Last fall, Kim Wallace, of Brenner’s Steakhouse, in Houston, aced her exam to win the first-ever Texas’ Best Sommeliers Award, given by the Texas Sommelier Association.
Did you grow up in a family that drank wine? Not really. My grandmother did not drink or smoke, and she would be spinning in her grave if she knew I was a wine steward.
So how did you get interested in wine? I was majoring in premed and not enjoying it very much, and at the same time working in a restaurant with a very good wine program. Someone told me I had a knack for wine. That changed the course of history for me.
What was the easiest question on the exam you just took? “What region is Brunello di Montalcino from?” It’s an Italian red from Tuscany.
What was a really hard one? “Name the grands crus of Morey St-Denis.” That’s a village in Burgundy, and there are five grands crus.
Which Texas wines have you enjoyed? Becker Vineyard’s chenin blanc and claret were noteworthy, also Alamosa Wine Cellars’ El Guapo. And I enjoyed Flat Creek Estate’s Super Texan Sangiovese. Once Texas wineries figure out what grows best here, they’ll be on to something.
What is the most amazing wine you ever tasted? A 1961 Château Margaux, a sublime red Bordeaux. You think of all the things that happened in 1961, like the inauguration of John Kennedy and the building of the Berlin Wall. You close your eyes and you’re at one with the wine.