Red, white, and bubbly carpet: TexSom 2010

Nearly 300 people attended the standing-room-only, sold-out TexSom 2010, the 6th-annual Texas Sommelier Conference, which began yesterday at the Four Seasons hotel in Irving (Dallas, Texas). That’s reigning “Best Sommelier in Texas” June Rodil who helped out with pouring duties for the “Emerging Regions of Italy” seminar.

The event draws some of the best and brightest stars in the world of wine, like Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey (left), who took time out to pose for a paparazzo with Jamie Adams, VP The Sorting Table.

The ever-affable Bartholomew Broadbent is a sponsor and a perennial attendee.

Seven Texas wine professionals will be “seated” at the Court of Master Sommeliers Masters Exam next Monday in Dallas, including Craig Collins (left) and Devon Broglie (right), both of whom serve on the board of the Texas Sommelier Conference.

Best-dressed Texas wine professional D’Lynn Proctor will also be seated at next Monday’s exam.

The “Italian Wine Guy” Alfonso Cevola, Italian Wine Director for Glazer’s Distribution, was in fine form as always.

The Duchman Family Winery (Driftwood, Texas) was also a sponsor of the event and was represented by its Events Mananger Paula Rester (center), Tasting Room Manager Bill Elsey (right, who participated in the “Best Sommelier in Texas” competition) and the president of the winery’s distributor, D’Amore Wine Selections, Julio Hernández.

Wine professionals travel from all over the state to attend, like Antonio Gianola (left), who authors one of my favorite wine lists in Houston, and Greg Randle, who educates and blogs about wine in Austin.

Kevin Pike (Sales Manager for Thierry Theise), together with Master Sommelier Emily Wines (nomina sunt consequentia rerum!) delivered one of the best seminars (on German wines) I’ve ever attended… anywhere. Chapeau bas, Kevin and Emily!

How the paparazzo always gets to go home with the prettiest girl in the room will forever remain a mystery!

Today’s trade-only event begins with a seminar on “Management of a Beverage Program” with moderator James Tidwell MS and panel Bobby Stuckey MS, Antonio Gianola, Paul Roberts MS, and Drew Hendricks MS. Nearly 300 people are expected for the Grand Tasting this evening.

Antonio knows that pleasure is the child of pain

From the “run don’t walk department”…

Last night, after leading an Italian wine tasting in Houston, I finally got the chance to sit down with cousins Marty and Joanne for a proper dinner at Catalan, where — and I’ll just cut to the chase since I need to get my butt on a plane in a few hours — wine director Antonio Gianola’s list just blew me away. Joly by the glass? Erbaluce, Vin Jaune from the Jura, Edi Simčič Pinot Grigio, López de Heredia, Nikolaihof, 1989 Domaine des Baumard????!!! There were just so many great wines that I wanted to taste… and that was just in the chapters devoted to white wine! Antonio’s list is precise and informed, informative and fun, easy to navigate for the neophyte and thrilling to leaf through for the connoisseur. There is a threshold where a wine list becomes a thrill of its own and a form of profound dilectio for wine lovers (remember this piece by Eric?). Antonio’s list passes through that threshold with ethereal and seamless celerity. And the best part? His prices are among the most if not the most aggressive I’ve seen anywhere in the U.S. Click through to the restaurant’s website to read his list (which Antonio seems to update like clockwork). And check out this profile of importer Neal Rosenthal by Houston Chronicle wine writer Dale Roberston where Antonio is featured (and where I lifted the photo).

De vinographia: Perhaps the greatest wine writers of all are the authors of great wine lists.

Antonio loves the desert, Antonio prays for rain…

Tracie B and I are on our way to New Jersey for the wedding of one of my best and dearest friends in the world (and the drummer in Nous Non Plus). Stay tuned… I heard something about some Vajra being poured tomorrow night and some Beatles songs… mmmmmm…


“Antonio’s Song”

—Michael Franks

Antonio lives life’s frevo
Antonio prays for truth
Antonio says our friendship
Is a hundred-proof
The vulture that circles Rio
Hangs in this L.A. sky
The blankets they give the Indians
Only make them die
But sing the Song
Forgotten for so long
And let the Music flow
Like Light into the Rainbow
We know the Dance, we have
We still have the chance
To break these chains and flow
Like Light into the Rainbow
Antonio loves the desert
Antonio prays for rain
Antonio knows that Pleasure
Is the child of Pain
And lost in La Califusa
When most of my hope was gone
Antonio’s samba led me
To the Amazon
We sing the Song
Forgotten for so long
And let the music flow
Like Light into the Rainbow
We know the Dance, we have
We still have the chance
To break these chains and flow
Like Light into the Rainbow.