Shayn Bjornholm, examination director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, recounts his blind-tasting triumphs and tells how anyone can sound like a wine expert.
You test would-be Master Sommeliers on their wine knowledge. What tips would you give everyday wine drinkers who want to learn more about wine?
First, have faith in your own taste. Look, the minute you bite into a burger, you know if you like it or not. Doesn’t matter if Guy Fieri made it or Daniel Boulud. Wine’s the same.
What regions should people concentrate on first?
Start with the classic regions—they’ve figured out their identities over hundreds and hundreds of years. So learn about Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Napa, and the Mosel in Germany. That gives you parameters so you can say, “OK, this is the standard. If I taste the rest of the world, I have these as a yardstick.”