TEXSOM

Its like Christmas in August, or, summer camp for wine pros. The tenth anniversary of the Texas Sommelier Conference, AKA TEXSOM, held at the Four Seasons Hotel Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas drew 900 sommeliers and wine enthusiasts to participate in educational seminars, wine tastings and tons of fun networking.

This year  39 Master Sommeliers, 10 Certified Wine Educators and six Masters of Wine presented 23 seminars on beverage topics. Highlights for me included:

  • A panel exploring lesser-known regions of the United States that are making bad-ass wines presented by Sally Mohr MS, Guy Stout MS, Paul Lukacs, Wayne Belding MS, Marguerite Thomas, Kathy Morgan MS, moderated by Alfonso Cevola CSW. The Colorado Syrah and Texas wines stood out for me.
  • A fun session tasting of Napa Valley wines led by Master of Wine Peter Marks who did it Jeopardy style.
  • A tasting of the ridiculously delicious, but impossible to get wines of Portugal led by Master Sommeliers Devon Broglie and Keith Goldston.
  • An incredibly enlightening session on the most dynamic producers in Chile and Argentina presented by Craig Collins MS and Peter Neptune MS, AIWS, CWE.
  • A seminar and tasting on the Italian sparkling wine region Franciacorta led by Charles Curtis MW and Michael Franz, editor of Wine Review Online.
  • And the pièce de résistance, a retrospective tasting of ’75, ’77, ”80, ’87, ’91, ’97, ’05 and 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chappellet Winery with Frederick L. Dame MS, Jay James MS, and Cyril Chappellet. Crazy good wines.

The whole thing is capped off with a Grand Tasting sponsored by the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas where the winner of the Texas’s Best Sommelier Competition is announced. Here are a few images from the Grand Tasting.

My favorite part of the event is talking with Texas winemakers and wine pros from around the world before and after the sessions. Enjoy the images of this spectacular conference.

Disclosure: I was provided a media pass to attend this conference at no charge.

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Joelle Cousins Best Somm

On Monday night, Joelle Cousins, general manager and sommelier of Red Room Lounge, was crowned the 2014  Texas’ Best Sommelier, the sixth winner from Austin in the past 10 years. Austin sommeliers placed first and third in the competition held at TEXSOM, one of the world’s most prominent wine education conferences. The trophy was presented to Cousins by Master Sommelier, Fred Dame, at the TEXSOM Grand Tasting presented by The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas.

Cousins excelled among 25 competitors (including seven others from Austin) in a grueling exam involving proper fine dining service, blind tasting and wine knowledge. She received a scholarship of $2,500 from the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation to be used for a Court of Master Sommeliers certification program.

“I’m thrilled to receive this honor,” said Cousins. “I attribute my success to an incredibly strong and collaborative sommelier community is Austin. We are dedicated to helping each other continually learn more about wine and how we can provide the best possible experience for our customers. It’s great to be able to study with like-minded people who are dedicated to making the wine scene in Austin be the best.”

Rene Fagoaga of the Four Seasons Hotel Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas was the runner up. Austin’s Nathan Fausti of Arro Restaurant, came in third place.

Cousins joins five Austin sommeliers — Devon Broglie, Mark Sayre, June Rodil, Bill Elsey and Scott Ota — who have previously won the coveted prize.

This story was originally published on CultureMap.

Nathan Fausti third place

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Deep Eddy Vodka to open new Hill Country distillery & tasting room

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Rainy Night Wine, 2012 Carmel Road Monterey Pinot Noir

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19 Austin Bars Celebrate Negroni Week, June 2 – 8

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