AUSTIN, Texas [January 29, 2018] — Keeper Collection, LLC is proud to announce Jill Zimorski as the winner of the 2018 Somms Under Fire wine & food pairing competition, which occurred on Sunday, January 28th at the Zlotnik Family Ballroom at AT&T Hotel & Conference Center. Zimorski, sommelier and Champagne specialist for Moet Hennessey, based in Chicago, IL, was selected as the winner by a panel of judges for her outstanding performance in wine and food pairing, service, and education. In a clean sweep of the competition, she also won the Citadelle Gin de France Cocktail Challenge, and Fan Favorite Award.
Zimorski competed against Nick Davis, Advanced Sommelier, founder and creative director at Medium Plus, a beverage consulting and events company in Seattle, WA and Michael “Mick” Descamps, Advanced Sommelier and wine director at Red Wagon Wine Shoppe, Macomb, MI. The contestants selected three “perfect” wine and food pairings and presented their choices to Master Sommeliers judges James Tidwell, Melissa Monossof, Jay James, and David Keck.
Zimorski’s winning pairings included:
- First Course: 2014 Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling GG, paired with foie gras tart made with matcha marshmallow, coconut snow, strawberry, and pine cone syrup, created by The Carillon Restaurant chefs John Herdmen and Kyle Barham.
- Second Course: 2011 Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva, paired with smoked maple sous-vide Iberico pork, served with charred cipollini, sea water potato, farmhouse carrot puree, and sweet corn-poppy seed cream from The Carillon Restaurant.
- Third Course: 2014 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Alexander Valley paired with an assortment of three cheeses complements of Antonelli’s Cheese Shop.
As the Somms Under Fire Champion, Zimorski receives a grand-prize package for a one-week wine internship in Burgundy, France provided by Becky Wasserman & Co. She also received a $2,000 travel grant presented by the TexSom Foundation, and a Laguiole Champagne Saber, presented by Keeper Collection, LLC.
The evening began with the Citadelle Gin de France Cocktail Challenge. Zimorski won the challenge with a cocktail called BK Islay, made with Citadelle Gin de France, honey “Scotch” syrup, smoked salt, and lemon juice. The prize is a large format bottle of Citadelle Gin de France, complements of Citadelle Gin de France. Recipes for all three cocktails will be available on the Keeper Collection website.
During Somms Under Fire, attendees voted for their favorite and most educational Sommelier. The audience chose Zimorski as Fan Favorite Sommelier. She was presented a four-day, three-night all expense paid educational wine trip to the Taste Washington Grand Tasting, sponsored by Washington State Wine. She also won a spot in the Sommelier Internship at the 2018 TEXSOM Conference at the Four Seasons Resort & Club in Las Colinas, TX.
In addition, Zimorski won the Magnum of Excellence Award, which is given to the finalist that scored the highest on the qualifying examination. The Broadbent Selections 2018 Magnum of Excellence is a magnum of 2009 Chateau Musar Rouge.
Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, global beverage buyer for Whole Foods Market, and Master Sommelier June Rodil, beverage director 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®.