That's the Culinary Institute of America, by the way, (not the Central Intelligence Agency). Thanks to a tip from Amy over at Cooking With Amy, I learned this morning that the CIA is offering a free online wine course, presumably as a hook to get people into their overall online offering.
Not wanting to subject my readers to anything untested and potentially schmaltzy, I took it myself this morning so I could bring you a full review. In all, it's a reasonably good course for wine novices who are looking to learn a bit more about wine. I think if you actually purchased the wines and other materials that they recommend during the course and tasted them as instructed, you could learn a lot. Of course, the wines they recommend will end up costing you about $150 if you buy every one, which may be prohibitive for some folks.
The course provides an introduction to three varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. They do a pretty good job of covering these varietals at an introductory level, although occasionally they mention wine industry concepts or jargon that have not been explained fully.
I'd say the strongest part of the course, not surprisingly given the venue, is the depth to which they go in the area of wine and food pairing. They cover the general strategies with each of these varietals and then have various chefs and wine educators talk about specific pairings. I definitely learned a few things from this section.
The overall signup process for the course is a little confusing and non-intuitive, but overall, as a free resource, it ain't bad.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
How to Help Lake County After the Fire Wine and Words in Three Volumes I'll Drink to That: Robert Bohr of Charlie Bird Vinography Images: Over a Barrel Warm Up: Sicilian Wine I'll Drink to That: Salvatore Geraci of Palari Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 27, 2015 Wine News: What I'm reading the Week of 9/27 The Lodi Zinfandel Revolution Continues I'll Drink to That: Master Sommelier Guy Stout
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune