AUSTIN, Texas [January 28, 2019] — Keeper Collection, LLC is proud to announce Phil Laramore as the winner of the 2019 Somms Under Fire wine & food pairing competition, held on Sunday, January 27 at the AT&T Hotel & Conference Center. Laramore, owner of the import and brokerage company SAmandla Wine Imports in Littleton, CO, was selected as the winner by a panel of four Master Sommelier judges for his stellar performance in wine and food pairing, service, and education. In addition, he also won the Amador Whiskey Cocktail Challenge.
As the Somms Under Fire Champion, Laramore receives a grand-prize package for a one week wine internship in Burgundy, France provided by Becky Wasserman & Co. He also received a $2,000 travel grant presented by the TexSom Foundation, and a Laguiole Champagne Saber, presented by Keeper Collection, LLC.
Laramore competed against David Reuss, Certified Sommelier and wine director at Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver, Colorado, and Kathleen Thomas, Advanced Sommelier and training director, Hakkasan Group, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The contestants selected three “perfect” wine and food pairings and presented their choices to Master Sommelier judges Max Kast, David Keck, Melissa Monossof, and James Tidwell. Laramore ‘s winning pairings included:
- First Course: 2016 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, paired with dry aged Agaushi beef carpaccio with anchovies, salt brined Mustang grapes, and herbs, created by executive chef Ben Runkle of Salt & Time.
- Second Course: Dassai 23 Sake, paired with spice crusted loin of lamb with fennel barigoule, apple butter, purple cabbage and crispy sunchokes prepared by sous chef, Ruston Richardson, of Trace Restaurant, W Hotel Austin.
- Third Course: 2017 Cakebread Chardonnay paired with an assortment of three cheeses complements of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.
The evening began with the Amador Whiskey Co., Cocktail Challenge. Laramore won the challenge with a cocktail called Bobby McGee Horses Neck. Laramore received a competition advantage at the main event.
During Somms Under Fire, attendees voted for their favorite and most educational sommelier. The audience chose Kathleen Thomas as Fan Favorite Sommelier. She was presented a seven-day, six-night wine educational trip to study wines of South Africa provided by Broadbent Selections. She also won a spot in the Sommelier Internship at the 2019 TEXSOM Conference at the Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, TX.
David Reuss won the Magnum of Excellence Award, which is given to the finalist that scored the highest on the qualifying examination, and received a magnum of Dessai 50 Sake, presented by Genji Sake.
Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market, and Master Sommelier June Rodil, VP of Operations for McGuire Moorman Hospitality Group and partner in June’s All Day, facilitated the event as the Emcees.
About Keeper Collection
Keeper Collection is a distinguished wine and food experience, event and travel company that operates #SommChat, Somms Under Fire, Wine Ride, Chefs Under Fire, Life Tastings Blog, and Keeper Travel. Keeper has garnered international attention for its creation of #SommChat, a weekly wine education forum on Twitter held every Wednesday from 12-1 PM EST. Wine and Spirits Magazine says, “#SommChat is ‘Wine in 140 characters’ and has garnered an impressive guest list.” Guests include international wine professionals and an audience comprised of active participants from around the world. Connect with Keeper Collection on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, for the Finest Blend of Taste and Technology®.