Cotes du Coeur: Master Sommelier Barb Werley Likes the Big Bottles
According to Master Sommelier Barbara Werley, bigger truly is better when it comes to wine. She says that in general, the larger the container, the better the wine ages, and if she had her choice, she would drink wine out of large format bottles all the time because the wine usually tastes so much better.
That explains why the Big Bottle section is typically the largest grossing auction at Cotes du Coeur. The bottles aren’t only bigger—they represent the best of the best.
Werley, along with Master Sommelier Drew Hendricks, recently picked out some awards that will be announced at the Big Bottle Party that takes place on January 28. The Big Bottle Party is a VIP event held at a private home for Cotes du Coeur Society members and some high-profile guests, and it is one of a series of events leading up to the Gala and silent auction on April 10 at the Hilton Anatole.
The wines for the Big Bottle auction come either from the Cotes du Coeur Society or from its members’ private cellars. The six awards that will be announced at the Big Bottle Party are: Highest Robert Parker Score, Biggest and Rarest, Best Wine Society Donation, Sommelier Pick, Most Exciting Small Production Wine, and “The Cellar I would Most Like to Get Lost In.” With the endorsement of the Master Sommeliers, the interest is sure to be high in those large format wines recognized at the party.
I was curious to know how the sommeliers chose the awards since (unfortunately) they weren’t able to pop the cork and sample. This is where their extensive knowledge of wines comes in handy. Werley says she was able to decide based on the rarity of the size, the producer, the wine, and the vintage. She has tasted the wine or another vintage previously, and that helps her “know” what’s in the bottle.
At auction, the sommeliers will also know the value of the rare wines from private cellars, and they can consult with bidders, which might lead to higher bids. At last year’s Cotes du Coeur, there were 1150 attendees, and the event netted about $1.56 million for the American Heart Association—the AHA hopes to top that figure this year.
Werley and Hendricks are Master Sommeliers for Pappas Bros. Steakhouses in Dallas and Houston, respectively. This is the first year that Pappas Bros. has had an active role in Cotes du Coeur, and they are inviting Master Sommeliers from all over the country to participate.
Rick Tuner, General Manager for Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas, says that Pappas Bros. is “proud across the board” to be a sponsor of Cotes du Coeur this year, and Werley and Hendricks will be doing what they do best—helping people pick out extraordinary wines.
Cotes du Coeur is a wine-centered charity fundraiser held in Dallas each April that benefits the American Heart Association. The event takes place at the Anatole Hilton on April 10 and is open to the public. For more information, visit www.dallaswineauction.com.
Rebecca Marmaduke is Cotes du Coeur Editor for EscapeHatchDallas