Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition is a food and wine event held in Reliant Center for those who wish to try the award-winning wines from the International Wine Competition and taste signature dishes submitted for competition by area catering institutions and restaurants.
After the entire list of International Wine Competition results were announced in November, 2011, the next day I compiled a list of the Texas wineries who had won, and from what I have been able to tell, mine is the only such list compiled. Buckles, chaps, and saddles would be awarded to the champions at the Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition on February 19, 2012. When I received an invitation to attend the event, I gladly accepted the offer.
To recap, the ninth annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition had 2,454 wines from 736 wineries in Texas, across the United States, and around the world. Twenty countries participated in the competition and 1,817 medals were awarded by 18 panels of judges, consisting of local, national, and international wine experts.
For the Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition, in addition to trying the champion wines, guests were able to sample food from area restaurants and catering institutions, and vote on their favorites in the Best Bites Competition.
Since this was our first time attending the event, we were not entirely sure what to expect. We arrived early since we heard the event was sold out and there were going to be 4,000-4,500 people there. While waiting for the event to start, I read through the program and noticed the Texas wineries and wines which were going to be there, so I was excited to try some wines which we have not been able to try yet. The layout of the Reliant Center had been set up with tables/booths in a three layered circle which made it easy to walk around.
Gloria and I met up with Russ Kane (http://vintagetexas.com/blog/) and his beautiful wife Delia. Russ and I decided to take simultaneous phone pictures and link to our photos when we blog. Here is the link to his blog post and photo of my significant other Gloria and me. We then planned a course of action for our adventure. Since Russ and I were obviously biased towards Texas wineries, the decision was made to try to see all those wineries first and then if time allowed, go around again and try other wines.
Wines were being poured either by the winery representatives themselves or by volunteers. Unfortunately while walking through the booths, the names of the wineries with the wines we wanted to try were where the program indicated, but the wine wasn’t. It was understandable that not all winery representatives could attend, but it was unclear why there were a lot of missing wines which were supposed to be available for tasting.
We were impressed that some winery owners were present and pouring their winning wines, such as Messina Hof (Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo with Paul VII and Karen Bonarrigo and their daughter Sophia Marie), Fall Creek (Ed and Susan Auler), and Piney Woods Country Winery & Vineyards (Alfred J. Flies). Also representing Llano Estacado Winery was Bill Freidhof, Vice President Sales & Marketing.
We tried to taste all the Grand Champion Saddle winning wines but only made it to a few. We did try the top Texas wine Messina Hof Solera, and the Grand Champion Best of Show Marchesi Antinori Sri Guado al Tasso. It was understandable why these wines were big winners. We also stopped at various non-Texas wine booths which had notable wines or which we wanted to compare against the same Texas wine variety.
Of course the event was not just about the wines but the Best Bites competition, and there were a lot of restaurants vying for the awards of the evening. The food booths were intermixed with the wine booths and it made for a nice setup. All the food we tried was excellent and we were soon very full. Definitely come very hungry and thirsty if you are going to attend next year’s event.
All champion wines will be auctioned at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner on Saturday, March 3, 2012. The program indicated the event has already been sold out.
It was an enjoyable evening as we got to enjoy some of the best wines from around the world and the best food from the Houston area. We would highly recommend attending next year’s event if you are able.