Delta’s Taste Wine Like A Master Sommelier: Top Taster for Top Fliers hosted by Master Sommeliers Andrea Robinson and Eric Hemer
As wine lovers and writers we have a lot of opportunities to taste all different types of wine from all over the world, but since we are not formally trained, we are always looking for opportunities to enhance our tasting skills.
We were recently invited to attend a fantastic class at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival: Deltas Taste like a Master Sommelier. The event, which took place at the lovely James Hotel proved to be more than we ever imagined.
Although sommeliers are plentiful in the restaurant business, a master sommelier is quite rare. In fact, this prestigious title is only shared by 129 individuals (only 18 are women) in all of North American who have passed a series of rigorous exams.
Hosted by Master Sommeliers Eric Hemer and Andrea Robinson, the Delta's Taste Like a Master Sommelier was an afternoon lesson that gave us a glimpse of the methodology used by these masters to extract key visual, aromatic and taste cues that help to discern exactly what one is tasting. These two masters led us through a fun and educational afternoon that we won't soon forget.
The attendees were amateur v drinkers and enthusiasts, as well as a group of local sommeliers from some of the areas finest establishments including The Biltmore and the Setai among others.
The two masters kicked things off with an overview of tasting like a master and also a challenge: each attendee had a place setting consisting of three whites and three reds—both amateurs and sommeliers alike were charged with naming the grape variety, whether it was old world or new world, and the country of origin.
The selections were excellent and we later found out the prices ranged from the mid $30’s to $60.00 per bottle. Thankfully no one was driving, so we were able to enjoy each glass.
When the time was up, they collected our papers and the reveal began. A local sommelier walked us through each wine and expertly displayed the deductive reasoning they use to determine what grape variety, region, country and vintage we tasted. It was great to see and hear their expert approach. Each wine was broken down by a different sommelier, yet their approach and methodology was the same. This was helpful for us and we will apply this learning in our future tastings.
In the end, the lucky winners (one attendee and one sommelier) were awarded a first class round-trip ticket on Delta Airlines, but the others won as well. We all walked away smiling and with a much better understanding of how to truly taste like a Master Sommelier. In addition, the fabulous sponsor Delta sent us home with a set of two Riedel wine glasses to help us further our tasting education with the right tools.
Not only was this event a delightful experience, but was an educational one as well. I would highly recommend this seminar to wine enthusiasts and amateurs alike. It was one of the highlights of our South Beach Wine and Food Festival experience.