Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Louisville Sommelier Selected for Mariani Wine Enrichment Program Scholarship

Scott Harper, beverage director and sommelier for the Bristol Bar and Grille, has been selected by the Court of Master Sommeliers to participate in the 2009 Mariani Wine Enrichment Program. Harper will travel to Italy this fall for the weeklong curriculum of wine tastings and agricultural and historic site visits designed to instill in its participants a profound knowledge of Italian food and wine.

The Guild of Sommeliers, a division of the Court of Master Sommeliers, selects only five Master Sommelier candidates per year to experience the Mariani Wine Enrichment Program. The participants are housed on the grounds of the Mariani family's Castello Banfi, a vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello di Montalcino region of Tuscany. Castello Banfi has been named Italy's Premier Vineyard Estate at the VinItaly wine fair for 11 consecutive years, and has been featured as Winery of the Year by both Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits Magazine. The group will also travel to Rome and other regions to experience Italian culture and such points of interest as olive oil and cheese producers, farms and architectural landmarks. Harper's agenda will include a competitive tasting of Brunello di Montalcino, a tour of the Giovanni F. Mariani Museum of Glass and Wine and a cooking lesson with a Montalcino citizen

Scott Harper is working on earning his Master Sommelier title from the Court of Master Sommeliers. He has already gained the title of Certified Wine Educator (CWE), which acknowledges an exceptional standard of both academic knowledge and sensory capability in the field of wine. There are four separate levels and exams that must be passed before becoming a "Master Sommelier," and Harper needs only complete the last, which is only available to attempt once each year. The steps involve written, taste and service tests. In order to even try to complete the last step, one must be invited by the Court of Master Sommeliers. This title is the most prestigious one in the world of wine, as there are less than 100 people in the United States that can call say that they are Master Sommeliers.

Always doing his best to educate and give back to the community, Harper teaches wine courses through the continuing education program at Bellarmine University and also writes the wine column for Sophisticated Living Louisville. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the American Institute of Wine and was presented the Banfi Award, given to the individual who passes the CWE examination on the first sitting, and with the highest score.

The Bristol Bar and Grille has been Louisville's dining tradition since 1977. All five existing locations are open for lunch and dinner daily, and the Jeffersonville location also offers breakfast. Locations and phone numbers are: Highlands (502) 456-1702; Downtown (502) 582-1995; Hurstbourne Pkwy (502) 426-0627; Prospect (502) 292-2585 and Jeffersonville (812) 218-1995. For more information, visit www.bristolbarandgrille.com.

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