Texas Wine Lover was invited to the event for the purposes of this press coverage. However, all opinions, experiences, and photographs are entirely our own.
The 13th Anniversary of Iron Sommelier presented by AUTOSOL took place on November 12th. The annual wine competition and wine tasting event benefited the Periwinkle Foundation.
This year’s event was different because of COVID-19, and in order to provide a safe and socially distanced competition, The Periwinkle Foundation offered both virtual and in-person opportunities for guests to experience the event. Individual Ticket holders were provided a tasting flight of 12 wines to enjoy at home and had access to the virtual Iron Sommelier judging presentation and live presentations from guest winemakers. Underwriters had access to live presentations and interactive conversation with the sommeliers at Backstreet Café and Hugo’s. All guests had access to a wine pull, auction, raffle, and Children’s Art sales. A wine selection chosen by Sean Beck (Iron Sommelier 2007, 2009, 2011) was offered for sale at either a full or half case, and it included the 2018 McPherson Cellars Roussanne.
I had the pleasure of attending the event virtually this year. I first picked up my tasting flight of 12 wines earlier in the day, put them in the wine cooler when I arrived home, and then set up my Zoom system for the two-hour event.
Each competing sommelier selected three wines which focused on a particular wine region, grape or style, and a panel of judges rated wine choice, presentation, creativity, and knowledge of their wine selections. The competing sommeliers were judged by Craig Collins, MS, Antonio Gianola, and June Rodil, MS.
The sommeliers who were competing this year along with their presentation themes and links to their full presentations to the judges are following in the order they presented to the Zoom audience. Instead of describing all three wines, they described the one wine that was in the tasting flight.
- Matt Crawford– State of Grace – The Next Chapter – Julian Haart, “1,000L”, Riesling, Mosel, Germany 2019 – Judges Presentation
- Justin Vann– Public Services Bar and Theodore Rex – Natural Enemies: Varietal Correctness vs. Natural Wine – Julien Guillot, Clos des Vignes du Maynes Gamay Maco Rouge 2017 – Judges Presentation
- Marcus Gausepohl– Brennan’s – Burgundy Without Blinders – Wine for the 99% – Huguenot, Marsannay 2015 – Judges Presentation
- Whitney Seng– The Coronado Club – Parches Grapes: Wines from the Driest Places on Earth – Colomé “Auténico” Malbec, Salta, Argentina 2018 – Judges Presentation
- Evan Turner– Krasi Meze & Wine – Meet and Greek: Rare Grapes of Greece – Biblia Chora Unknown Varietal “Biblinos” PGI Mt. Pangeon, Greece 2012 – Judges Presentation
- Emily Tolbert– Savoir – Gas, Grass, or A**; No One Rides for Free – Laurence and Remi Dufaitre, “Premices” Beaujolais Villages, France 2018 – Judges Presentation
- Julie Dalton– Mastro’s Steakhouse – I See the Sea – Bisson Marea 2018, 60% Bosco, 20% Vermentino, 20% Albarola, Cinque Terre DOC, Italy 2018 – Judges Presentation
- Eric Estefano– Pappas Bros Steakhouse – You Don’t Have to Take Out a Loan, Just Drink Savigny-lès-Beaune – Vincent and Jean-Pierre harton, Mercurey “Vieille Vignes,” France – Judges Presentation
- Lindsay Thomas– River Oaks Country Club – Always a Bridesmaid: Syrah, and Why You Should Finally Put a Ring on It! – Elderton Wines, Estate Shiraz, Barossa Valley, Australia 2016 – Judges Presentation
- Jeffrey Young– Georgia James – Fifty Shades of Greywacke – Kopke, Dry White Port, Portugal – Judges Presentation
- Adele Corrigan– 13 celsius Wine Bar – Wines of the Ancient World – Zorah areni noir Ararat Valley, Armenia 2017 – Judges Presentation
- Farrah Cauley– Sonoma Wine Bar – California Mountain Vineyard Cabernet – Truchard Estates Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros, Napa Valley, California 2017 – Judges Presentation
At the end of the presentation, the Zoom audience had the opportunity to vote for Best Presentation. Usually at the in-person event, you put the cork they give you in a bucket for each sommelier. This year because it was done virtually, the voting was online and it was an easy process.
The awards presented to the sommeliers were:
- 2020 Iron Sommelier: Evan Turner
- 1st runner up for 2020 Iron Sommelier: Justin Vann
- 2nd runner up for 2020 Iron Sommelier: Julie Dalton
- Best Presentation (for the Zoom audience): Evan Turner
- People’s Choice Award from local audience: Evan Turner
Overall, the event was still excellent and offering the various methods to participate was an excellent idea. Best of all, the event generated $237,000 to further the Periwinkle community of healing, which provides positive camps, arts, and survivor programs to children and teens challenged by cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.