The Somm Journal

Dec 2015-Jan 2016

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Page 76 of 124

76 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2015/2016 { competitions } Ridington, Chef Sommelier at Priora in New York City. This year's judging panel included GQ Executive Stylist Brett Fahlgren, top chef and frequently named "best dressed" style guru Marcus Samuelsson and fashion designer Rachel Roy. Fahlgren said this year's entries represented "a good evolution from 2014, our inaugural year of the competition." "We were really impressed with the entries this year . . . All top contenders demonstrated their ability to curate a collection beyond the wine cellar. We especially loved Kyle because of his confidence in pulling off a completely original look," Fahlgren said. While the judges tallied their votes upstairs, guests enjoyed a variety of unique experiences within the Penfolds House, an elaborate, stylishly recreated pop-up, at the Stephan Weiss Studio in Greenwich Village. It included the "Grange Room," which followed Max Schubert's wine- making journey in the 1950s and uncovered his greatest accomplishment, Grange. Using infrared flashlights, visi- tors could point to clues on the wall and unlock images, quotes or facts about this landmark wine. On the rooftop, VIPs enjoyed a select tasting of Penfolds back-vintage luxury wines, while downstairs, guests visited touch- screen-aided tasting stations, each offering previews of the 2015 Penfolds Collection. Each station featured illustrations and retro props showcasing the winery's heritage and deep Australian roots. At long last, the judges descended the stairs and DLynn Proctor, Penfolds U.S. Winemaking Ambassador, introduced the finalists, whose styles ranged from crisp and classic to preppy hipster. Taylor Grant, the only female finalist, straddled both ends of the spectrum with a black blazer and wide-legged lace pants. Proctor likened the can- didates' styles to Penfolds' history—a mix of "new steeped in the traditions of the old." And then, the envelope and a winner: Kyle Ridington, who wowed the judges with a mix of textures and pat- terns. His old-school/too-cool-for-school look included a double-breasted burgundy tweed jacket, paisley tie, light grey trousers, green scarf and brown loafers. Upon accepting the honor, Ridington said his style was Style DLynn Proctor, Penfolds Winemaking Ambassador, Americas & Canada, introducing the finalists, with the judges in the background. The finalists share a laugh and a glass of wine. Celebrity chef and style guru Marcus Samuelsson.

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