UPDATE (August 19, 2017)
From SOMM: Into the Bottle, an additional opinion ~ “This initial Somm navel gazing ~ the Movie is a great introduction into the behaviors of Master Sommeliers. You’re a fly on the wall, and you might even be intimidated, but you now have the second movie SOMM Into the Bottle as a follow-up. You’ll find a few more that one woman in the movie, and they’ll be more wine proficient than just that one server of wine for the guys. They’re important women in the wine business, with a cadre of wine careers; from a grower, to winemaker, to a wine writer, to a wine educator. Then, there are plenty of guys on the other side of it. But, it is a good progression.”
Somm navel gazing? (November 25, 2015)
Last night, Jose chose a movie. We were both so happy to see Somm in Netflix. We had yet to see it. I love documentaries, so I was ready to love this one.
Something I liked right away from this film… “Study wine, you study history.” I whole heartedly agree.
As I watched, I began to take notes. Initially, I got great inspiration as a photographer. Bring out a piece of flat glass [check], put a really gorgeous stem on the glass [got plenty of those], and pour some red wine into the glass [easy to have Jose do for me]. Catch the still shot. [Yet to do.]
I can see a beautiful Pinot Noir going into the glass. One that’s low alcohol and didn’t sit on the skins to have overpowering colors, flavors, textures and tannins. I knew it would have to come from Russian River Pinot, most likely from Green Valley, where the weather is cool and gentle on the Pinot grapes… leaving them with a good amount of transparency.
Yes! I was off and running, inspired and satisfied. I loved the photography that followed… a snail on a leaf… I’ve had so many in my back yard that I’ve had to go on a rampage. I could have kept a local restaurant in Escargot supply forever, if I had had the inclination. But, that would mean that these snails (brought over by the French) would still be running a muck in my back yard. Yet, the photo was beautiful and reminded me how fortunate I am to be living in wine country. Images of harvest, cutting and dropping clusters, hand sorting, a wine thief, a riddler, nitrogen being inserted into the neck of a wine bottle, adding foils… All very interesting, and the passion we’ve all developed in the wine business.
They had me right up to the Somm now having to learn to “do the service.”
Part 1 ~ Theory
Part 2 ~ Service
Part 3 ~ Blind tasting
I believe it was an injustice to have Fred Dane being the recipient of that “service,” because he either played a pompous ____ (fill in the blank) customer, or it might turn out that he is one… based on his insistences. He was demanding that his wine be served MORE chilled… and, of course, it was a red wine, not a white. (Optimal temp for “tasting” all wines is in the 50 to 60 degree range, but would I berate a wait server? I might ask, but I’d never become my father… not for a minute.) So, was he just pretending to be an obstinate customer, or was it for real? It was hard to tell where the line would be drawn, because all other things that followed I found to bore me… Yes, I began to fall asleep, so I didn’t finish this movie. It had lost me for all of its navel gazing that followed. It seemed to me, in my humble opinion, that this movie depicts the process as a guy’s answer to a wine football game: A goal post, players, referees, an object to bounce around, a finish line, and an occasional cheerleader (femininely poised to support these guys).
In my mind, wine is for enjoyment, not outsmarting my friends and colleagues. The drive to competitively be the best of the best isn’t in my play book, when it comes to wine. I just challenge myself, not against anyone else. Somm takes learning about wine to such a competitive field, with the ingredients being traded for sports paraphernalia, that it’s not my cup o’wine… And, I also don’t believe that this film completely represents all somms.
Does it bother me that this film is only about men? Sure does, because there are so few women in this movie, except in that supporting role I just mentioned above. Might as well call this a “guy flick,” so I’m off to watch Sex in the City… all while I enjoy the wine I choose, while the girls lunch and talk about life… not the region their wine came from, not trying to identify their wine as, “A wine from California, from Russian River Valley, from a notable producer…”
Anyone could guess notable producer, by the way. Somms don’t taste commodity wines and then rave about them.