Do you like to watch, or do you prefer the real thing? Somm, the popular wine tasting documentary, has been out since 2012 and follows a group of four hopefuls studying for “the hardest test you’ve never heard of” -- their Master Sommelier certification. In history only 230 people have passed this test (even if in this case it turns out history only goes back to 1969 it works out to a pretty exclusive pass rate of only about 10%).
For wine lovers who have wondered about the world of bibbing and quaffing at its most esoteric level there are some stretchy similes thrown around by the earnest foursome as they cram their flash cards prepping for the exam which will require them to blind taste wines and identify them not just by varietal but down to the vineyard, vintage, and the winery: “freshly opened can of tennis balls” for a Riesling says one, while a companion offers “pool toy” as her favorite descriptor. The film is solidly put together, gradually increasing in tempo and tension and even provides an unexpected twist at the end.
Somm: Into the Bottle, released last year, follows up with an overview of the history, culture, and lore of wine— a picture of what goes into making wines deserving of the respect and minute analysis the first film captures. Both are available on Netflix. How about popping a bottle from your latest wine club offering, then curling up on the sofa to watch others tie themselves in knots over one of the great pleasures in life: a glass of wine.