Director Jason Wise has vintners and other experts chime in with ingenuity and humor about the perplexity of wine—its history, its vulnerability to everything: microbes, weather, technology, soil, human error, genetics, politics. The Court of Master Sommeliers, since its first exam in 1969, demands that anyone wearing its pin understand it all deeply. Still, the film maintains a sluggish calm, like its mellow jazz soundtrack, and suffers from following four players with similar stories. Worse, while Wise interviews a couple of the 19 female Master Sommeliers in North America (out of 133), the all-boys focus leaves wives and girlfriends to complain about wine-widowhood and nasty spit-bucket cleanup. But Somm caters well to foodies and to anyone who’d like to see a sommelier do more than point to the menu and pop the cork.
June 28-July 4, 2013