We’re now 2 months out from the Master Sommelier exam in Uncorked episode 2. Some hopefuls are preparing for the Top Somm competition, while others are working on a wine fundraiser.
Dana and Morgan set up a practice service experience with Alex, a Master Sommelier. He challenges Dana by questioning just about every single wine suggestion he offers. No California wines! I was just in Australia! I had bad jamon once – no Spanish wines. He’s relishing being THAT GUY at a restaurant. Dana is then called out for not pouring the wine for the ladies first at the table. The ladies may be dolls, but they are ladies.
Which brings us to – the order of pours for a sommelier:
- walk around the table clockwise
- pour a taste for the host
- pour for all the ladies at the table
- pour for all the gentlemen at the table
- pour the host’s glass last
- all glasses should have a coaster
- the sommelier should only have to go around the table once to pour everyone an even glass of wine.
Got that? Then Dana’s got to pickup 8 glasses of champagne, walk them down the stairs & then bring them back up again. He can’t even get 4 back to the station without spilling them.
Full disclosure: I would’ve spilled them too. I’m good at drinking wine, maybe pouring wine, but moving glasses of wine on a tray would not be my strong suit.
While this test may seem like Sommelier Alex being a sadist, it’s actually pretty good practice for staying calm under pressure. And being reminded that even at fancy restaurants where one would have a Master Sommelier, people can still be entitled jerks. That are always right, of course.
Wine tip: Yes, you can send wine back. No, you shouldn’t send wine back after you’ve drunk half of the bottle. You’re a lush.
This week’s challenge is the Top Somm regional competition. While most of our cast are focused on that challenge, Yannick has his own challenge. He’s coordinating the annual fundraiser, Wine on Wheels, for his non-profit Wheeling Forward. Josh is also helping him out. (Spoiler alert – if you go to their web site, it looks like all of the Uncorked cast were there.)
His fundraiser is a big wine tasting with an auction for some of the really fancy-schmancy wines. We get a little drama because no one appears to be bidding. Will they make money on this fundraiser?
Of course they will! Josh comes through & bids on the magnum of 2005 Château Latour. When Yannick thanks him, Josh reminds him that he got the bottle for half price.
Full disclosure: I’ve done that for a bottle of Tattinger. It wasn’t that high of a price point bottle of wine, but I got a deal & supported a cause. It was a win-win!
Back to the Top Somm competition. This is a test that will be close to the Master Sommelier exam these sommeliers will be taking in just 2 months. The challenges are: service & sales, double decanting and blind tasting.
We’ve already seen a service and selling and blind tasting challenge last week. Double decanting is new, at least it was for me. Apparently people like to look at the label on the bottle while they’re drinking wine, but they’d like it to open up as decanting will provide. In this challenge, there are no funnels for putting the wine back into the wine bottle. Wine is spilled, and Jane just can’t stop shaking. However, she manages to pour back into the bottle without spilling a drop. The Master Sommelier is impressed.
In the end Morgan wins Best New Somm for 2015 and Jon Ross, not one of our main players but the boyfriend of Jane, wins Best Somm 2015.
Would you spill? Have you ever double decanted? What jerky questions would you ask Master Sommelier candidates if you were testing them?