A sommelier is a knowledgeable wine professional who specializes in all areas of wine service. They often work in fine dining restaurants, hotels, wineries, or wine shops, assisting customers in selecting and enjoying wines that compliment their meals or personal preferences. When offering matching recommendations, they examine factors such as acidity, sweetness, tannins, and the overall balance of a wine. This ability to establish harmonious mixtures improves the eating experience by allowing customers to completely appreciate the flavors of both the cuisine and the wine.
That all being said, Sommeliers have a heightened sense of taste in order for this all to be possible. Although some people are born sensitive to different tastes, a lot of Sommeliers undergo sensory training programs that focus on enhancing their ability to identify and describe the various components of a wine, such as acidity, sweetness, tannins, and aromas. These programs include exercises like blind tastings, where sommeliers taste wines without knowing their identities to sharpen their ability to detect subtle differences. From there sommeliers learn about the interplay of flavors and how they interact with various types of cuisine by tasting wines. They can identify which wines will compliment or enhance specific cuisines by examining the flavor profiles of wines. They can use this talent to create balanced and memorable meal and wine pairings that enhance the dining experience.