With just over 200 Master Sommeliers in the world, gaining the title Master Sommelier is the highest honor in the wine world. In order to achieve Master Sommelier status, one must pass the Master Sommelier exam, a test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. The exam has three parts. The first part is theory, with verbal questions about wine region, laws, wine-making methods, etc. The second part is service, which mimics a restaurant serving atmosphere. The third part is tasting, in which the student must accurately describe and identify six different wines through taste.
“Wine passes through our hands without having a lot of imprint on us,” Emmanuel Kemiji explained as he began his lecture. Wine tasting is an art, one that is incredibly difficult to master. Kemiji articulated his story on how he became a Master Sommelier and the challenges he faced. One of the most noteable takeaways we enjoyed hearing was Kemiji’s narrative of one of his mentors. Kemiji’s mentor told him to close his eyes whenever he takes the first bite of food or the first sip of wine. This helps with tasting the delicate ingredients in order to describe the intricate flavors.
The first wine we tried during the tasting portion of Kemiji’s visit was a 2014 Pinot Noir Miura. The name Miura is derived from Don Eduardo Miura, a famous fighting bull breeder in Spain. In Spain, Miura signifies nobility and power. The majority of the grapes for this Pinot Noir come from the Pisoni Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. It is full bodied, fruity, and round tasting.
The second wine was a 2012 Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. This entry level Pinot Noir was smooth with a great depth of fruit.
The third wine we tasted was Clos Pissara, Aristan from Montsant, Spain. This wine is a blend of 10-year old Grenache and Syrah. The vines grow from soil that is a mixture of clay and slate. The Grenache adds an aromatic, bright red fruit taste to the wine, while the Syrah adds a full and rustic flavor.
With every sip we took, we became more entranced with the world of wine. After all, drinking wine is an engaging experience. overflowing with history and emotion.