Traditionally known as a wine waiter, the world of the sommelier is much larger than this. While sommeliers are largely the keepers to the secrets of wine; there are also sommeliers in the fields of spirits, craft beers, teas, and even water. As the term itself has been oversimplified with time; let’s put the definition back on the right path.
1. / noun/ Highly Knowledgeable Stewards
A quick trip around the internet will tell you that a sommelier is someone with a laptop and an affinity for obscure drinks. This is not the new definition we speak of. True sommeliers have dedicated themselves and their palate to becoming the body of knowledge available in their field.
In addition to noting the subtle differences in various drinks; they study how the growing process affects the finished product; from harvest dates creating a different flavor in wine, to the age of hops creating a sharper finish in beer, to the climate necessary to create the perfect scotch. If the balance of minerals in certain spring water gives it the perfect finish – the sommelier simply must know. It is this drive for knowledge which makes up the spirit of a sommelier.
2. / som·me·lier / Novel Communicators
Sommeliers may be some of the best communicators in the world. Not only do they effectively organize drinks with restauranteurs and deliver knowledge to awaiting customers; they do so using the language of the taste buds.
Their wording may seem strange at first (how could anyone taste slate in Riesling?), but taste is not as easily described as sight or sound, is it? Taste is subjective; and the palate of one person has likes and desires another would never dream of; the appreciation of bitterness in tea, for example.
The language of the palate is peculiar to describe with words. Sommeliers spend years with their eyes closed; silently tasting various beverages, searching their memory banks for the word most fitting to the flavor they are indulging in. When a sommelier says a particular beer starts strong and then finishes like a wisp of smoke; close your eyes and give it a shot. You may just learn a new way to communicate.
3. /sɒˈmɛljeɪ/ Passionate Educators
The passion of a sommelier is truly romantic; and they want to share it with anyone ready to hear. Sommeliers spend time trying drinks and creating specialized lists for nearly every pairing imaginable; and then memorizing those lists, to share with anyone who has the same passion as they.
Have you ever wondered which sake will bring out the delicious flavors of choice unagi? A sommelier has conquered that query. Which hand-picked tea will bring out the subtle notes of a world-class scone? Guaranteed, a sommelier knows. And which craft beer will really send that 5-star burger over the edge? There is a list for that. The highly refined palate of a sommelier takes pride in honing in on the subtle flavors which complement and complete one another.
Given the high level of craftsmanship in nearly every field of the 21st century; it is time to take a more expansive view on the term Sommelier.
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November 09 • Best Bars
The world’s Best Bars
What makes a great bar? Is it the ambience, the signature cocktails, the music, the history?
From classic to modern, the list of the best 50 bars around the world ...
November 03 • singani
Singani in the U.S., a Bolivian spirit revolution
It was only made for domestic consumption, as it had for hundreds of years. Produced only in the Bolivian high valleys, singani has been distilled since the 16th century when the Spanish arrived in South America. Initially, it was made from grapevines brought by monks who needed sacramental wine. The name for the drink is believed to come from a village near the mission that first distilled it.
September 29 • Bolivian Wine
Bolivian Wine: from the Andes to your Table
Bolivia may not instantly come to mind when one thinks of wine, but the South American country has a long and rich viticulture history that dates back to the arrival of the Spanish missionaries, who first planted vines around the wealthy silver-mining city of Potosi in the mid-16th century.
September 25 • Coffee Producers
The ‘Arabica’ Whisperer
The best part of waking up? Well, it’s coffee, of course.
Humanity truly runs on this beverage that helps millions of people around the world wake up, work and function. And if it’s of the Arabica variety, its delicious ‘kick’ will keep you going strong all day long.
September 15 • Latino Heritage Month
Raise a toast to Latino Heritage Month
The Empire State Building kicked off Latino Heritage Month by shining red, white and green colors onto the New York skylight on September 15 in honor of the Mexican flag.
August 16 • Music
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison
Jim was quoted in his poetic nature: “Being drunk is a good disguise.” He said. “It means I can talk to assholes.”
May 31 • Civil rights
Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2)
It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic stature thanks to the help of artist like Tupac and Nas, what we don’t know by looking at the surface is that Hennessy has a long standing tradition of supporting people of African decent.
July 15 • shots
The First “Shot” Ever Served: A Tale of the West
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
November 12 • Chile
Todo lo que tienes que saber sobre los nuevos vinos chilenos: nuevas regiones, nuevas variedades y aclamados productores de moda, una SommClass de la experta en vinos Loreto Ruiz.