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Milwaukee Film Festival’s Wine-Themed Flick
A documentary outlines the process for the Master Sommelier test.

For wine enthusiasts, the Holy Grail is studying for – and passing – the Master Sommelier test. It’s a rigorous exam consisting of four levels, which is why there are currently only 134 Master Sommeliers in the country (just 19 are women). Worldwide, only 211 candidates have achieved the title. So far, none are in Wisconsin although many wine professionals in the state are in the process of studying for the exam.

Somm is a 2012 documentary inside the process of taking this exam. (In short, it’s not all flutes of celebratory Champagne!) And the film is showing in Milwaukee during the Milwaukee Film Festival. Three show times are offered: Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at Fox-Bay Cinema Grill, Oct. 5 at 9 p.m. at Fox-Bay Cinema or Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. at Landmark Oriental Theatre.

Tickets ($10) go on sale this Thursday through the Milwaukee Film Festival’s website, by calling 414-727-8468 or visiting box offices at Landmark Oriental Theatre, Landmark Downer Theatre or Fox-Bay Cinema.



Envoy Restaurant is one of those places you have to go if you even mildly enjoy stunning architecture, particularly Art Deco. Tucked into the Ambassador Hotel on West Wisconsin Avenue, this restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A wine special is rolled out each Wednesday night: half off any bottle on the list normally costing $100 or less. There are a lot of fun starters on the menu that pair well with wine, including caprese wands (mozzarella on a skewer) and grilled pork ka-pops (skewered pork-tenderloin medallions brushed with pineapple).



The Historic Third Ward morphs into a wine festival when, on Oct. 12 from 2-6 p.m., a handful of eateries will dish out bite-sized food samples and 2-ounce pours of wine. Participating restaurants are Hinterland, Hudson, Graffito, Kasana, Milwaukee Ale House, Club Charlie’s and the Irish Pub. I’m telling you about this a month ahead of this first-annual event – which is being called Wine in the Ward – because tickets are limited. Each costs $40, with proceeds going to Our Space (a non-profit facility helping mentally ill clients), and can be purchased online. Included with the ticket price is a commemorative wine glass and certificates for future dining at the participating restaurants.



I’ve been sipping a lot of New Zealand Pinot Noirs lately, enjoying the shift to a (new) New World region where the flavor profile is akin to Willamette Valley, Oregon. The 2011 Cloudy Bay Vineyards Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand, $39) features fruit-forward, velvety notes that lead into a luscious finish with traces of cocoa and spices. (cloudybay.co.nz)

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