Texas in March is lovely, especially in Irving Texas just outside of Dallas. This past 13th to 15th I had the pleasure of taking the Advanced Sommelier Course from the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas. To get into the course first you had to have your Certified Sommelier certification, then take a pretest and be in the top 200 amongst all the test takers in Canada, US, Mexico and all of Southern America. There were 2 Canadians, 1 Honduran and 1 lovely lady from Chile whose family owns an import company.
Three days learning from 33 Master Sommeliers or M. S.s for short. We first broke down the elusive and legitimate art of deductive or blind tasting. Humbling is all I can say but my skill did improve. We then finished the first day with a deep dive into Barolo, concentrating on 5 of its major communes then honing down to MGAs (Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive). We were able to distinguish the differences in terroir because of soil and sun exposure, etc.
Day 2 was started with deductive Sake tastings. We tasted 8 styles of sake that represented various styles and process methods. I had no idea that some sakes had fruit profiles because of the polishing while other with more polishing exposed more of the center which has most of the amino acids and giving this style of sake a cereal or wheat nature. Then after small group deductive tastings we tasted various sweet wines of the world. South Africa and it’s Constantia started us off and we tasted wines affected with botrytis both aged in stainless steel and in oak barrels. The Furmint from Hungary was delicious as we tasted some Tokaij Anju. Canadian Ice Wines were next and a lovely Beaumes de Venice petit au grains. We even had an Australian sticky which was like drinking syrup.
Day 3 rounded out with the business end of sommeliers and attitudes on wine management and cellar storage. The last tasting was a short beer flight and 5 different spirits which we had to blind taste and correctly call. The best thing for me was seeing exactly what I had yet to learn and I have until April of next year to prep. Wish me luck. Drink well. RJ