wine do they produce? Dry, sweet, still, sparkling?
- What unique production techniques create these wines?
- What terms do you need to understand the wines and their labels?
- Some regions, such as Bordeaux and Burgundy, have a vocabulary all of their own and this list can get very long indeed, others are much simpler.
So there you have it…the LTGST method of studying the wines of the world. Like I said earlier in this post, it is certainly not quick or easy, but I guarantee you it’s effective.
Good luck with your studies, and please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or success with this method!
The Bubbly Professor is “Miss Jane” Nickles of Austin, Texas firstname.lastname@example.org