This week, two of the Italian wine world’s brightest stars — ampelographer and author of Native Wine Grapes of Italy (UC Press) Ian D’Agata and Bastianich restaurant group wine buyer and Del Posto (NYC) wine director Jeffrey Porter — came to Texas to lead two full days of standing-room-only seminars and tastings.
Roughly 80 Houston- and Texas-based wine professionals (some from as far away as Dallas) filled a ballroom at the swank Houstonian Hotel and Resort for guided tastings and lectures featuring Barbera d’Asti, Nizza, and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, among other wines.
On the first day of the two-day gathering (both days started at 8:30 a.m. and ran all day through 5 p.m.), three Master Sommeliers were spotted in attendance.
Ten years ago, high-profile wine events like this one might have skipped Houston and Texas as they crisscrossed the United States.
But today, with one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing fine dining scenes, Houston has seemingly become the center of the American fine wine universe.
It was great to see two of the Italian wine world’s brightest stars here on the Gulf Coast.
Ian is widely regarded as the leading English-language Italian-focused ampelographer in the world and he writes regularly for Antonio Galloni’s Vinous, the top tasting note portal for Italian wine in the U.S.
Beverage director for the Bastianich group’s northeast corridor restaurants, Jeffrey is arguably the most powerful buyer in the country and he is rapidly becoming one of the country’s most famous sommeliers, thanks in part to his convivial presence on social media.
There’s already talk of them bringing their seminars and tastings back to Houston next year.
Thank you, Ian and Jeffrey, for coming to Houston and bringing so much great Italian wine with you!