Before I turn my attention to writing about my Loire Valley trip, I have a quick announcement: I am very excited and still shell-shocked to have passed my Advanced-level Sommelier exam on the very first try! A few days after returning from France I flew to Philadelphia for a week with The Court of Master Sommeliers. After a rigorous, three-day exam focused on wine theory, blind tasting, and service, I am now officially a Master Sommelier candidate. Of the eight out of sixty-two candidates who passed, five of them were women, which may or may not reflect a trend pointed out recently by Zachary Sussman in the Wall Street Journal. (http://on.wsj.com/1WcXcN7)
I find it very gratifying that for such a competitive field everyone is so supportive of each other and generous with their time and knowledge. I really believe this sense of community reflects the convivial quality inherent to wine and its enjoyment. I don't think I would have survived the week without NYC sommelier and friend, Sarah Sutel. I was also lucky enough to celebrate with a new group of somm friends on Thursday - Xavier, Jessica, Christine, Ashley, Sabrina - who welcomed me warmly and showed me around Philadelphia. Xavier invited all of us to his house and brought out some great wines from Chateau Musar, Lopez de Heredia and E. Guigal. Back home in LA I rely on help and guidance from Valentino Sommelier and teacher Paul Sherman and the rest of my tasting group. And like everything else in my life, I couldn't do any of it without the constant love and support from my husband Neil and our dog Clea the Barbet.
Receiving my certificate and pin from the Master Sommeliers.