Can you name Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis or the three ripeness levels of Wachau in Austria? If so you were probably one of the many wine lovers and professionals schmoozing at the Four Seasons last night during a reception naming Texas’ Best Sommelier. Houstonite Kim Wallace of Brenner’s Steakhouse won first place, Dave Poss of Vic & Anthony’s came in second. In third place was Nana’s Rudy Mikula, formerly of Per Se in New York.
The Texas Sommelier Conference was designed to identify the top sommeliers in Texas by putting entrants through a three-part examination described by many as “brutal.” A panel of Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine flew in for the event, including Texas’ only MS Guy Stout and Fred Dame, president of the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation.
Sommeliers with certifications will be the first to tell you that anyone can call himself or herself a sommelier–despite a lack of knowledge or education. Certified Wine Educators James Tidwell, Four Seasons, and Drew Hendricks, Pappas Bros., organized the event to identify and challenge Texas’ sommeliers. Thirty brave men and women put themselves through the process, including Lance Storer from Centenniel and Philip Natale from Consilient Restaurants.