“Our job is to not make picking a wine off a restaurant wine list like playing a game of Russian roulette”
I’ve been waiting to see Jason Wise’s documentary SOMM for what seems like an eternity now, so when it finally came out a couple weeks ago in theaters and on iTunes, let’s just say I knew I had to see this one on the big screen and was lucky enough to spend a lovely evening filled with wine (lots, and lots of wine!) at Quad Cinema in NYC. When you plan on watching this one, I suggest doing so in the proper SOMM fashion: accompanied by a bottle of your favorite red (or white!)—the only way, really.
SOMM digs deep into the roots of an obsession with wine, and knowing everything about wine: its origin, its compound, its history, its region. Anything you can imagine that would be a on a test for the many thousands of variations of wine worldwide is on this famously difficult and seemingly impossible exam, aka the Master Sommelier Exam. And it’s not just like, simply knowing in the basic sense of knowing, but being able to detect any random assortment of wine via a blind tasting. Seemingly impossible for the average wino, right?
Meet Ian, DLynn, Brian, and Dustin: a group of guys whose determination to pass the Master Sommelier Exam is as interesting as the actual test itself, which only less than 200 people worldwide have actually passed since 1969, so you know they mean business. From the final weeks counting down to the the exam up until the very exam day, you will helplessly fall in love with each of the guys’ quirks (my personal favorite: the super suave DLynn) and hilarious study methods (have you ever known anybody to study flashcards via Skype?). Oh, and their poor girlfriends / wives! Who have to deal with all this madness (they even admitted to becoming #2 in their lover’s lives.) I don’t want to spoil anything too much, but come the last 10 or 15 minutes or so of the film you will be in definite panic attack mode for all of their sakes.
SOMM is a beautifully shot documentary (filmed in 6 countries!) that leaves you thirsty for the bottled grapeness that people have been sipping for thousands (and thousands!) of years. It’s interesting, because before Wise set out for adventure in documenting these guys’ journey, no one had really ever been behind the scenes of the process in becoming a Master Sommelier, let alone seeing people actually take the exam (I’m telling you, by the end you will be freaking out)—which makes SOMM a definite must see in itself.