|Iron Somm Julie Dalton|
Iron Sommelier 2018 was held last night at The Houstonian Hotel, Club, and Spa. Iron Sommelier is Houston's most important competition for local beverage gurus with some of the city's best sommeliers competing for the title. There was great excitement in the room when Julie Dalton of Mastro's was named this year's Iron Sommelier.
Dalton is the first female to ever win the title. Her theme of "Drink Gneiss Schist" was a clever play on words with all of the wines she chose coming from grapes sourced from metamorphic soil types. "The wines that have made me take pause or cry or have a come to Jesus moment have all been wines from metamorphic soils," she shared. She explained that gneiss and schist are both metamorphoses of shale and slate created from pressure and heat. "I just find the wines to be so expressive, there is electricity on the palate." She said that she was not anticipating to win as a newcomer to the city, " I was honored to even be invited to be a participant and I chose something really geeky, I wasn't expecting that at all."
Each contestant selects three wines within a theme of their choice that may focus on a wine region, grape or style. Each sommelier presents the wines they are pouring while chatting with guests out on the floor. Underwriters are also invited to VIP Tasting Rooms where each sommelier does a presentation on one of their selected wines in a small group setting and additional awards are bestowed. Professional judges award the title of Iron Sommelier at the end of the event while guests vote for the People’s Choice Award.
This year's recipients of the Underwriter Tasting Room, Best presentations went to Adele Corrigan from 13 Celsius and Justin Vann of Theodore Rex and Public Services Wine & Whisky Bar. Vann was also named 1st Runner Up by the judges. Matt Crawford of State of Grace and La Lucha earned both the People's Choice award and was named 2nd Runner Up.
The event benefits the Periwinkle Foundation which