The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 119 of 124

{ }  1 19 As a matter of opinion [we] think he's tops, [Our] opinion is he's the cream of the crop; He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein' happy we are. There's not a man today who could take [us] away from [our] Guy. —in reference to the 1964 hit "My Guy" recorded by Mary Wells Songwriters: William Robinson Jr. © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC It wasn't just the pin. It was what the pin represented. I've never seen anyone more doggedly determined than Guy. He didn't have young brain cells, and he wasn't particularly good at memo- rization. But he was a naturally gifted taster. Guy had to feel it viscerally - it was a physical induction, not just an intellectual one. And he tripped. Often. He stumbled. More than once. His table service wasn't the strongest, so he went to Napa Valley and staged at The French Laundry under Paul Roberts, a Tex-pat who had earned his master sommelier pin in 2002. I'm sure Fred Dame wondered more than once how this rough-and-tumble cowboy got into the program. I'd bought some German wines and an off-dry Bergerac from Arwood Stowe, the company he worked for. But this day they sent their salesman for the first time. Guy was pitching 1978 A.Rafanelli Gamay Beaujolais, for $5.00 a bottle. And he had five cases "allocated" for me. I wasn't aware that these wines were earmarked, but the wine was good. It was better than good, and I bought all five cases. That was 35 years ago—the beginning of a long and winding friendship with one of Texas's great wine characters. There's only one Guy, Texas's first Master Sommelier in residence. And there's good reason for that. I'm not sure the wine world could handle another one. Guy's a bigger-than-life personality in a state known for big. But his life didn't start out big. Guy was born in Dallas, and had twelve brothers and sisters. Growing up, it was a constant struggle at the table to get enough to eat, but he grew up hefty enough to play football in high school. Anyone who has met Guy knows he cuts an imposing figure. But there's a lot of muscle and a lot more heart. His siblings stayed close to home, but young Guy wanted to get out of Dallas, so he bought a round-the-world ticket and took off. When he came back, he got into the wine business, working at Marty's, the local carriage trade store, where he rubbed shoulders with the great wine personalities who traveled America. Wine was just beginning to challenge Martinis and Whiskey as the drink of choice for the upwardly mobile in then-booming Dallas. And Guy is a natural salesman. But he wanted more than a paycheck. He was determined to make his mark in the wine world. I remember business trips with him to California wine coun- try, where he built lasting relationships with some of the early greats. Guy didn't just collect wine, he collected people. People like Randy Dunn, Justin Meyer of Silver Oak, Kerner Rombauer, Rick Forman and Bill and Sandra McIver of Matanzas Creek. Guy introduced them and their wines to Texas, long before they were icons or cult favorites. It didn't stop with California. He had an insatiable passion for Port, Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux, and German and Italian wine. Guy's idea of research didn't just involve books and study. There were a lot of corks popped. During our trips to Italy I started calling him "Guido" as he really is a closet Italian; he just loves good wine and food and people, in large quantities. One day, while we were calling on accounts, Guy told me to take a left turn on a little road in North Dallas. We pulled up to the house he grew up in. It was a small house. Imagining 14 people in it was hard. But it was where he learned to love people and love Guy Stout with Amerigo Rafanelli , circa 1980s in Sonoma. Guy Stout and Koerner Rombauer, taken in Dallas in the early 1980s. Master Sommeliers Craig Collins, Drew Hendricks, Guy Stout, James Tidwell, Devon Broglie at TEXSOM.

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