The Sommeliers’ Case

Issue 00 | pp 54-66 | 01.04.2019

The Sommeliers’ Case

Recognized as two of the nation’s brightest young sommeliers, Andrey Ivanov and Maximilian Kast are among the thirty talented individuals that made up this year’s TEXSOM International Wine Awards Sommelier Panel.

The Sommelier Panel is unique to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards, where each participant has the opportunity to taste and review the gold medal winning wines selected by judges during the blind tasting competition. They further work with editors Michael Franz and Jessica Dupuy to compose meaningful descriptions of each wine based on their impressions and expertise.

As members of this elite panel, sommeliers also participate in the TEXSOM Sommelier Retreat, where they attend educational seminars, learn wine judging techniques and standards, and assist in the planning and execution of the wine awards.

Andrey Ivanov is the Beverage Director at Reeds American Table, located in St. Louis, MO. Maximilian Kast is the Wine Director at The Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro, NC.

Below, Ivanov and Kast offer their insider selections of award-winning wines from the TEXSOM International Wine Awards 2016:

Wooing Tree

Pinot Noir

Central Otago

New Zealand 2013


Geoff Bews describes the namesake of Wooing Tree as a local landmark. Many generations of first kisses, proposals, and marriages have been carried out under its centuries-old branches. When he decided to buy the surrounding land for a family winery, along with his wife, brother and sister-in-law, they knew they had to keep the tradition alive. This vibrant, aromatic, beautiful Pinot Noir falls in flavor profle somewhere between Oregon and Burgundy. AI

Woodward Canyon


Columbia Valley

Washington 2013


Founded in 1981 by Rick Small and Darcey Fugman-Small, this estate is one of the pioneers of the Walla Walla wine industry. This Merlot shows a wonderful balance between ripe red plum, dark cherry, and blackberry fruit, along with nuanced spice, earth, and forest floor aromas. On the palate, the elevated acidity balances the ripe fruit and moderate-plus tannin, making for a complex wine that has strong aging potential. MK

Terras De Tavares

Dão Doc

Portugal 2006


João Tavares de Piña is somewhat of a renaissance man, practicing natural winemaking in crafting one of Portugal’s best-kept secrets. His wines are expressive, aromatic, and most of all true to the ideal of leaving the earth better than he found it. Sourced from what were once the favorite vineyards of the Portuguese nobility, this is a regal but also earthy masterpiece. AI

Kir-Yianni Ramnista


Single Vineyard

Pdo Naoussa

Greece 2012


This age-worthy red wine is sourced from a single vineyard site planted to old-vine Xinomavro. The estate is owned and run by Stellios Boutaris, who is a member of the fifth generation of one of the Greece’s most prominent winemaking families. This is a modern style of Xinomavro, with time spent aging in new French Oak that contributes nicely to the blueberry, dark plum, sour cherry, and lavender notes on the nose. The wine is tannic and high in acidity, which calls for either time in a decanter or a decade of aging in the cellar. MK

Jacquesson Cuvée 738

Extra Brut

Champagne Aoc Nv



In 1999, Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet decided to turn tradition upside down and make their Champagne represent the qualities of each vintage rather than a single house style. The result has catapaulted the house to the top tier of Champagne, as indicated by the fact that La Revue du Vin de France named it one of the 56 top wineries in the country in 2015. The Cuvée 738 is based on the 2010 vintage, and shows the elegance and complexity of a cooler year. AI

Château Musar Hochar

Pere Et Fils

Mis En Bouteilles Au Chateau

Bekaa Valley

Lebanon 2011


The middle tier red offering from Château Musar is this blend from a single vineyard planted in the mid-1960s. Comprised of half Cinsault along with a second half blended from Grenache, Carignan, and Cabernet Sauvignon, this dense, earthy, spicy wine is a great testament to the terroir of the Bekaa Valley. It is a delicious and moderately priced offering from one of the world’s truly iconic wineries. AI



Sonoma County

California 2014


Failla was founded in 1998 by Ehren Jordan and wife Anne-Marie Failla. Year after year their Sonoma Coast appellation Chardonnay is always one of the shining stars from California. It is sourced from multiple vineyard sites, including Olivet Lane, and is aged in a mix of vessels including French Oak, concrete egg, and stainless steel. It is generous aromatically, and on the palate shows a melange of orchard, tropical and citrus fruit, well integrated spice from the oak, and acidity that encourages sip after sip. MK


Superior White

Matured In Oak

Douro Doc 2014


Quinta do Crasto is not just a winery but a famous vineyard site located in the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro. The Roquette family began to export table and fortified wines in 1994, showcasing an array of indigenous grape varieties and styles. This white wine is a blend of the traditional Douro grapes Gouveio, Viosinho, and Rabigato from vines more than 20 years old. The wine sees no oak and is aged in stainless steel, producing an enticing wine spring and summer, pairing beautifully with white

Alheit Vineyards Cartology

Bush Vines

Wo Western Cape

South Africa 2014


Cartology is a project undertaken by Chris & Suzaan Alheit to blend together some of the oldest and best vineyards devoted to white wine in South Africa’s Western Cape. This dense, vibrant blend of Chenin Blanc and Sémillon has a great rocky core reminiscent of Vouvray, with just a bit more ripeness. A great way to be introduced or reacquainted with South Africa. AI

Burn Cottage

Pinot Noir

Central Otago

New Zealand 2013


This estate is owned by the Sauvage family and is located in the foothills of the Pisa range in Central Otago. The wine is made by Ted Lemmon (of Littorai fame), and it shows a style recalling his Pinot Noirs from Mendocino and Sonoma. This is only the fifth vintage of this wine, but early indications suggest that estate can one day become a classic. MK

Larmandier-Bernier Longitude

Extra Brut Blanc De Blancs

Premier Cru Champagne Aoc

France Nv


This grower-producer, based out of the Premier Cru village of Vertus, is a master of Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Pierre Larmandier is one of the leading advocates of biodynamic viticulture in the region, and treats his base wines in an oxidative style. Longitude comes from a selection of sites from Vertus, Oger, Avise, and Cramant, the latter three being all Grand Cru. This is a rich style of Champagne with citrus and stone fruit notes balancing with mineral accents and suggestions of hazelnuts and brioche. MK

John Duval Wines Entity



Australia 2013


John Duval is one of only four men to have overseen the production of Penfolds’ Grange…Australia’s most iconic wine. When Duval decided to retire to begin a small project for himself, he knew exactly where to look for great fruit. This old vine, rich, and complex blend embodies the power we expect from Barossa, but with surprising acidity as well.

Reprint from TEXSOM presents SOMMELIER Volume 00, pages 54–66