Here in Big D, Texsom is underway in its 5th year. One of the traditions is for all the Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine and conference sponsors to get together on the Saturday night before and enjoy some leisure time. In otherwords, music, beer, BBQ and party!
Yesterday the Texsom magic bus took all the partygoers to the Southfork Ranch far north of the Dallas City Limits. This is where the 1980’s hit show “Dallas” was filmed (the outside scenes, that is). It is a working ranch and the family that owned it before were much like the Ewing family, except their patriarch (and yes he was also a J.R) lost the property hedging the ranch against a big oil deal.
Nowadays, Sue Ellen is Tweeting (as is "Dallas") and the Southfork Ranch can be rented out for private affairs. So the Texsom steering committee set it up and what a party it was.
Live music was performed by the Austin band Max Stallings, a country band with a progressive bent to it. Nice, mellow, music that wasn’t too loud and you could dance to it. Plenty of good wine, beer, and BBQ along with a killer strawberry shortcake. But the group was raring to party and party they did!
The house has been furnished with all sorts of “Dallas” paraphernalia, complete with the J’R and Sue Ellen bedroom suite. The sunken bathtub was supplied with the rarest of all wines the 1984 Ch Mouton Rothschild Blanc. Master of Wine Charles Curtis, who now heads up the Wine Department for Christie’s in North America, pointed out the extremely “rare” wine. And he should know.
When I would travel to Italy in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when the Italian winemakers found out I lived in Dallas, their mom or aunt would always ask me how Sue Ellen was or if I knew J.R. So real was that show to them, especially in Sicily and Calabria, that I didn’t have the heart to tell them that I never met them. But I told the aunts and the moms that the Ewings were doing just fine. “Well, you tell J.R. to treat Sue Ellen better,” one would say, or another would comment, “Sue Ellen, she needs to drink less whiskey and more wine, we worry about her.” I kid you not.
Funny that the longhorn steer share the environment with the urban sprawl, not unlike Chateau Haut Brion must with their growing urbanization. One ranch grows cows, the other grapes, but city life pushes the plants and animals further out.
Before the night was finished, the photographer herded all the masters together for one happy group shot. Of course with beer, BBQ and country music playing a few of them got frisky and cut up for the camera. The somms rarely get together in these numbers when there isn’t a test or some task involved and to just share the pleasure of each other’s company is as rare as that white Mouton. So, good for them, they all seemed to enjoy cutting up with each other and kicking back on a warm Ferragosto night deep in the heart of Texas..
Master Sommeliers Joe Spellman, Laura DePasquale, James Tidwell, Drew Hendricks, Keith Goldston and Fred Dame
By the way J.R. wanted to tell all the Italians who read this mamma mia blog, “Happy Ferragosto y’all!”