TexSom – Texas Sommelier Conference – Day 2

TexSom - Texas Sommelier Conference - Day 2 – was so amazing I almost cried with emotion.  Six formal tastings with fabulous speakers each lasting over an hour.  I don’t know how they pulled it off, but first speaker of the day was none other than Doug Frost, most unassuming, approachable “dude” you would ever meet; probably the only gentleman there without a suit on.  He is one of three people in the world to pass the Master Sommelier exam and become a Master of Wine.  Do you think this guy knows his stuff?  He discussed the “Terroir Focus: Wines of Spain.  Of the 8 wines we tasted, my favorite was the 2010 Avanthia Godello, Valdeorras.  This varietal grows in a maritime climate. This area is known for its dry crisp wines.  It is pale yellow, with a gold rim, with aromas of pear, mineral, honey, quartz, slate, & schist (even though I must admit that I have no idea what slate or schist smells or tastes like!).  As far as a tasting note goes: buy it!  My 2nd favorite was the 2008 Las Rocas Garnacha, Calatayud.  This is very terroir based, not a bad way, and a great value.

Next up:  “Regional Diversity: South Africa”, presented by Wayne Belding, MS; and John Blazon, MS.  Oh dear, South Africa!  I was rather skeptical as the only South African wine I have ever had was pinotage, which frankly I was not a fan.  This wine tasting cleared up my thoughts and feelings about SA wines by a mile.

Next up:  LUNCH! During that time each table of 12 or so each had 5 bottles on the table: all were excellent, and it is hard to pick a favorite, although the 2006 Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine with the chocolate tart I was very partial to.  Other wines served were:  2008 Franciscan Chardonnay “Cuvee Sauvage”, 2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Fume Blanc “Reserve” “To-Kalon Vineyard”, 2006 Ruffino “Modus”, and the 2005 Mount Veeder “Reserve” – all provided by Constellation Wines.

Next up:  “White Wines:  Benchmark Styles of Modern Classics”.  This was more of a panel speaking arrangement during the tasting:  Laura Williamson, MS: Peter Neptune, MS, DSW, CWE; and Keith Goldston, MS.  Shall we say Keith was the most “colorful” speaker of the lot – I needn’t say more for those attending.  There were wonderful, wonderful wines in this lot.  My favorite was the 2008 Knoll Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Wachau, Austria.  Rich texture, rich, well balanced.  Keith chimed in saying it was hedonistic.  My 2nd favorite was the 2010 Tomero Torrontes, Salta Argentina.  It has a lemon green color, yet is floral – rosehips turning into geraniums.

Next up: “Varietal Focus: Grenache”.  I happenned to be volunteering that day and during this presentation, I was setting up the hospitality suites which opened at 5pm, after the last wine tasting.

Next and last up:  “Terroir Focus: Red Wines of Burgundy’s Cote d’Or”; presenters Fred Dame MS; and Rajat Parr.  Yum, yum, yum.  I can’t say I tasted a single wine I did not like, but here are my top 2 favorites.  My top favorite was the 2006 Drouhin-Laroze, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Au Closeau”.  My 2nd favorite was the 2007 Domaine Jacques-Frederic Mugnier, Nuits-St. Georges 1er Cru “Clos de la Marechale”.  Did I spell that correctly?

For anyone in Texas, or in the US, I highly advise attending TexSom – -

Thanks to all the organizers and people behind the scenes to make this conference fantastic.







TexSom – Texas Sommelier Conference – Day 1

TexSom – the Texas Sommelier Conference – occurs once a year in August at the Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, TX.  Before I go any further, I had the luxury of spending the night there, this place is ga-ga in a great way!  The rooms, the pool, the spa, the golf course - ”par” excellence.  I digress.

TexSom was founded by several outstanding Master Sommeliers – James Tidwell, Drew Hendricks, and Guy Stout (3 out of the total of 6 Master Somm’s in Texas).  Two of the six were just indoctrinated this year:   Devon Broglie, the Specialty Coordinator for the Southwest Region of Whole Foods Market and Craig Collins, Regional Manager for Glazer’s Distributors.   All of them are as sweet and approachable than you can possibly imagine, and more than willing to help you in any way they can; and boy, can they put on a show!  How grateful I am that I live in Dallas and can attend, because, baby, I will be there every year – it is a can’t miss experience.  Two of the days are open to the public; although, you will find yourself amidst some of the finest sommeliers in Texas and the country – just be sure to spit and not swallow!

Day 1 – Media and Technology Symposium

I had the opportunity to attend the first 2 days (out of 3).  The first day was not about tasting (quelle domage), but for me, just as good – social media for the wine industry!  The day was from 9 – 4-ish; all the speakers and topics were dead on.  The first 3 hours were spent with Tony Jones - FaceBook (don’t bludgeon people with open ended questions – may not get any answers), Twitter, you name it.  We broke for lunch, and I headed straight over to Sonny Bryan’s - some of the best barbeque in Texas.  I ordered a pulled pork sandwich, coleslaw and potato salad with tons of barbeque sauce.

The next session was all about wine blogging with Jeremy Parzen and Alfonso Cevola.  These two have been blogging about the wine industry for longer than there was a name for it.  They are true lovers of wine.  They blog for the pure enjoyment of sharing their experiences with the rest of us.

Because of Alfonso & Jeremy speaking that afternoon about the passion for wine blogging, their presentation empowered me to continue writing A to Zinfandel even though no one may be listening, but as Alfonso said ”If you don’t say anything, you’ll never be heard”.  My blog is a journal of my life, my wine experiences, my wine journey, my passion!  My blog is my CV.  This is not the first time I have heard this.  When Gary VEE was here in Big DEE, he said that resumes should no longer exist.  Everything you are and can be should be online.  What a paradigm shift!

The last session consisted of a panel of key personnel of some of the finest traditional media sources in Dallas, which rounded out our day.


The Thrill of TEXSOM (Texas Sommelier Conference)

Just have to plug this post in very quickly as TEXSOM is this weekend, held in Las Colinas, TX.

I am studying for my CSW and thrilled to be attending & volunteering my time at TEXSOM.  It is mostly about my trials, tribulations, self-renewal, and journey through the intricate details of the wine world.  I run a business, A to Zinfandel Social Media, site being retrofitted at this time (isn’t that always!).  I am the social media strategist and work with the wine, food, and tourism industries.

I also work with a culinary tour operator promoting their tours…one of which we are very excited about:  The Extraordinary Women of Spain:  Winemakers and Chefs.

See y’all this weekend!