Master Sommelier James Tidwell from Cafe on the Green at The Four Seasons in Las Colinas files this report:
This past Monday and Tuesday (June 8 & 9), 23 other Texans and I judged over 500 wines during the 26th Annual Lone Star International Wine Competition. I’m probably going to hear “It’s a tough job, but….” However, the sober and serious judges consisted of sommeliers (Paul Botamer of Fearing’s, Michael Flynn of Mansion on Turtle Creek, Hunter Hammett of Pyramid Restaurant, and Luigi Santos of Bob’s Steak and Chop House in Grapevine), restaurant owners, retailers, wine distributors and a number of wine writers and bloggers (Alfonso Cevola, Jeff Siegel, Renie Steves and Russ Kane), under the direction of Co-Chairs Barbara Werley MS of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and Michael Zerbach. The wines were divided into over 30 categories and tasted blind. No, we weren’t wearing blindfolds. We were given anywhere from three to 12 glasses at a time with no knowledge of what we were tasting except the grape variety and vintage of the wines. Then, each panel of five judges would vote on whether each wine rated a gold, silver, bronze or no medal. Arguments insued, fisticuffs were avoided. At the end, 26 gold, 81 silver, and 172 bronze medals were awarded to wines from 14 states and several foreign countries. In addition, we voted for the Texas Rising Star Award which recognizes a white and a red wine from Texas wineries less than three years old. I would love to tell you the winners, but you’ll have to await the official announcement from the Texas Wine and Grapegrowers Association on June 19th. I will tell you that I learned one important lesson…Texas is producing some delicious wines. So, GO TEXAN.
UPDATE: Results were released late this afternoon. New this year was a category for Texas wineries that have been in business for three years or less. Titled the Texas Vintner’s Rising Star Award, it was sponsored by owner and long time wine maker of Messina Hof Winery & Resort, Paul Bonarrigo. It was awarded to recognize fine Texas wine made from new, up and coming wine makers and encourage more new wineries to enter their products. There were six new wineries that fit the criteria. An award was presented for the best red wine and the best white wine, which were judged separately on the final day of judging. This year’s winners of the Texas Vintner’s Rising Star Awards were KE Cellars (Tyler) for their 4 U Syrah, 2007 red table wine and Enoch’s Stomp Vineyard & Winery (north of Longview) for their Blanc du Bois Off-Dry white, 2008. WAY TO GO EAST TEXAS!