In most endeavors, practice makes perfect. To pass the prestigious yet painstakingly difficult Master Sommelier Exam, practice is as essential as eating and sleeping, both of which most candidates eschew in favor of studying. Somm follows four men who risk their personal lives, their livelihoods, and most of their sanity trying to achieve the coveted position in the Court of Master Sommeliers. It sounds almost like a Dungeons and Dragons quest and in some ways it seems just as daunting.
The exam occurs only once a year and covers three main components:
- Theory ~ wine laws and regions
- Service~ professional behavior
- Blind Tasting ~ determining the varietal, vintage and exact appellation, etc. Etc…etc…etc…
Just watching them do the blind tasting alone got my head spinning; the rapid fire way they could describe the scent, flavors, nuances, color, mouth-feel and body was astounding. If it was up to me, I’d give them all a pass. It’s intimidating to consider that out of roughly fifty or so who take the exam, only about six pass. For those who don’t make the cut, it’s back to the massive boxes of recipe cards, and sipping, swirling, spitting and memorizing. Which in this doc, isn’t nearly as light-hearted and fun as it sounds.
The next time you’re in a restaurant and the sommelier wants to recommend a great wine, trust them. They’ve put in the hours, sweat and, yes, tears to help you make the best bets in choosing wines that will enchant your evening.