Wine pros compete on SOMM TV’s “Sparklers”

Cooking competition shows cost a dime a dozen these days, but there aren’t many – or none? – which make wine a central part of the equation. sparklers, a new series from the SOMM TV streaming service, does just that, challenging five wine professionals to develop dishes made from a limited range of ingredients in the sparkling wine-producing regions of Oregon, L ‘Italy and France. Spread over 13 half-hour episodes, the format and judgment of each battle changes a bit, sometimes pitting individuals against each other and other times creating team experiences, such as episode two, where one has to look for ingredients while the other is preparing.

The distribution mainly based in Napa – Maryam Ahmed, formerly of the Culinary Institute of America; George Walker III, of Wade Cellars, and Meghan Zobeck, of Burgess Cellars – stars two stars of SoCal: Claire Coppi of Sushi Note in Los Angeles and Matthew Kaner, the famous sommelier of Bar Covell and Augustine who grew up in Santa Barbara . Unlike competitors from other fiercer cooking shows, where the joke borders on angst and anger, the sparklers the stars are extremely collegial and support each other, while also striving to complete each challenge. This pleasant tone makes learning about each region, character and ingredient all the more enjoyable, easy to pair with your own glass of wine at home.

See, which also offers free podcasts, including my recent conversation with Somm franchise founder Jason Wise about the Ocean Fathoms Underwater Wine Project off the coast of Santa Barbara.

The cast of sparklers, from left to right: George Walker III, Maryam Ahmed, Claire Coppi, Meghan Zobeck and Matthew Kaner. | Credit: Courtesy

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