Searching for Bargains

Profiles of the Tasters

1.Mike Zinni: Westlake's Cab Cali-Way;manager ofThe Cellar (3520 Bee Caves Rd). Close to a decade of wine experience, including some experience with Block Distributors; has ripened under the influence of Cellar owners Sue Carter and Leonard Joseph; loves big California Cabs.

2.John Roenigk: La Salle of the South; owner and manager of The Austin Wine Merchant (512 W. Sixth). Searches out some of France's greatest bargains and finest Burgundies; long-standing influence on many of Austin's greatest palates.

3.Rob Moshein: Frank Lloyd Wright of Wine Shops;
Reuben's chain wine buyer and manager of the Reuben's superstore (107 W. Stassney Ln). Developed the wine departments for both Albertson's Village Market and Sun Harvest on South Lamar; highly knowledgeable about French wine and wine regions.

4.Bill Loëb: Carl Lewis Behind the Wine Counter;
manages Reuben's Austin Wine and Spirits (5505 Balcones). Known for his enthusiasm for wine and ability to jump onto the retail counter from a standstill (ask him for a demo).

5.Jim Cubberley: Amazing Randy, Wine Revealer;
manages Twin Liquors new store in the town of Bee Cave (12400 Hwy 71W, Ste 280). Previously worked under Michael Vilim at Brio on 6th with subsequent work at The Cellar and development of two HEB superstore wine departments; only person in the tasting to guess all five "Ringers".

6.Tom Graham: Austin's Rhones Scholar; Twin Liquors wine director and Mesa store manager (8030 Mesa Dr.). Loves Alsatian whites; respected, among other things, for his knowledge of Rhone wines and Rhone varietals.

7.Al Gilhousen: Mark Twain Meets Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes;wine buyer forWiggy's (1130 W. Sixth). Loves wine and the blues; spent the last 25 years bouncing back and forth between selling wine and playing guitar (including time with Rotel and the Hot Tomatoes); has one of the coolest mustaches I've ever seen.

8.Greg Steiner: Antinori's Best Man*; partner in the new 18,000 sq.-ft. GrapeVine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd). Ex-manager of Twin Liquors Balcones location; loves Italian wines; is pleased to have a store with shopping carts.

9.April Lowe: Austin's Own Andrea Immer**; manager of the wine department at Central Market South (4521 West Gate Blvd). Enthusiastic and down-to-earth; previously the wine buyer at Whole Foods Market's north location.

10. Ross Outon: Bobby Fisher of Wine; prodigal manager of the wine department at Central Market North (4001 N. Lamar). Versatile palate and great enthusiasm for learning and sharing wine knowledge.

11. Glenn Hansen: Sir Edmund Hillary of the Hills;
owner ofHansen Wine and Spirits (2300 Lohmans Crossing Rd. -- Lakeway). Serious taster with great knowledge of California wines; explored and conquered the hills west of Austin with his sure-footed palate.

12. Michael Vilim: William H. Bonney of the Wine World; co-owner and general manager of Mirabelle. Years of experience in the wine industry; expert in food-and-wine pairing; perhaps the fastest, most accurate wine taster in the city.

*prestigious producer and spokesman for Italian wines

**vibrant, straightforward, Gen-X Master Sommelier (wine steward), named best sommelier by the Sommelier Society of America in 1997

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