Matt McCallister is off to a brilliant start. This morning comes word that he is wasting no time in elevating the profile of his newly opened restaurant FT-33. They’ve announced three Monday night dinners featuring a wine pairing by a Master Sommelier from Texas. The cost is $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity for a five-course menu with wine pairings. The talent, times, and dates are below. Continue reading "FT33 To Host Master Sommelier Wine Dinner Series"1 Comment »
Andrew Chalk filed this report yesterday.
It is 9:30am on Sunday morning so I am doing what any rational person would be doing: tasting wine from Bordeaux. The French wine region, in many people’s opinion the most prestigious wine region in the world, produces wines that cost from a few dollars up to over $1,500 a bottle. At Texsom, the annual international wine conference held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving, I am sitting in room filled with wine experts and listening to two Master Sommeliers as they take us through a tasting of eight wines chosen as good examples of middle price range ($20-$100) wine. The quality of the wines was high but I would like to report one of those wines that absolutely blew me away for its likability.
Jump for the joy from Bordeaux. Continue reading "Report From TexSom 2012: A Star From Bordeaux"1 Comment »
Yesterday I attended TexSom, the international wine conference held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving. At lunch I was seated at the same table with a woman named Lindsay (last name redacted) who runs a restaurant in Austin. She tells our table that buying local is critical in Austin. “Chains just don’t survive,” she said referring to restaurants. I asked her whether the same spirit translated into consumer wine choices. After all, Austin is in the center of the Hill Country AVA (American Viticultural Area). “They don’t give a sh*t,” she shot back. Austin is weird. They love their local food movement, but apparently their aren’t many “vine huggers” in the area. Dees this mean Texas wine is lacking some credibility?
Oh you must go below to know. Continue reading "Report From TexSom 2012: “For Sale In Texas Only” Label on Wine Bottles Misleads Consumers"7 Comments »
I am at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving attending a day of pre-program events centered around TexSom. TexSom is the best DFW-area wine conference of the year. TexSom Conference and the Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition were founded by James Tidwell MS, CWE, Beverage Manager at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in La Colinas; Drew Hendricks MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston; and Guy Stout MS, CWE, with Glazer’s Distributors.
Next to me is a guy who works in wine retail who has come in all the way from Sylmar, California. On the stage is a speaker from New Zealand and two others from New York. The latter pair are with the Culinary Institute of America, so they are expert teachers as well as knowing their subject matter. Continue reading "TexSom Conference Kicks Off at Four Seasons Resort and Club in La Colinas"1 Comment »
It’s Friday and you’ve started to rely on my posts to get you through the weekend. This is good. This is very good. Lucky for you, I’ve picked out the best ways you can waste your time actually doing something.
Late Night at Scardello is exactly where you want to be tonight. If you love cheese (and, c’mon, who doesn’t?), drop by Scardello after hours to drink bubbly and builds build-your-own cheese plate. Live jazz starts at 8 p.m.
You guys are probably well aware KRLD Restaurant Week presented by Central Market is next week, but did you know that there’s a “Preview” this weekend from August 10 through 12? These restaurants will offer their same three-course prix fixe menus for $35 a person (with a portion of each meal still going back to charity). To get a preview of Restaurant Week, make a reservation at one of these 48 eateries right here.
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One of the biggest, best and most educational wine experiences in the country happens each year in Dallas at the annual TEXSOM Conference. Founded in 2005 by James Tidwell, MS, CWE, Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas and Drew Hendricks, MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston, the annual event draws everyone from wine enthusiasts to interested novices to the ever growing wine trade to the host site of the Four Seasons Restort and Club at Las Colinas for a multi-day conference on the latest industry trends and tastings, while Somms from across Texas compete for the title of the best Sommelier in the state.
I just got a note that the seminars are completely sold out for the August 12-13 conference, with attendance expected to be around 250 this year. However, you still have a chance to attend the incredible Grand Tasting on the evening of August 13. Starting at 7pm winemakers from across the state, country and the globe will pour their award winning wine for the walk around tasting, including Revana, Miner, Frias, Hanzell and many, many more. Tickets are $95 each and will go fast. More details and ticket information here.
The dates for one of the area’s most interesting events is set. On August 12- 13, the Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas will host the 8th Annual Texas Sommelier Conference. The three-day conference includes educational sessions, wine tastings, and social media workshops. The 2011 TexSom conference featured the largest contingent of Master Sommeliers at a public event. This year should be no different. However, you don’t have to be any kind of sommelier to buy a seat. Some of the names you can rub shoulders with include:
Scheduled Master Sommeliers include James Tidwell, Drew Hendricks, Wayne Belding, Brett Zimmerman, Guy Stout, Tim Gaiser, Laura Williamson, Keith Goldston, Nate Ready, Melissa Monosoff, Brian Cronin, Cameron Douglas, John Szabo, Geoff Kruth, Laura DePasquale, Jay Fletcher, Andrew McNamara, Peter Neptune and Greg Harrington. The speaker lineup also includes James Beard Award Winners Rajat Parr and Paul Grieco, Master of wine Christy Canterbury, wine marketer Paul Wagner, Union Square Hospitality Group Wine Director John Ragan, and Leonetti Cellar Owner Chris Figgins.
The seminar topics, times, and various ticket prices are listed below. For more information or to register, click here. Like, fast. Continue reading "The 8th Annual Texas Sommelier Conference: Registration is Open!"1 Comment »
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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In two weeks the best Sommeliers, wine professionals, aficionados and wine lovers in Texas will come together at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas, for the 7th annual Texas Sommelier Association Conference (TEXSOM) delivering top-notch wine education at very reasonable prices. Over the course of three days, from August 13-15, TEXSOM offers attendees in-depth classes in everything from ancient Japanese traditions influencing the production of Sake, to the terroir of Washington State, to the effects sub-climates in Greece have on their wine.
Founded in 2005 by James Tidwell, MS, CWE, Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas; Drew Hendricks, MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston; and Guy Stout, MS, Education Director for Glazer’s Distributors and presented by the not-for-profit organizations the Texas Sommelier Association and the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas.
The agenda for this year includes everything from the various wine regions of Spain, to New World Bordeaux blends, to the wines of Piedmont, to a vertical tasting of Chateau Musar with Serge Hochar, the first Decanter Magazine Man of the Year in 1984, and more, all leading to the Grand Tasting featuring 150 wines of the world and announcement of the Texas Sommelier of the Year on Monday night. Scheduled Master Sommeliers include Serafin Alvarado, Wayne Belding, Richard Betts, John Blazon, Thomas Burke, Brian Cronin, Fred Dame, Brett Davis, Laura DePasquale, Jay Fletcher, Ken Fredrickson, Doug Frost, Keith Goldston, Scott Harper, Drew Hendricks, Jay James, Geoff Kruth, Andrew McNamara, Sally Mohr, Melissa Monosoff, Peter Neptune, Sean Razee, Paul Roberts, Joseph Spellman, Larry Stone, Guy Stout, Bobby Stuckey, James Tidwell, Barbara Werley, and Laura Williamson.
This years conference adds an additional element on Saturday, August 13, of a social media symposium with professionals lending advice, information and insight on staying connected as the wine subculture continues to become more and more mainstream. This day long session is open to the public, but seating is very limited. Tickets and information available here.1 Comment »
The last weeks I have had the opportunity to taste some great wine, often when I least expected it. I noted the fantastic Leonetti we had at dinner the other night. That was just the tip of the iceberg of the wine enjoyed over the weekend at the TexSom conference and more. Some options have been sent for editorial consideration, others I just love.
Brenda and Clay Cockerell came over for dinner the other evening and (to my delight) brought some of their extraordinary Terrior Coquerel. A very French style Sauvignon Blanc filled with subtle citrus, with solid minerality and herbal notes. The Terrior is all estate grown fruit from their vineyard in Calistoga, and aged in new French oak for 8 months.
When the Sigel’s on Inwood closed last year I stocked up on some great wines, including a 2004 Kenneth Crawford Blue Fin Syrah from Santa Ynez Valley which we opened Sunday night. Aged 18 months in French oak, this is an extremely easy drinking Syrah filled with bright fruit flavors. I love a Syrah with smoky, meaty notes that many of them have.
This one is not that, and instead is a juicy, but not jammy, blend of blackberry, black cherry and blueberry with black pepper and earth on the finish. A delicate, delightful wine. Continue reading "What I’m Drinking Now: WOW wine!"
This morning at TexSom I didn’t drink a drop of wine but I tasted plenty of major wine flaws. At the same time, I also discovered another useful purpose for vodka. But I didn’t drink that either. Lest you think I’ve been dipping into something stronger, I’ll enlighten you: My nose got a major workout when I participated in unique blind tasting designed to illustrate some of the major faults and flaws in wine. The session, conducted by Gordon Burns and Eric Hervé, was one of the most instructive wine education classes that I’ve ever experienced. TexSom organizers James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks did the tasting earlier this year in California and added the seminar to this year’s Texas Sommelier Conference at the Four Seasons in Las Colinas.
Gordon Burns and Eric Hervé are scientists with ETS Laboratories in St. Helena, CA. They normally spend their time analyzing wines for wineries and other clients for signs of spoilage. Today, they deliberately doctored eight glasses of vodka with the smell of eight common wine flaws detectable through smell alone. The vodka essentially acted as a solvent for the aromas. The audience of 300 wine professionals got to guess, from taste alone, what the flaws were.
Jump for the curious results.
Just got an update on the upcoming Texas Sommelier Association Conference(TexSom) , and the lineup looks fantastic. Celebrating its 6th year, TexSom and Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition is the brainchild of founders James Tidwell MS, CWE, Sommelier at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas; Drew Hendricks MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston; and Guy Stout MS, Education Director for Southern/Glazer’s Distributors.
The event will occur over 2 days, August 15 and 16, at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas and will include a wine filled line up to make any novice or pro gain insight and find new favorites in the expansive world of wine. Classes range from the wine of Southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia to Greece to Southern France to Portugal. The evening of the 16th TexSom will hold their Grand Tasting, and from what I can tell, over 100 wines will be available to taste including old standards to new favorites from around the world.
The Best Sommelier in Texas competition will be taking place throughout the weekend with some of the best in our city competing. An extra bonus, The Four Seasons has a special conference rate for the weekend.
If you have the slightest interest in wine this is a great event to enjoy. More information available here.
Recently at the 2009 TexSom Conference at Las Colinas, Andrew Chalk shot this short video on Eroica, a interesting Riesling produced by Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington State. Chateau Ste. Michelle has been a pioneer in Riesling production in the U.S. In this short clip, Andrew has an informative chinwag with Joel Butler, the winery’s director of education.
As noted, the top sommeliers in Texas converged in Dallas at the Four Seasons a few weeks ago. The best sommelier in Texas was tested and selected, and public and trade seminars were held for over 200 attendees.
One session in particular opened my eyes to flavors that I was familiar with, but hadn’t ever really taken the time to get to know. Master Sommelier Keith Goldston led a Sunday morning session explaining the origin, nuances and uniqueness of sake, with its Korean roots, and unchanging Japanese production, and almost ceremonial enjoyment.
Sake, known as Nihonshu in Japan, is as important to the Japanese culture as Bordeaux and Burgundy are to the French.
Today, Andrew Chalk talks with the two darling men behind Grieve Family Winery in Lovall Valley, California. The wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc and Andrew felt it was “one of the most interesting white wines of the show.” The show being the TexSom Grand Tasting.
Andrew Chalk, bless his wine-lovin’ heart, sends this video on Napa Valley’s Stewart Cellars. We tasted this exquisite wine at the Texas Sommelier Conference grand tasting. The winemaker is Paul Hobbs.1 Comment »
Andrew Chalk is a wine-loving maniac. I asked him to help me cover last weekend’s activities and he did a fine job. He is still reporting! Here is a quick video he produced on an interesting Chardonnay made by Fisher Vineyards (Napa Valley), one of the 100 wines poured at the grand tasting. Note: special cameo appearance.3 Comments »
There were many wines and wine heroes acknowledged at the recent 2009 Texas Sommelier Conference but one chef needs to be recognized as the guy who cooked for them all and did a brilliant job. Our gallant roving reporter, Andrew Chalk, caught up with Christof Syre, execuchef for the Chef Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, and the twosome talked about what it takes to put together a menu for a room full of certified sommeliers and people with other certifiable distinctions. Chef, you had me at oven-dried peaches and risotto. Go, Andrew.2 Comments »
As I mentioned earlier, while the 2009 Texas Sommelier Conference was taking place at the Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, there were 21 Texas sommeliers competing for Texas’ Best Sommelier. Last night at the Grand Tasting, the winners were announced. June-Ann Rodil of Uchi in Austin won. Anibal Calcagno (Brenner’s Steakhouse in Houston) took 2nd, and John Honefenger (Tony’s in Houston) took third.
(James Tidwell, Devon Broglie, Craig Collins, June-Anne Rodil, Guy Stout, Drew Hendricks)1 Comment »
This morning we talked a lot about wine lists and managing beverage programs. One of the panelists, Joe Spellman, had some interesting things to say about wine by the glass and the current “fetish with half bottles” on wine lists. I attempted to shoot an award-winning video. Instead, I got a poor sound quality video clip of a really nice, smart wine guy making some good points. So, put on your headphones. You know where to put the cork.1 Comment »