Comstock's magazine 0319 - March 2019 - Page 46

n TASTE SOMM KIND OF WONDERFUL Sacramento restaurateur becomes first local woman to earn prestigious Advanced Sommelier title BY Daniel Barnes PHOTOS: Joan Cusick I Allora co-owner Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou is one of only three Sacramento wine profession- als to become an Advanced Sommelier. 48 | March 2019 n attaining the title of Advanced Som- melier, Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou be- came one of only three Sacramento wine professionals and the first local woman to reach the coveted status. The Sacramento native and co- owner of Woodlake Tavern, Uptown Pizza Kitchen, and the wine- and sea- food-focused Allora aced the grueling three-day exam on her first attempt in July 2017, despite the test’s 75 percent fail rate. After devoting hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars, Mandalou says she’s proud to have done what most peo- ple before her had not: pass. “It’s a huge investment of time and money and emotional energy and sac- rifice,” she says. And Mandalou isn’t done studying yet — passing the Ad- vanced Sommelier exam puts her three- fourths of the way toward becoming a Master Sommelier, a level that only 138 men and 26 women have reached in the Americas chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Why do successful wine profession- als devote so much time, energy and money toward the quest for a largely ceremonial title? For many people, it’s a status symbol or a career booster. But Mandalou is driven by a voracious ap- petite for knowledge and competitive accomplishment, as well as desire to el- evate Sacramento’s wine scene and the profile of its sommeliers. “We worship our chefs and bartend- ers, and rightfully so, but we also have this booming community of sommeliers that are putting together really thought- ful lists,” Mandalou says. “Sacramen-