Texas Wine Lover was invited for this coverage. All opinions, experiences, and photographs are entirely our own.
The 12th Anniversary of Iron Sommelier presented by AUTOSOL took place on October 30th. The annual wine competition and wine tasting event benefited the Periwinkle Foundation, and this year’s record-breaking event raised more than $400,000 for Periwinkle’s Camps, Arts and Survivor programs for children, teens, and their families challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
650 of The Periwinkle Foundation’s board members, supporters, and wine aficionados gathered at the Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa for an evening of wine, entertainment and charity as 14 of Houston’s finest sommeliers gathered to showcase their expertise for the annual Iron Sommelier competition.
Upon arriving, a large table of wine bottles featured the Wine Pull where for a donation, you could pull from over 100 bottles of wine donated by collectors with the finest cellars in Houston. Also available outside the ballroom were businesses such as food, wine, vodka, and local Texas winery Nice Winery.
In the ballroom, the main event was taking place with Sommeliers competing for the title of Iron Sommelier. The Sommeliers who were competing this year along with their presentation themes were:
- Andres Blanco – Caracol Restaurant – The Ancient Language of Wine
- Farrah Cauley – Sonoma Wine Bar (Upper Kirby & The Heights) – Grower Bubble – A Look Into Small Production Sparkling Wine and Champagne
- Angie Chang – Doris Metropolitan – “It’s All Sababa!” Exploring the Modern Wines of Israel
- Adele Corrigan – 13 celcius Wine Bar – Lombardia, Italia: Regional Focus on the Wines of Lombardy
- Julie Dalton – Mastro’s Steakhouse – TICK…TOCK…Let the Bedrock Talk”
- Chris Havens – Pappas Bros. Steakhouse – “Keeping it 100, Showcasing Vineyards with Concentration As Rich As Their History”: Wines From At Least 100 Year Old Vines
- Bridget Elizabeth Paliwoda – The Annie – “Air-o-matic”: The Effects of Arial Terroir on Aroma and Flavor Components
- Chris Poldoian – Camerata at Paulie’s – Papa Don’t Preach: Generational Changes at Family Wineries
- Whitney Seng – Coronado Club – Wines of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Emily Tolbert – Noble Rot Wine Bar – “Don’t Ask Me, I’m Just a Girl!” – Female Winemakers and Viticulturists
- Evan Turner – Ouzo Bay – “The Nectar of the Gods” – Ancient Grapes of Greece
- Justin Vann – Public Services Wine and Whiskey Bar, Theodore Rex and Penny Quarter – Bloody Oath Australia
- Robert L. Waltrip, III – Yauatcha Houston – Wine is Elemental: The Pinot Noirs of Bruliam
- Jeffery Young – Georgia James – “A Swift Kick in the Boot” – Wines of Southern Italy
Each of the competitor’s wine presentation was judged by the expert panel of Master Sommeliers Scott Tyree, MS – Acadia House Provisions, Drew Hendricks, MS – MPWS, and June Rodil, MS – Goodnight Hospitality. Sommeliers were rated on wine choice, presentation, creativity, and knowledge of their wine selections. While the competitors were being judged, guests were visiting the different presentations in the ballroom tasting wines and indulging in delectable pairings crafted by competitors’ restaurant groups and The Houstonian Hotel.
One concern, probably for a lot of the people attending the event, was that unfortunately the date and time conflicted with the final game of the World Series featuring the Houston Astros. But the hosts were up to the task with televisions scattered around the ballroom featuring the game.
At the end of the wonderful evening, Andres Blanco took home the title of Iron Sommelier. Blanco also competed for TEXSOM’s Best Sommelier competition in 2014, and Texas Wine Lover featured him and the other Houston Sommeliers at that time.
These were the other awards presented:
- 1st runner up – Julie Dalton, Mastro’s Steakhouse
- 2nd runner up – Chris Poldoian, Camerata at Paulie’s
- Underwriter Tasting, Best Presentation – Evan Turner – Ouzo Bay and Chris Poldoian – Camerata at Paulie’s
- People’s Choice – Andres Blanco, Caracol
Be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event!