Wolfgang Puck’s Sommelier Smackdown Event Is An Ethereal Experience

Wolfgang Puck's Sommelier Smackdown Event Is An Ethereal ExperiencePhoto Credit: Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

I’ve attended wine tastings before, but none like the Sommelier Smackdown at Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Downtown Summerlin with sommeliers headlining the main event.

I may not know everything about food and wine, but I know great food and wine. I may not know everyone, but I’m always surrounded by extraordinary company. And, though I don’t consider myself a critic of any sort, I am a connoisseur of a good time. So, can I even call this an event? It’s more of an experience. It’s something out of a Sofia Coppola film with a Wayne Wang movie feel.

The mere presence of a sommelier symbolizes aristocracy. In my opinion, having sommeliers in a contemporary world are the most ethereal for diners to experience. Here’s why: Sommeliers have been providing services since the 1300s to nobles and royalty ensuring they were free from being poisoned. From the 1700s to now, they are celebrated for their excellent knowledge of food and wine procurements. It speaks volumes about the utmost appreciation the Wolfgang Puck team has for its customers.

Master sommeliers at the Sommelier Smackdown are presented with a challenge. They are prohibited from tasting the food before bestowing their recommendations. Instead, they are given a peek at Chef Spencer Rudow’s menu for the night.

Wolfgang Puck’s Sommelier Smackdown Event Is An Ethereal Experience
Chef Spencer Rudow.

Photo Credit: Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill Summerlin Facebook

Participating guests become the sommeliers in a sense. Cards are distributed with each sommeliers’ name. They are collected after each meal and later tallied. The sommelier with the most successful wine pairings wins the championship belt for the Best Sommelier in Las Vegas.

Even though the sommeliers carry most of the pressure, the chef is not far behind. People come to eat just as much as they come to drink. It’s Wolfgang after all. The stakes are high. Plus, there’s always some citizen food critic a button away from Yelp. Chef Spencer’s “Squash Soup” was exquisite, but it was his “White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle” cheesecake that had me seeing fireworks.

I was lucky enough to not only taste his creations but to also enjoy his company at my table. Before he arrived, I also had the pleasure of conversing with managing partner, operations and corporate chef of Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group-Las Vegas David Robins. It turns out he’s not only a bonafide musically-inclined badass, but he’s returning to the kitchen next year at Spago by Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas before it closes.

Experiences like these are rare, regal, and a dying breed. It’s something to anticipate and not to be missed. Round 2 of the Sommelier Smackdown is set for Tuesday, Dec. 5, exclusively at Wolfgang Puck’s Bar & Grill in Downtown Summerlin.