Well now im certified, it's official, im a real live sommelier. Last weekend I was down at the Millenium hotel in Knightbridge for the Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory Certificate course. Three days of lectures, tasting and exams on all aspects of wine and beverage service.
It was pretty hard work, the lectures were done by Brian Julyan, Brian Dawes, Ronan Sayburn, Matt Wilkin and Nigel Wilkinson. They flew through the material at quite a pace, and interspersed throughout we tasted wines blind. The idea was that we would get used to using deductive tasting to work out a series of conclusions about the origins, variety and vintage of a wine. That was the one area that i really struggled with a bit, and it highlighted for me an area that i need to give a lot more focus to.
Anyway I passed the certificate course and the introductory course, so now I can progress onto the Advanced Sommelier course. But I think im going to wait until next year for that.
As a side note, I also sent off my application for the century club the other day. This is a club of people that have tasted 100 different grape varieties. Its taken me nearly a year to hit the magic 100 figure, but i sent off my application with 105 different grape varieties ticked off. Now quite a lot of these are never seen as single grape varieties, often they are blended together to creat very familiar wines - for example Cinsualt is a grape often grown in the southern regions of france, particularly the Rhone Valley. It is one of 13 different grape varieties that are allowed to be blended together to become Chateauneuf du Papes. Anyway if you are interested in joining check out www.winecentury.com for application forms.