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Wine Advisor Express:
You be the sommelier

Sommelier ("so-mel-yay") - The wine steward in a fine restaurant, sometimes recognized by the ceremonial tastevin ("taht-van"), a silver tasting cup worn on a ribbon around the neck.

Some people find the sommelier daunting, and some see him as a decadent symbol of wine-and-food snobbery. But this gentleman or lady is there to serve you, answer your wine questions, make recommendations and suggest the wines that might best fit your dinner and your budget. A good sommelier can be your best friend when a wine of non-trivial cost is on the agenda for an evening of fine dining.

For many of us who enjoy wine as a hobby, the idea of jumping into the sommelier's jacket and taking a turn at the tastevin sounds more like fun than work. And so I'm delighted to announce THE GREAT SOMMELIER CHALLENGE.

With the assistance of my friend and associate Hoke Harden and the content partnership of Charlie Trotter's, a noteworthy restaurant in Chicago, we invite you to try your sommelier skills in a friendly, informal and international competition.

Here's how it will work: I have placed a Charlie Trotter's Grand Menu online, along with a replica of the restaurant's basic (under $75) wine list. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to review this information, select three to five wines from the list to match the food, then tell us your choices and why you made them. Our panel and Charlie Trotter's Wine Steward will select winners, who will receive small prizes and great accolades; and we will publish a selection of the most interesting entries on Wine Lovers' Page.

For complete details and the menu and wine list, click to http://www.wineloverspage.com/challenge.

Wine 'Toon Calendar 2002!
Time's running short! Wine Advisor readers have two more weeks pre-reserve our Wine 'Toon Calendar 2002 for only $9.99 plus shipping and handling. After Sept. 1, prices will go up for this unique monthly wall calendar, chock full of wine cartoons, quotes and Web links. Order one now for yourself and more for the wine lovers on your gift list, and you'll be all set for holiday giving! For the details, click to http://www.wineloverspage.com/calendar/2002toon.shtml and order your Wine 'Toon Calendar 2002 today.

Express Notes:
Administrivia

This is Wine Advisor Express, daily edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor, distributed Tuesdays through Fridays. For archives of previous articles, and to read more about wine, visit Wine Lovers' Page, http://www.wineloverspage.com.

To subscribe, change your E-mail address, switch from daily to the weekly (Mondays only) distribution, or for any other administrative matters, E-mail wine@wineloverspage.com. Please be sure to include the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so we can find your record.

Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2001
Copyright 2001 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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