5 Reasons We Love SOMM 3
The third installment in director Jason Wise’s trilogy about the world of wine and the people behind it may be the best one yet. SOMM 3 uses the art of blind tasting--sipping wine without seeing the label to avoid bias--to educate the viewer and to celebrate personal preference. “People should be drinking what they like and not just what other people tell them they should like,” concludes Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson, who organizes a particularly stunning tasting in the film among three world-famous wine experts.
SOMM 3 will see its first public screening in Solvang, California, Oct. 13, and worldwide release through iTunes on Dec. 11. Here are our top five reasons for watching this 75-minute film, which, we found, pairs nicely with your favorite bottle of wine.
Because this film follows the tasting travails of some of the world’s top wine experts, the stuff they drink is consistently top-notch. American wine drinkers sip quickly; as SOMM 3 reveals, 95% of wines in the U.S. is consumed within eight hours of purchase. Most of the bottles supped in this film, however, are classic, celebrated vintages that have been methodically aged, in some cases, for decades. One of the pivotal wine tastings documented in the film, for example, stars a rare 1959 Les Amoureuses pinot noir from Burgundy, a 1968 Ridge cabernet sauvignon from Napa and a 1908 Cockburn’s Port from Portugal. Oh, to have an extra seat at that table!
If you’re into wine, then the star power in this cast is obvious. If you’re not, you’ll realize quickly that the people you’re watching are, indeed, superstars in their field. A blind tasting in Paris that’s the centerpiece of SOMM 3 brings together famous wine critic Jancis Robinson, famed Master Sommelier (of which there are only 229 in the world) Fred Dame and legendary wine expert Steve Spurrier. Dozens of renowned sommeliers and winemakers star, too. For wine nerds, we’re talking Hollywood-level star power.
It’s An Education
“I have just as many people telling me this film is accessible to everyone as I do telling me it’s just for wine geeks,” admits director Jason Wise. Regardless, a strength of this film is the way it distills key moments in recent history that define global wine consumerism. For example, it explains the significance of the so-called Judgment of Paris in 1976, a blind tasting organized by the aforementioned Mr. Suprrier that pitted California newcomer wines against Bordeaux heavyweights; the underdogs won, forever elevating the world-class status of California wines, and their prices. A look at the birth of the American wine scoring system, the way it’s affected winemaking, and the way it may actually underserve consumers, is fascinating.
It’s a Travelogue
SOMM 3 suggests that the world of wine has changed dramatically in the last few decades: while fine wine may have been relegated to France in the 1970s, it’s now discoverable in every corner of the world. The viewer, then, is transported to many destinations where wines featured in the film were made, from Burgundy to Dorset and from Patagonia to Santa Barbara. As SOMM 3 depicts how wine is defined by place, the viewer embarks on an international journey, captured in sweeping cinematographic fashion by Jackson Myers.
SOMM 3’s greatest accomplishment may be the way it validates the consumer, regardless of wine knowledge. In the film, Mr. Dame blames wine critics for creating “a generation of collectors and consumers who stopped thinking on their own.” Modern-day wine drinkers, instead, are legitimized for their likes and dislikes, even if they buck critics and scores. Even at the highest level – even in Paris, as three wine titans sip blindly, with shocking results – there is “subjectivity in wine,” says Mr. Wise. So the only thing that really matters is, “Do you like it?” Cheers to that!
For more information, check out sommfilms.com.