Heartfelt thanks to Jaime de Leon for putting together a superb group of sommeliers at Taste of Italy Houston

Words simply don’t suffice in thanking Houston wine professional Jaime de Leon for putting together such a superb group of sommeliers yesterday at the Taste of Italy festival.

I couldn’t have been prouder to co-present a Vinitaly tasting of top wines from Valpolicella (one of the five tastings I presented yesterday) with my good friend Elise Vandenberg and Vinitaly International managing director Stevie Kim.

And Jaime and his team delivered the top-notch wine service that this excellent flight of wines deserved. And they showed not only what a talented group of wine professionals we have here in my adoptive city and state, but also what a warm and close-knit wine community that has flourished here in recent years.

Thank you, Jaime, and thanks to your team. What a great day for Italian wine in Houston!

The only downside to being a presenter at this type of event is that it’s hard to get good photos.

That’s a snap, above, from the “New Wave White Wine” tasting that David Lynch (center), Jaime (foreground), and another good friend of mine, Thomas Moësse (another one of our city’s leading wine pros), and I presented yesterday morning.

Thank you, David, for coming out to check out our wine scene here. And thank you, Thomas, for being part of the panel.

And of course, it was wonderful to see Stevie in Texas and work with her team.

Warm thanks also go out to Maya Wakita, my counterpart on the Vinitaly team. It was really fun working with you.

To everyone who helped to make yesterday such a seamless event (Alessia, Maurizio, Carlo, Elena, Federica, Alessandra, Christina, Nathan, Sean, and so many more) and to everyone from Houston who came out to taste with us, thank you, as well: it was one of those days that reminded me how lucky I am to do what I do for a living and how blessed I am to be part of the Texas wine community.

See you next year at Taste of Italy Houston!

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