Congratulations to Hunter Hammett, sommelier at The Pyramid Restaurant and Bar, for winning a prize for wine writing in Wine Australia’s 2011/2012 Sommelier Immersion Program. He won an all expenses paid trip to Australia for two weeks accompanied by sommeliers from nine other US cities. During his visit, Hammett will be spending his time pretty much like any other tourist in that huge country: he will be visiting just about every major Australian wine producing area (except Tasmania), which means traversing distances between regions as far apart as are Florida and Oregon. Meals will be cooked at the dozens of wineries, wines tasted will sometimes cost several hundred dollars a bottle, and he won’t even have time to watch the water swirl anticlockwise as it exits the sink or stare up at the sky and ponder “someone stole the north star…”
To wine this prize, Hammett and other Dallas sommeliers took six in-depth classes held at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas. They were tested in preparing food and wine pairings based on several supplied menus and an essay on some aspect of Australian wine. In his essay, Hammett chose to compare and contrast Australian Riesling from the Clare Valley with Riesling in Germany (where it is known as ‘The King of Grapes’).
Update: I just heard that two Dallas sommeliers won the prize. The other one was Anthony Martinez of the Gaylord Texan. Congratulations to Anthony as well.