Fletter & Echavarrie to Represent Mountain Area in TOP|SOMM & Top New Somm Championships
May 03, 2011
Mountain Area Competitiors in TOP|SOMM & Top New Somm raise a glass of bubbles with Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards
RyanFletter and Desmond Echavarrie Advance to TOP|SOMM and Top New Somm Championships
DENVER, CO – After a full day of intense competition, the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation is pleased to announce the Mountain Area regional finalists in the national TOP|SOMM and Top New Somm competitions. Monday’s event, sponsored by Robert Mondavi Winery and Southern Wine & Spirits and held at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, included some of the most talented sommeliers in the region. In the end, however, only two individuals were left standing: Ryan Fletter took home the regional TOP|SOMM prize, while Desmond Echavarrie was named the area’s Top New Somm. Both Ryan and Desmond will advance to the championship rounds of each competition to be held this August in San Francisco.
“I am incredibly honored and surprised to have won the Mountain Area regional competition,” remarked Ryan Fletter, who is both an Advanced Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator. “I have tremendous admiration and respect for my colleagues who participated in this competition, and thank the Guild for giving us this opportunity to come together, build camaraderie, and learn from one another.” Ryan, who formerly worked for Michael Mina in San Francisco, is currently the Wine Director and General Manager of Barolo Grill in Denver, Colorado.
Judged by a panel of Master Sommeliers led by James Tidwell, MS, TOP|SOMM and Top New Somm are administered by the Guild of Sommeliers. Modeled after the Court of Masters Sommeliers’ Advanced
Sommelier Exam, the competition includes a written theory exam, service exam, and blind tasting. TOP|SOMM is open to wine service professionals of all ages, while Top New Somm is only open to those who are less than 29 years old. The winners of the national TOP|SOMM and Top New Somm competitions will be honored with the Robert Mondavi Trophy and the Southern Wine & Spirits Trophy, respectively.
In August’s final round of competition, Ryan and Desmond will join Great Lakes finalists Chris Dillman and Jaclyn Stuart, Eastern Seaboard finalists Michael Meagher and Christopher Bates, and four other sommeliers whose identities will be determined in the remaining area competitions in Miami and San Francisco. These ten finalists are considered to be some of the country’s most talented wine professionals; remarkably, four of the Court of Master Sommeliers’ newest Masters were TOP|SOMM finalists in 2010.
“I am thrilled to have done well enough to move on to the next round,” said Top New Somm finalist Desmond Echavarrie. “I have been studying intently for the last few months to prepare for this competition and am more excited than ever to continue my studies and increase my skills as a sommelier and taster. The greatest reward for participating in these competitions is building friendships with the best sommeliers around the country, and I look forward to meeting everyone in San Francisco.” At the semifinals, Desmond represented Julian Serrano restaurant in Las Vegas, but will be relocating to Northern California next week to join the sommelier team at The French Laundry in
“It was a real privilege to be able to judge such a talented group of sommeliers,” noted James Tidwell, MS of the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. “However, the skills and knowledge demonstrated by Ryan and Desmond were truly outstanding, as was the poise and confidence
with which they approached this competition. I wish them both the best of luck in August.”
“TOP|SOMM, and Top New Somm in particular, provide a unique opportunity for the Guild to mentor up-and-coming new sommeliers while also recognizing them for their contribution to their craft,” said Master Frederick Dame, President of the Guild of Sommeliers. “These sommeliers have incredibly promising careers in their future and I look forward to seeing the impact they make on our industry.”
The complete line-up of 2011 TOP|SOMM Mountain Area Competition contestants included:
Timothy Baldwin of The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs,CO;
Dilek Caner of Tasting World in Dallas, TX;
Ryan Fletter of Barolo Grill in Denver, CO;
Jason Jones of CUT by Wolfgang Puck in Las Vegas, NV;
DLynn Proctor of the Dallas Sommelier Group in Dallas, TX; and
Brandon Tebbe of Charles Court at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO.
The complete line-up of 2011 Top New Somm Mountain Area Competition contestants included:
Desmond Echavarrie of Julian Serrano in Las Vegas, NV and The French Laundry in Yountville, CA; Jonathan Honefenger of Richard’s Liquors and Fine Wines in Houston, TX;
John Mason of Pappas Bros. in Houston, TX; and
Devin Zendel of the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Las Vegas, NV.