Excitement filled Reliant Center as more than 3,000 wine enthusiasts delighted their taste buds at the 2011 Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition Feb. 20, 2011. Buckles, chaps and saddles were awarded to the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition champions, and the event included the tasting of the winning wines, as well as a sampling and competition of food from area restaurants and catering institutions.
The competition boasted 1,788 wines from 592 wineries in Texas, across the United States and around the world. Sixteen countries participated in the competition and 1,147 medals were awarded by 15 panels of judges, consisting of local, national, and international wine experts.
2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition Champions:
Grand Champion Best of Show – Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus, Alexander Valley, 2006
Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – Stanton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville, 2007
Top Texas Wine – Becker Vineyards, Viognier, Texas, 2009
Top Spanish Wine – Acústic Cellar Blanc, Montsant, 2009
Top All-Around Winery – d’Arenberg, Australia
Top Wine Company –E&J Gallo Winery
Top Sparkling Wine – Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Brut, Reims, NV
Top White Wine – Vasse Felix Chardonnay, Margaret River, 2008
Top Red Wine – Vision Cellars Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands, 2008
Top Sweet Wine – Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars Riesling, Bunch Select Late Harvest, Finger Lakes, 2008
Top Value Wine – Fat Monk Merlot, Central Coast, 2009
While delighting their palates with award-winning wines, attendees tasted and cast their votes in the Best Bites Competition.
2011 Best Bites Competition Winners
Popular Choice Award
First Place – Royers Round Top Café
Second Place –Del Friscos Double Eagle Steakhouse
Trailblazing Appetizer/Entrée Award
First Place – Beef Short Rib Roast Ragu on Polenta Grand Parma – Hasta la Pasta-Italian Grill
Second Place – Pork Taquito With Green Sauce – Molina’s Cantina
Third Place – Blackened Tenderloin and Fleming’s Potatoes – Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
Two-Stepping Bread/Cheese/Dessert Award
First Place – Artisan Cheese – Veldhuizen Cheese
Second Place – Richly Flavored Texas Coffee – Pips Just Great Coffee
All champion wines will be auctioned at the Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner, Saturday, March 5, 2011, 5:30 p.m., Reliant Center, 600 series meeting rooms. A separate ticket is required to attend the auction.
A selection of winning wines will be available for tasting, or by the glass and bottle, throughout the run of the Show in the Champion Wine Garden, located in Carruth Plaza. In addition to live music, the Champion Wine Garden offers a variety of wine seminars exploring a collection of vintages for $30 per person. During the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, the Champion Wine Garden tent, located next to The Hideout, will be open Thursday and Friday, Feb. 24 – 25, 5 to 11 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 26, 2 to 11 p.m. Starting March 1, the Champion Wine Garden in Carruth Plaza is open Monday through Friday, 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 10 p.m.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $265 million to the youth of Texas. The 2011 Show runs March 1-20. For tickets and more information, visit www.rodeohouston.com.