Monday, November 11, 2013


Four wine experts attempt to pass the difficult test to become Master Sommeliers in this tedious documentary. Amidst cheesy vocal jazz on the soundtrack, literally thousands of grape varieties, flash cards, spit buckets, (and to add insult to injury) geography; brilliant, driven, but pretentious snobs try to outdo each other by pretending to smell the most imaginary aromas in a glass of wine.

If I ordered an extravagant bottle of wine and the selling point was that it had a bouquet of cat urine, rubber hose, or my grandmother's purse, that bottle is going back and I will be quite angry. Can you imagine? If I was eating in a fancy, shmancy restaurant and the waiter presented a bottle of Le Sac De Grandmere 1956 and said it had delicate hints of litter box, I'd laugh right in his face and demand he be fired.

It cracks me up when people pay out the nose for something that has a particular hint of aroma in it, or the suggestion of a flavor element. They think it's sophisticated. If I'm paying $200 for a bottle of wine, it better not have a suggestion. I want to be punched in the mouth with flavor for that price. And no one is going to be impressed if you knock back a mouthful of grape and say, "Why, that has an austere, cliff-edge finish with notes of a well-integrated minerality and a touch of barnyard". Everyone is going to realize you're a douche.

Near the end of this movie, I couldn't contain my curiosity. I poured myself a glass of wine, swirled the liquid around in the glass, and inhaled. I smelled wine. I did not detect notes of vanilla, jasmine, oak, or cat piss, and I tried. It smelled like wine, and I'm almost certain pretty much every wine I've ever smelled smelled like wine. I'm not saying that sommeliers aren't well-trained professionals and don't have well-paid noses and palates, I'm just saying that gullible people often need to reassured in their purchases.

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