• Advice to Students for the CMS Certified Exam

    The Certified Sommelier Examination was introduced in December of 2005. Previously students who passed the MS Introductory examination could apply directly to the Advanced Course after waiting the required years’ time.  More often than not first time students did poorly on the Advanced Exam for any number of reasons. Each student is unique so the three parts of the examination will always pose different challenges…

    • 30 Jan 2014
  • Sight Unseen

    Part I: Using Visual Constructs to Calibrate the Structure of Wine

    In Master Sommelier classes and tasting examinations we ask students to assess the structural components of wine, specifically the levels of residual sugar, alcohol, acidity and tannin as well as the length and quality of the finish.  Further, we ask them to use a scale which ranges from low on one end to high on the other with increments in between.  The…

    • 15 Aug 2012
  • Tasting Exam Advice

    Many students and fellow Master Sommeliers (including me) consider the tasting exam to be by far the most challenging of the three segments of the overall examination.  With that I’ve coached an untold number of students taking the tasting exams at both the Advanced and Master’s level over the years.  Here’s a summary of advice and suggestions I’ve commonly given to those preparing for the exams.…

    • 30 Jun 2012
  • Chianti Classico 2000 Project

    While in Tuscany last December I had dinner in Greve with Daniele Rosellini, chief enologist for the Chianti Classico Consorzio. More importantly, Daniele was a major part of the Chianti Classico 2000 project, a project that spanned 16 years and continues to alter the landscape for viticulture and winemaking in one of the world’s most well-known wine regions.

    Rosellini began by saying that the clones of Sangiovese…

    • 16 Feb 2012
  • My Recent Trip to Prosecco

    Last month I had an opportunity to spend two days in the Conegliano-Valdobbiadene region of the Veneto and experience Prosecco Superiore DOCG first hand.  It was everything I didn’t expect: a gorgeous, rural landscape dotted with small villages and with vineyards so steep it was if we were in the middle Mosel.  What also quickly became apparent was the monumental gap between worlds of simple Prosecco DOC and Prosecco…

    • 19 Jan 2012