Andres Blanco, who competed with his Wines of Mexico theme at the 2017 Iron Somm competition last night, went home a big winner. Representing Caracol, Blanco’s table was constantly packed with guests who were interested in his Mexican wine selections. Blanco took home the People’s Choice Award, as well as the Iron Somm Award. First runner-up for Iron Somm was Angie Chang (Yauatcha) and second runner-up was Evan Turner of Helen Greek Food and Wine.

Wines of Mexico was a huge hit at the 2017 Iron Somm.

Wines of Mexico were a huge hit at the 2017 Iron Somm.

In a private ceremony for event underwriters, each of the 14 Iron Somm competitors presented their theme and wine selections to a room full of judges. Lindsay Huntsman of Emmaline and Evan Turner (Helen Green Food and Wine) won Best Presentation. Below is the full list of competitors and their themes, all of which were well received by attendees:

Andres Blanco, Caracol Restaurant “Wines of Mexico”

Lindsay Huntsman, Emmaline “Gamay-king Me Crazy: Expressions of an Underrated Grape”

Evan Turner, Helen Greek Food and Wine, Helen in the Heights “Ultimate Terroir: The Wines of Santorini”

Chris Fleischman, Hotel ZaZa Memorial City “Santa Barbara”

Shepard Ross, MadCat Hospitality “Back to the Future… Time Travel and the Natural Wine Movement”

Brandon Kerne, Pappas Bros. Steakhouse “How to Fight a Windmill with a Corkscrew: A Quixotic Spanish Wine Adventure”

Matthew Pridgen, One Fifth, Underbelly “Texas, Naturally…”

Samantha Porter, Pioneer Wines and Spirits “Who Runs the World? Women Winemakers Spanning the Globe”

Jane-Paige B. D’Huyvetter, River Oaks Country Club “Savoy Vineyard: California Grand Cru”

Farrah Cauley, Sonoma Wine Bar Upper Kirby, Sonoma in the Heights “The World of Pinot Noir on the Sonoma Coast”

Matt Crawford, State of Grace “British Bubbles: The Next Big Thing”


Matt Crawford discusses sparkling wines from England, which have been popping up on wine lists recently.

Adele Corrigan, 13 Celsius Wine Bar “Dry Aging, Not Just for Steaks: Various Expressions of Amarone Della Valpolicella”

Thomas Moësse, Vinology Bottle Shop & Tasting Bar, Divino Italian Restaurant & Wine BarCanary Islands”

Angie Chang, Yauatcha Houston “Where Are They Now? Escaping The Stigma of Wine Trends Past”

Angie Chang brought in three "offending" wine trends from the past and shared current, well-received wines that stemmed from those trends.

Angie Chang brought in three “offending” wine trends from the past and shared current, well-received wines that stemmed from those trends.

Spirits industry power couple Frank and Leslie Krockenberger hosted the Maker’s Mark table where guests could create their own smash cocktails, and nearby Hop Daddy and the Houstonian Hotel dished out savory plates so that guests wouldn’t go home hungry. Central Market set up a booth where chocolate was paired with wine, and inside the tasting room was the extravagant charcuterie and dessert display set up each year by the Houstonian Hotel.

Other spirits and wine industry players assisting in pours and swirling the selections include Raj Natarajan Jr., Heather Gorman, Kristin Evans, Jonathan Honefenger, Annette Amaya, Cat Nguyen, Antonio Gianola, David Keck, Frank Bullington and Sam Ray.

For more photos, click here.