Austin was buzzing last night… with food and wine… Chapeau bas Diane!

Above: The social media was orgiastic last night at Diane Dixon’s excellent Somms Under Fire event at the W Hotel in downtown Austin. That’s top Austin food blooger Miso Hungry (center) with her better half and photographer @HopSafari.

Not only is Diane Dixon one of sweetest and most generous souls I’ve met in the nearly three years I’ve lived in Texas, she is also the first lady of Texas food and wine. Her events — like the Somms Under Fire dinner and competition, held last night at the swank W Hotel in downtown Austin — bring together the best and the brightest of the Texas food and wine scene. They offer young food and wine professionals the chance to interact with top names in the field and they give the public an opportunity to meet food and wine celebrities and get a peek behind the scenes.

Above: Top Austin sommelier June Rodil took home yet another title last night. That’s her with presenter and local wine celebrity in his own right, Devon Broglie.

When I left New York City back in 2007 and then abandoned my beloved California in 2008 to come to Texas, many of my well-meaning friends expressed their concern: what will you drink?

Well, I’m here to tell you that we get some good vino out here in Texas, too!

My highlight was this 1996 Mongeard-Mugneret Grand Échezeaux that somehow made it to my table. Still very tight but what a thrill to drink a glass of that wine…

I was also geeked to see and taste the 08 Rosso di Montalcino by Il Poggione, which showed great last night… always a great value for real Sangiovese…

There were roughly 10 bottles of wine — samples from the competition — on each table of eight persons and even the VIP tickets for the four-course dinner were under $60! A pretty good value IMHO for the experience…

Chapeau bas, Diane, for another great event and for another chapter in your noble quest to inform the next generation of food and wine lovers in Texas! I enjoyed myself thoroughly…

And when I woke this morning to read that Esquire has called my friend and client Tony Vallone (Houston) one the top Italian restaurateurs in the U.S., I couldn’t help but think to myself, we’ve got a pretty good thing going down here in Texas, don’t we?

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