Christian Varas is Houston’s “Iron Sommelier,” David Keck leaves Camerata, and Krug à volonté in Boulder, Colorado

best-champagne-tastingPosting on the fly today from Boulder, Colorado where I’m serving as the Boulder Burgundy Festival’s official blogger.

The party’s just got started: Last night, bromance Paolo and I attended the festival’s Champagne kick-off event where we and guests were treated to a beefy flight of Krug, including 2002 and 2003 bottlings. Holy cow, people… It would be a tough flight to beat but the “Old and Rare Burgundy” seminar this afternoon with Masters Jay Fletcher, Bobby Stuckey, Richard Betts, and featured guest winemaker Étienne de Montille should best it handily. Stay tuned for updates…

In news from home…

My friend Christian Varas (below, center), who serves as wine director at Houston’s exclusive River Oaks Country Club, took home the prestigious Iron Sommelier prize last night at the Periwinkle Foundation’s charity event.

I wrote it up early this morning for the Houston Press (thanks to the Periwinkle’s publicist who sent me the release late last night and photographer Dave Rossman, who shot the gala affair).

Mazel tov, Christian! The prize couldn’t have gone to a more able or talented wine professional. Congratulations…

And in a stunning move that has left many Houston wine lovers fearing that one of the city’s brightest stars will leave them high and dry, David Keck announced yesterday on Facebook that he is leaving Camerata, the immensely successful wine bar he founded. Here’s the write-up by CultureMap, where Keck tells Eric Sandler that he doesn’t plan to leave the Bayou City (phew!).

Can we now tell David that camerata was a fascist salutation? Will his next venture be called Товарищ?

Joking aside, David’s contribution to the growth and health of the Houston wine scene has been enormous and we are all in his debt for his vision and the spirit of collegiality that he instilled into the wine community. He will be sorely missed behind the bar of Camerata, which he named after the Renaissance-era Florentine Camerata (meaning Florentine chamber or salon; camerata is a homonym in Italian that can mean comrade or chamber [in archaic Italian], as in chamber music), a nod to his career as professional opera singer. Thank you, David, for all you’ve done and we look forward to the next chapter!

That’s all the news that’s fit to blog about. Stay tuned for more from the Boulder Burgundy Festival over the weekend, including a seminar and tasting led by Master of Wine Jancis Robinson and Étienne…


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