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Pop Quiz: Food and Wine Pairing with Sancerre

Pop Quiz: Mastering the Advanced Sommelier Exam

I have been studying for the Advanced Level Court of Master Sommelier exam for the last two years. Although I am not totally ready to take the grueling test today, I do already have the criteria I’ll need to eventually pass it. All I need to do is to study it. One of the areas that I am studying right now takes place during the service portion of the exam where I discuss food and wine pairings.

While taking the exam, I’ll be tasked with the job of serving  table full of Master Sommeliers who will be grilling me with all kinds of random and weird wine questions. At some point, they’ll mention a bottle of wine from a specific appellation (or wine growing area) and I’ll be expected to rattle off the grape, the producer/winemaker, the wine’s flavor characteristics, the great vintages, and food pairings from the country it came from. The truly tricky part is when they expand the wine pairing part of the question to include country’s cuisine. Then this is when the nerves kick in and mistakes happen. Hence the studying…!

What to Pair with Sancerre

For this week’s Wine Craft, I’m basically bringing the food and wine pairing portion of my upcoming Advanced Sommelier exam to life, just in a slightly easier, slightly less stressful way. I’m taking a Sancerre from the Loire Valley, France, (which is always Sauvignon Blanc, remember!) and creating pairings using dishes from three different countries or cultural influences: American, Japanese, and Mexican. You’ll see how I break down the wine’s characteristics and evaluate the ingredients of potential dishes to create a super delicious pairing.


Domaine Fouassier Sancerre Clos Paradis 2014 $25: BUY ME


  1. Chicken Tostadas with Queso Fresco: MAKE ME
  2. Chicken and Goat Cheese Quesadilla: MAKE ME
  3. Shrimp Tacos with Pickled Onions: MAKE ME


  1. Salmon: MAKE ME
  2. Grilled Chicken Skewers: MAKE ME
  3. Japanese Scallop Soup with Ramen Noodles: MAKE ME


  1. Lemon-Herbed Chicken: MAKE ME
  2. Lemongrass Mignonette and Raw Oysters: MAKE ME
  3. Artic Char: MAKE ME





Mario LunaMario Luna sommelier is a Certified Sommelier and owner of Mario Luna Somm, a company that produces online wine courses, blogs, and other user-friendly content full of information perfect for the everyday wine drinker. He lives in Las Vegas where, in addition to working on the famous Las Vegas Strip, he serves as a consultant for large-scale wine events, specialty shops, and all kinds of wine tastings. You can contact Mario at his website or check out his courses here.



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