A sommelier is a wine steward or a professionally trained wine taster usually employed by a fine dining establishment. There are intense requirements to pass exams to become a sommelier. Steven Poe remembers the pressure of describing and recognizing 6 wines in only 25 minutes. They would have to recognize the grape variety, region of origin, and year. There are three major components to the exam itself. The final exam is invitation only and has a 97% failure rate. According to Rosembaum, recent brain scans reveal that sommeliers do not possess a superior sense of taste or smell but a neurological superpower. As they taste wine, their brains express a more vivid representation of flavor as parts of their brains responsible for taste and smell are enhanced. This activity is centered on the left-hemisphere of the brain which is responsible for analytical processing. These sommeliers’ brain scans were compared to novice wine-tasters.
I found this information so profoundly interesting. The fact that their are only 167 sommeliers worldwide is inconceivable. This number is based on Rosenblum's book See What I'm Saying which was published in 2010. According to The Court of Master Sommeliers, "There are 172 professionals who have earned the title of Master Sommelier as part of the Americas chapter since the organization’s inception. Of those, 144 are men and 28 are women. There are 269 professionals worldwide who have received the title of Master Sommelier since the first Master Sommelier Diploma Exam." (https://www.mastersommeliers.org/about)
I also found this video of one of America's best sommeliers trying $15 wines...it is pretty awesome - enjoy.
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