Well, I did it; I passed the Certified Sommelier Exam! Phew.
I'm not going to lie, it was a little on the stressful side. Part of that stress is all the build-up. As you know, I made it through the Introductory test, and returned on Friday for the Certified exam. The first thing we did at 8:30 in the morning was a blind wine tasting, followed by another theory exam.
I felt pretty good about the blind tasting portion, but the theory exam was really hard and there were a lot of questions that I just had no idea what the answer was, and since they were fill in the blank questions, there is much less of a chance of just guessing the right answer than if the question is multiple choice.
I left the theory exam seriously thinking that I might have failed. And if you fail one part of the test, then you fail the whole test. I had two hours to wait after the theory exam until my service exam, and I went back to my hotel room and seriously debated whether or not it was even worth my returning for the service exam. Of course I knew I would, but I was just feeling incredibly deflated.
After a while, and several phone conversations with Steve, I decided it was fine and that all I could do was relax and enjoy the service portion of the exam. After all, I reminded myself, I was talking about a wine certification; I wasn't, after all, trying to, oh I don't know, devise a whole new health care system.
So I went back for the service portion of the exam and I just didn't worry too much about it. And overall I did well on that section. There were glitches, of course: I had no idea what the base spirit of a Rob Roy was ( I mean seriously, who the hell has ever even HEARD of a Rob Roy?); my Champagne cork popped really loudly; I served one of the imaginary men at the table before i served one of the imaginary ladies; and the examiner asked what country "Pxarelladfesta" was from and I had no idea. That's not really the name of it, of course, but it might as well have been because I had never even heard of it before. Was it a liqueur, a spirit, what? I confessed that I didn't know what it was, and my examiner kind of chuckled, as if to say "You and me both".
I was so relieved when the exam was over, and since we had 2 hours to wait to get the results, we all went to a bar, where many other people told me they thought they had failed the theory portion of the exam, too, so I didn't feel so bad.
I'll say one thing for that testing body: they certainly know how to build tension. They gathered all of us candidates at one end of the exam room, where they proceeded to drag out giving us our results for another sixteen hours. The head tester made a speech, and then another guy made a speech, and then the testing committee thanked us, and then the testing committee thanked each other, and then the testing committee talked about the Court of Master Sommeliers, and then they thanked the school for hosting the exam, and then they thanked Riedel for making glassware and then they thanked the makers of the carpeting in the room of the exam, and then they thanked the sun for shining and the air for having oxygen in it, and then finally, finally, they began to read out the results.
Even the reading of the results is designed to torture you: they read out names in no particular order, and my name was the second to last one called and by the time they said it my heart was pounding and my hands were sweating and I almost dove across the room and scratched one of the examiners eyes out, just to ease some of the tension. But instead I shook his hand, said thank you, took my pin and certificate, and guzzled the glass of champagne we all toasted with.
So now what? I'll tell you in the next post.
Since I am no longer in the class, tasting ten wines every day, and since, let's face it, I'm just not interesting enough to write four posts a week at the moment, I will return to writing new posts Mondays and Thursdays with the wine recommendation on Thursdays.
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