One of the most interesting sessions at this year’s Savor Dallas was a tasting a panel of winemakers and wine experts. The winemakers were Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards, Stephanie Putnam, Director of Winemaking at Raymond Vineyards, Mike Trujillo, the President and Director of Winemaking at Sequoia Grove, and Mike Martini of Louis M. Martini Wines. The other experts were April Cullom, U.S. Brand Ambassador for D.O. Ribera Del Duero (the trade association for wineries in the Ribera Del Duero region of Spain), and Melissa Monosoff , MS who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and specializes in food and wine pairing. The discussion was given spirited moderation by James Tidwell, MS, Wine and Beverage Director of The Four Seasons Resort and Club at Las Colinas and a founder and driving force behind the Texas Sommelier’s Association (TexSom), whose education program was the beneficiary of this seminar.
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A wine by each of the wine makers was tasted by the panel and the audience. The winemaker described how they made it and what they were trying to achieve. Other panel members then commented and audience asked questions. It was enlightening to hear ‘the story behind the wine’ as you actually tasted the same wine. The relaxed, conversational atmosphere is in stark contrast with the hurried exchanges with winemakers at the main tastings at Savor Dallas or similar events. Also, when tasting their wines against others with the other winemakers present, wineries play their A-game by bringing their best wines. Certainly, the wines served this year were a treat. If you could not attend I recommend that you try and attend the similar panel at next year’s Savor Dallas or sign up for TexSom.
2011 Becker Vineyards, Viognier, Texas
2010 Raymond Vineyards Chardonnay, Reserve Selection, Napa Valley, California.
2004 Bodegas y Viñedos O. Fournier Alfa Spiga, Ribero Del Duero, Spain.
2008 Sequoia Grove, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California
2009 Louis M. Martini, Zinfandel, ‘Gnarly Vine – Monte Rosso Vineyard’, Sonoma Valley, California