I made it! I have been trying for three years to make it to Somms Under Fire but January always seems to conspire against me with sick children and cedar misery. Not this year. They say “third times the charm” and three was the theme for the evening. Three Sommeliers from around the country paired wines for three courses for three judges. The sommeliers were judged on three levels: pairing, service, and education.
The judges were:
There were 9 wines available for pairing. The sommeliers sampled and took turns pairing. Once a wine was chosen, it was no longer available. The somms then served and explained their choices as the audience sampled the fare and the wines. In the end, James Watkins walked away with the title of Champion.
The winning pairings were:
First Course: 2012 Prager Grüner Veltliner Federspiel Hinter der Burg,
paired with Charred Broccoli with White Bean, Mushroom Confit, Preserved Lemon, Poached Egg, & Gulf Bottarga, created by Chef Jason Stude, Boiler Nine Bar + Grill
Second Course: 2012 A. A. Badenhorst Secateurs, Red Blend paired with Roasted Pork Loin, Sunchoke, Endive, Tangerine, Curry Mustard created by Chef David Bull, Congress Austin
Third Course: 2013 Patrick Puize Chablis “Terroir Découverte”, paired with Coomersdale, Bonnieview Farm, Vermont; Goat Gouda, Central Coast Creamery, California and Everton Reserve, Jacobs & Brichford, Indiana, hand selected by Antonelli’s Cheese Shop
According to sponsor Keeper Collection’s newsletter, James Watkins will also receive” a scholarship to attend “Wine Internship in Burgundy, France under the tutelage of Burgundy Author and Expert, Allen Meadows, of Burghound, focusing on the Village of Chambolle Musigny. provided by Peter Wasserman of Becky Wasserman & Co., and a $1,000 travel grant presented by the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, as well as a Laguiole Champagne Saber, presented by Keeper Collection, LLC.”
It was a great evening of food, wine, and fellowship that I was able to share with my sister as guests of Diane Dixon and an event that I will make every effort to attend in the future. The food was top-notch and all of the wines were delicious but after the pairings, I found myself reaching for more of the 2012 Lioco “Indica” Carignan from Mendocino County. Great acid, bright fruit, complex and easy to drink.
Many thanks to Diane, Keeper Collection, and to the family of Sommelier Nathan Prater who shared their table and company with us.