16 November 2019

Weekend Cooking: Somm 3 (Documentary)

Review of Somm 3I really enjoyed the documentaries Somm, which followed four men on the quest to earn their master sommelier diplomas, and  Somm: Into the Bottle, which told us 10 stories about wine from different perspectives.

Somm 3, directed by Jason Wise (2018), has two main threads: a blind taste testing of Pinot Noir held in New York with a group of some of the best wine experts from around the world and a gathering of three wine gurus who hold a different kind of tasting in Paris.

The documentary starts off with some discussion of the yeas and nays of blind tasting: what is the value and why? Wise then goes on to talk about the Judgment of Paris, which was the famous blind taste testing held in 1976 when--to the shock of the world--two California wines beat the best of the French vineyards. At the time, blind tastings were not very common.

Somm 3 then takes us to New York, where master sommelier Dustin Wilson (whom we met in the earlier films) hosts a different kind of judgment day, in which he asks some of the current best tasters in the world to gather for a blind tasting of six red wines. This time, all the wines are Pinot Noir/Burgundy and were made in the United States, France, Australia, and Chile (I think). Wilson asked his guests not to identify the wines but to simply pick their top three.

Review of Somm 3It was interesting to listen in as the tasters discussed the wines and then to see their reactions when the winning wines were revealed. This exercise again showed that more affordable New World wine (if you consider $50 a bottle affordable) holds up well to the esteemed French Burgundy, which is often well outside most people's wine budget.

Meanwhile Somm 3 introduces us to the three wine greats. First up is Jancis Robinson, a British wine critic and writer who has never been in the wine business. She has, however, written some of the most important books about wine we have, is a master sommelier, and is very well respected.

Second, we meet sommelier Fred Dame, who has one of the best palates in the world. He is well know for winning awards for developing impressive restaurant wine lists. Third is Steven Spurrier, the man behind the famous Judgment of Paris. Together these three shaped the modern wine industry and our relationship with wine. They meet up in Paris, each bringing along the wine that changed their lives, that gave them that ah-ha moment when they saw what wine could be and turned their life's attention to the drink.

Review of Somm 3It was amazing that they could find the exact wine that made them who they are today . . . they probably drank many people's yearly salary in that sitting. As they shared those wines with each other, they talked about why that wine means so much to them and whether it held up after such a long cellaring.

Then Wilson served them the top three winners from the New York experiment, had them blind taste the wines, and asked their opinions. Very interesting results!

One of the overriding themes of Somm 3 is how blind tastings, ratings, and critics have changed the wine business over the last 40 years or so. Still, the final lesson is always to drink what you like, find a critic whose tastes are similar to yours, and trust your instincts.

Somm 3 will appeal to wine lovers of all kinds. I hope this isn't the final documentary in the series, I would love to see more from Jason Wise about the wine world. Here's the trailer:

Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

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Mae Travels 11/16/19, 6:35 AM  

Somm 3 appears to be available on Amazon Prime Video -- I just might watch it, even though it's not included in my Prime subscription (It's $4.99). You made all 3 documentaries sound very worthwhile!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

GypsyPlate 11/16/19, 7:03 AM  

I've never heard of this, sounds interesting. Have a great weekend!

bermudaonion 11/16/19, 8:27 AM  

I don't know much about wine but do enjoy a glass of it from time to time. A peek into the world of the sommelier sounds fascinating.

Tina 11/16/19, 8:37 AM  

This sounds very interesting. I loved the book Cork Dork so I know I would love this series.

jama 11/16/19, 8:53 AM  

I've always been intrigued by tasters, whether for wine or chocolate. To have such a sensitive, refined palate! The documentaries look interesting, especially Somm 3.

Jackie McGuinness 11/16/19, 10:18 AM  

While I enjoy my wine, I am definitely not a wine expert or snob.

Out to lunch yesterday and a glass of red was $10!

Deb in Hawaii 11/16/19, 11:20 AM  

I watched the first movie but have not seen the other two. I definitely want to now after reading your post. So interesting! ;-)

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 11/17/19, 7:14 AM  

I will look for these. My nephew is a sommelier, and I'm fascinated with his work.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 11/17/19, 11:07 AM  

We have become food documentary fans watching them with keen interest. This would be another good one, I am not really sure what one does in this job...

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