Excellent blow by blow in the Sommelier Challenge by Roberta Rinaldi:
For those of us obsessed by wine, Saturday was an exciting day at The Taste of Beverly Hills. Eight sommeliers competed (click here for bios) in the “Boys vs Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting”. Moderated by event sommelier, Bonnie Graves, teams of four girl and four boy sommeliers were playfully pitted against each other, one pair for each of the four wines tasted.
The group featured some of California’s brightest, most cutting edge sommeliers. On the feminine side were Rebecca Chapa (Culinary Institute of America), Diane De Luca (Providence), Dana Farner (CUT–wearing the best sundress ever!) and Carolyn Styne (AOC, Luques, Tavern). Representin’ for the boys were Chris Lavin (XIV), Mark Mendoza (Comme Ca and Sona), Jonathan Mitchell (Palm Restaurant) and David Rosoff (Pizzeria Mozza).
[...] And so it went, with the best round being round three. Rebecca Chapa and David Rosoff were completely stumped by a bottle of Two Buck Chuck Merlot, which she guessed to be a Chinon Cabernet Franc, and he thought to be a Dolcetto! Since the teams were allowed to reach conclusions by consensus; this was a great example of how group think leads wine tasters to cede their opinions to others, when they’d be better served to follow their gut instincts. Jonathan Mitchell had a thigh-slapping moment upon the reveal, when he exclaimed that his first impression was of a cheap Merlot, then went along with David.
Kudos to Caroline Styne for having a wine blog (and running three restaurants) – her Taste of BevHills’ panelist take from the great gender drink-off:
So, when Bonnie Graves, a Los Angeles wine gal contacted me to join a men vs. women blind tasting panel at the Taste of Beverly Hills event last weekend, I immediately told her that there was no way in hell that I would do it. The other people on the panel were going to be individuals who I completely respect and who get loads of practice tasting blind.
I told her that I would provide a personally embarrassing amount of comic relief and would basically end up looking like a complete idiot. Of course, after about seven emails and even a personal visit at Lucques, Bonnie managed to persuade me to do it with promises of a fun, light-hearted event, a potential bottle of Krug for the winning team and loads of p.r. for the restaurant. [...]
In the end, we ladies redeemed ourselves with a totally right-on identification of a 2006 Rioja Reserva and won the match. We left the event holding our heads a little higher while laughing at ourselves a little louder.
Via Roberta Rinalda at the Examiner – some photos from the Taste of Beverly Hills’ Somm Challenge.
WineTasteTV.com’s Bonnie Graves takes you inside the World of Pinot Noir. With award winning wines, celebrity chefs, and one of the world’s most extensive gatherings of Pinot Noir winemakers, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.
From Denise Fondo’s superb Middle Crescent Kitchen blog:
I was scheduled to cover a number of demonstrations and events during the day, but managed to miss most of them. Too much food to taste! I did attend Boys Versus Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting hosted by Bonnie Graves. Randy Fuller will be writing about the this event on Now and Zin. Not to give anything away but Graves threw in a Two Buck Chuck as a trick wine and it was fun to watch sommeliers fooled into thinking it might sell for $12 a glass in a restaurant. Loved the surprise when it came out of the bag to be revealed as Trader Joe’s cheap and popular wine.
And from Randy Fuller’s great Now & Zin blog: The Sommelier Challenge
The highlight event for me was the Boys vs Girls Sommelier Blind Tasting challenge. Eight noted sommeliers – four men and four women – competed in a wine competition that was spirited and aimed more at whimsy than winning.
The Taste of Beverly Hills Event Sommelier Bonnie Graves presided over the competition with a light touch. It was an entertaining event which included panelists David Rosoff from Osteria Mozza, Dana Farner from CUT, Christopher Lavin from XIV, Caroline Styne of AOC and Lucques, Jonathan Mitchell of the Palm, Rebecca Chapa from the Culinary Institute of America, Mark Mendoza of Sona and Comme Ça, and Diane DeLuca from the Estates Group.
The competition was a battle of the sexes. The male sommeliers jumped out to an early lead with the correct identification of the first wine as Prosecco. The gentlemen scored again by getting the Macon Chardonnay right. The ladies nailed the Sauvignon Blanc, but could not correctly identify it as a New Zealand wine. Wine number four was the ringer – Charles Shaw Merlot – which sent both sides scurrying to name it – to no avail. The game changer for the women was getting the Rioja Tempranillo Reserva correct down to the last detail.
“Secrets From the Kitchen and Cellar chefs and master sommeliers will showcase the tricks of their trades” caught my attention, in addition to The Art of Mixing; Date Night an evening of good food, wine, music, and one-on-one time with master sommeliers and vintners; and The Art of Brunch where guests will enjoy free-flowing brunch cocktails, live gospel and jazz performances, a 50-foot grand table featuring the city’s finest pastries and breads. The “Taste of Beverly Hills”, presented by FOOD & WINE beverage program is designed by Event Sommelier Bonnie Graves to celebrate the talents and innovators within the culinary, wine, art, music, and design worlds, guests will enjoy food, beer, wine, cocktail tastings, and chef demos from 9.02.10 through 9.05.10.
Click HERE to listen