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Wine And Food Pairing World Championships

andreas_larsson.jpgAnnoucer 1: Jim, here comes the next contestant, Andreas Larsson, former winner of the Sommelier of Sweden award, and finalist several years running for the International Sommelier of The Year award.

Announcer 2: Yes Dave, he's looking alert and trim in his tux by Lloyds of London.

Announcer 1: Jim, don't you think those little bibs they all have to wear this year make the overall effect a little, well, lame?

Announcer 2: Shut up Dave.

Announcer 1: Right. Sorry.

Announcer 2: Rumor has it that his routine tonight will consist of the incredibly difficult Two Dishes, One Wine maneuver, where he tries to select one bottle of wine for two very different courses. He'll certainly get points for technical difficulty.

Announcer 1: Larsson's trainers say that he's been practicing this maneuver for at least 6 months in each major culinary capital of the world. If a Sommelier was ever ready for this feat, he would be the one.

Announcer 2: Let's hope the Russian Judge goes easy on him. You'll remember at the 2000 event he was marked down for his --

Announcer 1: (breaking in): Sorry to interrupt Jim, but here's the set up! The waiter has placed down the two plates!

Announcer 2: Oh my God, Dave, what have we got here ?!? Is that the 80 Clove Garlic Rabbit!?

Announcer 1: Yes Jim, and if that weren't hard enough, it's been paired with a Smoky Bacon and Pumpkin Soup. This is going to be quite a challenge.

Announcer 2: Larsson looks calm though, and....here he goes.... reaching for his pen. He's writing quickly and determinedly.

Announcer 1: Yes, he certainly seems confident. Let's see what he has chosen.

Announcer 2: Holy Cow. In a daring choice, Larsson has selected the 2004 Hirtzbirg Honivogl Grüner Veltliner Smaragd from Austria.

Announcer 1: The wine steward has poured him a glass. He's sniffing. He has no balks tonight, so he could still send it back and select another wine without losing points.

Announcer 2: No, he's decided. A quick nod of his head. He's ready.

Announcer 1: It's now being poured for the judges..... they are drinking it....and taking bites of the dishes....

Announcer 2: Remember, Dave, he has to beat Yishay Malkov's 27.4 points in order to take the championship this year.

Announcer 1: The judges have rendered their scores.... they're being tallied by the Maitre 'd.

[highly charged silence]

Announcer 1: THIRTY ONE! THIRTY ONE OUT OF FORTY! He's done it! Andreas Larsson has won Sommelier of The Year in a decisive victory.

Announcer 2: He looks relieved.

* * *

OK. Maybe that's not quite how it went. But it did sound like an interesting competition. Congratulations to Andreas Larsson, 2005 International Sommelier of The Year.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud