Saturday, August 20, 2011

#TEXSOM 2011

Getting to volunteer at TEXSOM, for some of us, is like a holiday we look forward to all year long. I often underestimate how completely awesome it is to be in a room of hundreds of people who are all focused on exactly the same thing I am. In the real world you have to watch out for going way too far into why you wish more people would drink Huet Vouvrays and putting your friends to sleep. At TEXSOM you're drinking Huet, talking about Huet, and geeking out in a way that you only get to do very rarely.

One of the wines I was most excited about.

If the wines of Huet made noise, they would go "BIEW BIEW BIEW"

In the case of Chateau Musar, we talked about it, we drank it, and we met Serge Hochar. Every year, as the quality of the program gets better and better, so too does the brutal transition to reality get harder. The only solution I find is to try and reorganize the world around me to look more like TEXSOM, even if it's only a little bit at a time.

I was responsible for #5 of each tasting. It ended with me getting to pour 1969 Musar Blanc, I still don't know what I did to deserve that. Photo by Alfonso Cervola.

The speakers are amazing, and when we have time to listen to them, we sit and do just that. But more than once we had to miss out on full lectures, because we were in the back, popping foils and pulling corks a dozen at a time. I suppose someone could call that a bummer, but one of my favorite parts of TEXSOM is sitting in the back with the wines before the lecture. My little wine-nerd heart still goes pitter-patter when I'm sitting in front of an open case of Comte George de Vogue, or when I'm oogling a 40 year old selection of Musar:


I like those little private moments we get with the wines. When I get to handle and pour this much good wine in one sitting, all I can speak is whispered expletives. I think that's kind of what The Chairman was talking about when he talked about having a personal conversation with the wines.

A really nice new feature was the hospitality suites. Because after you spend the whole day drinking earth shattering wine, you really need a drink.

Nothing helps settle your stomach like a gallon of Amaro.

I saw this, and wondered if perhaps there was a bathtub full of wine at a beer conference somewhere else in the world.

The one thing that I think can't be said enough about TEXSOM, is that everyone eligible to compete should be competing. I am so disheartened by people who say things like "I don't want to embarrass myself" or "its too hard". Trust me, nobody is "ready" for TEXSOM. I got my ass handed to me the one year I competed, and it was instrumental in motivating me to study for my advanced exam. That's basically what the TEXSOM competition is: a free practice session for the advanced exam. NOT ONLY is it free, but you are allowed to attend the lectures for free. Lectures where they pour George Comte de Vogue 1er Cru, Sparkling Huet, 1975 Musar Rouge, and other power ballads. Oh, and if you place, you get at least a 1000 dollar scholarship. How is there not a waiting list of competitors?

Don't be scared of defeat of embarrassment. Moving forward will inevitably subject you to both. I am proud of the folks that have the guts to subject themselves to so much scrutiny, both in competitions and in the regular court tests. My policy has always been sign up first, figure out how I'm going to pull it off later.

Big congrats to Bill, Nathan, and Houston's own David Keck. I shameless root for Houston every time.

Stepping off the soapbox now, and telling you to get your ass to TEXSOM 2012. I'll see you there!