Crushed: The 2nd Annual Somm Slam at the 2011 ICC

December 2011

Hosted by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, the 2nd Annual Somm Slam at the 6th Annual International Chefs Congress (ICC) gave sommeliers, so very polite by profession, the opportunity to grit their grape-stained teeth in a real-time pairing competition. Over three days, our 11 competitors squared off to test their noses, palates, and on-the-fly pairings skills in front of an audience of their peers.

Somm Slam Day 1

Witness as our sommeliers get their first taste of competition. Somm Slam emcee and Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer leads them through their first blind tasting, only to be followed by a (gentle) real-time pairing competition involving three mystery cheeses, and a fairly excruciating round of wine trivia.

Somm Slam Day 2

In the second round, six remaining sommeliers (two in a dead-heat tie) face off in another blind tasting—this time a red—followed by a pairing competition featuring composed, intentionally tricky small plates from Rogue 24 Chef R.J. Cooper.

Somm Slam Day 3

Watch as the two remaining Somm Slam competitors face off in the final day of somm-slamming. After being given four minutes for wine identification, the finalists square off in a pairing battle for complexly flavored Indian dishes from Chef Hemant Mathur—and nothing but competition’s remaining (limited) wine cabinet.