The last sip is in.
The final scoring is calculated, revealing there are four new consummate know-it-alls among us. These superheroes passed a heady three-day exam, winning the title Master Sommelier. What did they do to earn their cape?
They aced a three-part exam, with one portion a nerve-racking blind tasting. They essentially had to SPEED TASTE, which seems like it would be harder than SPEED DATING if you ask me. In a mere 25 minutes they had to taste — sip, swirl and spit — six wines and name the grape varietal, the country and district of origin and the vintage of the wine. I suppose they’d get extra credit if they knew the social security number of the winemaker who made the final blend of the wine.
(The test-taking was at the Hotel Healdsburg and kudos to Fernando Beteta from Chicago, Laura Maniec from New York City, Jonathan Pullis from Aspen, Colorado, and James Tidwell from Dallas, Texas.)
Now for practical matters. Do you personally benefit from the knowledge in a sommelier’s noggin? Here’s a quiz to test your Wine IQ with it comes to restaurant sipping.
1) When you order unique bottling, do you weigh in with your sommelier? A) No, because I don’t want to look like a cad to my date. B) Only if the sommelier stops at my table because I don’t want to make a fuss. C) Yes, because I want to take advantage of a sommelier’s smarts, which is as vast as Google.
2) When the sommelier pours a small glass for you to sample, do you: A) smell the cork? B) smell the glass? C) taste the wine? D) smell the glass and if you notice an off aroma, taste the wine to confirm it?
3) When you order a wine you’re unfamiliar with and it has off aromas and flavors, do you: A) tell the sommelier the wine tastes like barnyard or stinky cheese and leave in a huff? B) tell the sommelier the wine has off aromas and flavors and order a new bottle? C) embrace the unexpected when tasting an unfamiliar varietal, but check in with the sommelier about the wine’s unique aromas and flavors?
The correct answers are #1 C, #2 D, #3 C.