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THE MESSAGE Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world’s most infl uential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. Brief Encounters We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it’s in the publication, we deem it noteworthy —Meridith May, Publisher & Executive Editor A Touchdown in Austin I n November, NFL quarterback Vince Young returned to Austin, TX for the opening of his fi rst eponymous Vince Young Steakhouse. As QB for the University of Texas Longhorns, Young guided the Austin school to the BCS Championship in 2006. Even though he now throws the pigskin for the Tennessee Titans, he remains something of hero here. “I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to open this in a city that I really love,” Young said during a sneak peak of the downtown restaurant. With chocolate and golden tones, polished hardwood fl oors and soft lighting, the interior refl ects a classic steakhouse vibe; unique touches include draped chainmail between the dining areas and a life-size longhorn sculpture with a copper-penny patina. NFL quarterback Vince Young enjoys a good read. Partners Laura McIngvale-Brown and her husband, Executive Chef Phillip Brown, noted that the prime steakhouse menu emphasizes seasonal and local ingre- dients, while General Manager and Certifi ed Sommelier Chris Tosch added that the bar program refl ects the same spirit of using Texas products. As for the wines, Vince Young Steakhouse opens with about 170 selections, a majority within what Tosch calls the “45-to-95-dollar sweet spot.” Some of those bottles are autographed by Young and for sale on the wine wall. “I wasn’t a big time wine guy before some of my team- mates turned me on to it,” Young admitted while fl ipping through a recent issue of THE TASTING PANEL. “I’m just 27 and I’ve got a lot to learn about wine. This is just what I need. Can I keep this?” —Anthony Head (We’ve set Vince up with an ongoing subscription. —Ed.) 16 / the tasting panel / december 2010 PHOTO: ANTHONY HEAD

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