A sommelier (pronounced /sʌməlˈjeɪ/, French pronunciation: [sɔməlje]), or wine steward, is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, commonly working in fine restaurants, who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching. The role is more specialized and informed than that of a wine waiter.
I always thought of a sommelier as a person of distinguishable characteristics… you know the keeper of all the secrets and answers to wine. A person who doesn’t really smile much, a quiet sole much like an introvert.. What was I thinking – where did I pick up on such malarkey… Trust me people come in many flavors and personalities and with that different careers.
The Four Seasons Resort Whistler
Last year 2009 was the first Sommelier competition held in Whistler – I never made it to the event although I do know the winner quite well David Foran… throughout the year I have attended many fund-raising evenings where David was introducing wines and having wine tasting contests…Hosting the 2nd annual Sommelier contest at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler was the perfect venue – David happens to be the Wine Director at FSRW… I received an invitation to the event and am very happy I was able to attend…and bring a friend with me from Venezuela.
Blind Wine Tasting
The evening started outside under the decadent tent that they have in the gardens at the Four Seasons, it is a beautiful atmosphere and the evening air was warm & sunny. The contestants were seated at a white linen table with empty wine glasses and a bucket for placing the savoured wine..Sitting across from the contestants were the distinguished celebrity judges: Chris Quinlan, Nicole Fitzgerald and Guitar Doug from the Hairfarmers…The Master Sommelier and MC was none other than Mark Davidson the head of Wine Australia.
Benjamin Bureau – Fairmont Chateau Whistler http://www.fairmont.com/whistler
Jeff Woodell – Hy’s http://www.hyssteakhouse.com/hys-whistler.html
Samantha Rahn – Araxi http://www.araxi.com/
Jamie May – Whistler Tasting Tours (Formerly BearFoot/Araxi)
Eric Blouin – Lanigan & Edwards (Formerly BearFoot)
Luc Trottier – Quattro http://www.quattrorestaurants.com/
Joanne Digeso – Sidecut Four Seasons http://www.fourseasons.com/whistler/dining/sidecut/
David Foran – Sidecut Four Seasons
Michael Kompass – The Beer and Wine Store
Each contestant was poured a few ounces of wine from nine different brown paper bags and then given about 35 minutes to decide if the wine was new or old world style, country, region, sub region, grape variety, vintage, year…. While the audience enjoyed the banter going on back and forth our servers came around with Black Mouth Salmon, Rib Eyes cubes and venison appetizers all compliments of Sidecut Four Seasons…
When the Blind Tasting was complete Mark opened the floor to Jeopardy, while most contestants quickly raised their flags to show they had the answers to the question 9 out of 10 times they forgot to answer in the form of a question… ???????
When the contestants could not answer the question Mark went to the audience, you had a chance to win a bottle of wine if you answered the question correctly. We never found out who was winning, but the laughter from the contestants indicated everyone was ahead.
Now here is where I realized how much fun these contestants could really be, they all went in the back and when they returned they each came out in costume…. Jesus was there with his cross to saber the champagne, Sam from Araxi was a very sassy cowgirl, there were construction workers, Ninja’s with swords and the Great Greek Wine Goddess DIONYSOS ….each character was given the opportunity to sabre for distance and accuracy while wielding the most creative sabering tool.
In the end the coveted crown went to Joanne Digeso the wine student at SideCut…. and she blushed as she accepted her prize donated from Riedel http://www.riedel.com/ a $450 Swan Decanter plus a gift from the Four Seasons of a stay and dinner at Sidecut… It was a fun-filled evening and one which gave each person a little more wine knowledge then they arrived with… I will be happy to attend next year..
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