This is the first part of series of profiles with our Texas Wine Journal judges.  Our first judge we are talking to is Rob Moshein.  Rob Moshein was born in Beverly Hills, and while at school in England cut his teeth on some of the finest Bordeaux and Burgundies.  His passion for wine coincided with the growth of the Northern California wine industry in the early 1980s, and he has sampled every vintage since 1975.

He has been part of the Austin wine scene since 1994 as a wine retailer and wholesale supplier.  He created AustinWineGuy.com in 2008. He currently consults with local restaurants, writes, blogs, is a wine educator and a national brand Ambassador in the US for the Bordeaux Wine Council.

  1. How did you get into wine?

Wine was always a part of our family meals and I was sometimes given a little glass along with my parents after being about 12 years old. When I was 19 I went to school in Cambridge, England. It was legal to drink at 18 then, so I took full advantage. I was living at Pembroke College which then and to this day has the largest wine cellar in Cambridge. The Master of College loved his wine, so every Friday after dinner he had a “wine tasting” in his rooms, and he would pull things out of the cellar to try. I decided to go the first Friday night, since I could. It was my “aha” moment. We were drinking 1968 white burgundies (this was in 1979) and the Batard Montrachet was an eye opening experience for me. I was hooked and went every Friday there was a tasting. I had no clue that at 19 I was tasting perfectly cellared and aged world class wines. Burgundy, Bordeaux (“Claret” to the Master), Champagne, Port and Sherry. I returned back to California just as the California wine industry was getting noticed. I dove in to wine and have been studying, tasting, and learning, ever since 1980. I remember the classic 1978 Napa vintage and the ’82 Bordeaux wines vividly.

  1. What is your favorite part of being on the TWJ judges panel?

Watching the progress of Texas wines vintage by vintage, to learn what is working well and what is not. To compare wine maker styles and watch the terroir character develop in the wines.

  1. People in the wine industry often have side or “pet” projects or interests they are developing and/or working on. Do you, if so could you tell us more about the project(s)?

I want to develop a “Consulting Somm.” relationship with smaller restaurants of good quality who want a well managed, curated, wine program but do not need or can’t afford someone as a full time employee.

  1. If there was one thing you wanted someone to know about Texas wine, what would it be?

They are getting better every year.

  1. What trends do you see in the wine industry?

There is an increasing dichotomy between major corporations acquiring more and more wineries and mass marketing them and the equally growing number of smaller grower/producer wines, focusing on quality and artisanal technique, as well as “greener” environmentally friendly production at the vineyards.

  1. Who inspires you?

Robert Monday, Becky Wasserman, André Lurton, and the sadly unknown Russian Prince Lev Sergeievich Golitsyn. Golitsyn was one of the first major, serious, experts in wine. He owned a massive wine estate in the Crimea and owned the largest private collections of wine in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Esteemed visitors to his estate were asked if they could drink any single bottle of wine regardless of vintage, maker, region, and price, what that would be. He would get the answer, disappear into the estate cellars and return with the specific bottle mentioned! Every time. He was the first not French Champagne producer to win the Grand Prix at the world Sparkling wine competition in Paris, with his Crimean sparkling wine from his estate (the same wine being served to the Tsar of Russia)

  1. What is the last Texas wine you drank that you thought was worth telling someone about?

Pedernales Cellars Viognier Reserve.

  1. What’s your favorite wine pairing?

Champagne and Fried Chicken.