Originally Posted by Piobaire
If you look at the two formats the only real difference is that the certified is bracketed by the varietals but the methodology is the same.
Yes, the methodology is the same; but the Certified grid has a very abbreviated section on the appearance of the wine, and they've collapsed the nose and flavor elements of the palate into one section.
As the Court is only going to give certified level folks certain varietals in the first place officially bracketing the varietals better guides students in their tasting practice. As I mentioned to CB above so many people want to start going to esoteric varietals or examples that are atypical and somm students are no different. This helps prevent that from occurring and I think is actually a smart move. Let the Master candidates worry about discerning Gelber Muskateller from Malvasia Istriana.
This is true. Kind of apropos of this, I was familiar with the list of testable varieties for the Advanced exam, and I assumed that the list was the same for the Master exam. I then saw an episode of Uncorked (the Esquire TV series last year from the makers of Somm -- same basic premise with different principal characters and a longer format) where one of the characters was at a competition and called Fiano for one of the white wines. I was confused because Fiano was on no list of testable varieties I had ever seen, and I asked the head wine guy at the place I go, who was a Master candidate at the time (he since has passed). He said that the list for Master list contains more esoteric stuff than the Advanced, and oh, by the way, that wine in the competition was indeed Fiano.
The choke point for afficiandos vs. industry folks in the certified is the service component. Not only do you need to physically do service properly you need to do it while keeping up a running patter with the mock guests as they pepper you with questions about everything from Amaros to cigar choices.
I think another advantage that most industry folks will have over non-industry people is that they're part of the club: in most cases, it's a lot easier for them to get into serious study groups and find higher-level sommeliers who are willing to work with them on their tasting (and service) and pour lots of really good wine to help them develop.