No Texas Sommeliers Pass Master Sommelier Exam This Round
The white smoke has been spotted above the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas: a new Master Sommelier has been named. Kathryn Morgan, now of Washington, D.C, passed the final leg of her exams to earn the Court of Master Sommelier’s highest title. She joins Texans Drew Hendricks (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse), James Tidwell (Four Seasons Las Colinas), Barb Werley (Pappas Bros. Steakhouse) and Guy Stout (Glazer’s Distributors, Houston)
Here’s a little about Morgan, from her Web site:
Kathryn Morgan grew up in the presence of fine wine and great food. The only child of a wine collector and an amateur chef, she was hooked at first sniff. After nearly ten years as a top sommelier in the Washington D.C. area, she now shares her passion for wine and cuisine with others by consulting for restaurant wine programs, educating the general public, and mentoring other local sommeliers.
Kathryn’s career is marked with an excellent and consistent track record for improving perception, as well as increasing the sales and profitability of restaurant wine programs. Under her direction, the historic Occidental, Ristorante Tosca, and 2941 Restaurant won local and national recognition for their wine lists. In addition to her professional experience, Kathryn has spent her free time learning from Master Sommeliers in some of the best restaurants in the country – having briefly worked on the floor in Aspen’s Montagna at the Little Nell, L’Escalier at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Mary Elaine’s at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.
Kathryn is currently an active candidate for the Master Sommelier diploma. In 2003, she passed the challenging advanced level examinations, and has passed two of the three section of the Master Sommelier Exam.
And here’s what the exam covered (from the Court’s Web site)
The Master Sommelier Diploma Examination is similar in format and content to that of the Advanced Sommelier Examination in that it consists of three parts: a theory examination (an oral examination and not written), a blind tasting of six wines, and a practical wine service examination. The minimum passing score for each of the three sections is 75% as opposed to 60% for the Advanced Exam. Students have three consecutive years to pass all parts of the examination. Thus a student who passes one or two parts may retake those he or she failed in during the next two years. If all three parts are not passed during a three year period the entire exam must be retaken. Members of the examining panel are Master Sommeliers chosen by the Examinations Committee and the Director of Education.
The candidate is required to wear professional working attire and to also provide all tools of the sommelier trade for the examination. The candidate should exhibit a high standard of both technical and social skills throughout the examination, and demonstrate the courtesy and charm of a Master Sommelier. It is also essential that the candidate demonstrate excellent salesmanship.
Who can take the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination?Students who pass the Advanced Course (on the average about 25%-30%) are eligible to take the Master Sommelier Examination itself. The pass rate for the Master Sommelier Examination is approximately 10%.Part 1. Practical Restaurant Wine Service and Salesmanship
- Discuss, recommend and serve aperitifs, displaying a thorough knowledge of their ingredients and production methods as well as the ability to serve them correctly.
- Select, prepare and position glassware necessary for the service of all beverages in the lounge, restaurant, or private function room.
- Discuss menu content and wine list, recommending wines to accompany a wide range of foods; displaying a sound knowledge of the products, their vintages and characteristics.
- Present, offer, prepare, (decanting when necessary) and serve wines, demonstrating a high degree of efficiency and proficiency.
- Present, offer, prepare and serve brandies, liqueurs and other spirits, including knowledge of the proper serving portions for each.
- Handle questions and complaints with skill, elegance and diplomacy.
Part 2. Theory: what does the Sommelier need to know?
- Speak with authority on the wine areas of the world and their products.
- Know the principal grape varieties used in winemaking and the areas of the world where they are cultivated.
- Answer questions on international wine laws, including the European Community, United States, Australia and other global wine regions.
- Display knowledge of fortified wines, their vinification, storage and handling.
- Describe the various methods of distillation and the making of spirits and liqueurs, as well as the process of making beers and ciders and the reasons for the variations in style between different products.
- Knowledge of cigar production, with special reference to Havanas, will be required.
- Discuss how the products should be properly stored to ensure that they remain in the optimum condition.
Part 3. Practical Tasting
The tasting examination is scored on the candidate’s verbal abilities to clearly and accurately describe six different wines. Within twenty-five minutes he or she must:
- Identify, where appropriate, grape varieties, country of origin, district and appellation of origin, and vintages of the wines tasted.