Breast Cancer Sommelier Standoff raises more than a glass

Competitors Lee Royle and Sergio Serrano. - Photo: Janet Jarchow Photography

On Thursday, 20 May, a capacity room of wine lovers and supporters of the Breast Cancer Foundation witnessed a sommelier standoff at Agua Restaurant between two local titans, which raised over $18,000 for the non-profit.

Sergio ‘Matador’ Serrano went head-to-head and bottle-to-bottle with Lee ‘El Toro’ Royle in a friendly competition to see who could ‘pair it best’.

The evening began with an outdoor Taittinger Rosé reception, featuring live music provided by Nathan Barnett Herrera.

Diners then moved inside to enjoy a four-course dinner, with each dish paired with two glasses of wine – one chosen by Serrano and one chosen by Royle. Attendees voted on which wine they felt paired best, with the results revealed at the end of each round.

However, before the meal portion of the night even began, the audience was treated to a grand entrance by the two adversaries.

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Serrano, in full matador regalia, strode through the room to ‘Cielo Andaluz’ theme music, waving to onlookers with confidence. Royle then emerged from the kitchen to do the same to ‘The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)’, sporting a black velvet flowing cape and bull horns.

For a brief moment, it looked as though the competition could have ended with a sudden death blind tasting tiebreaker, but Serrano was announced the winner after the fourth round, with the final score at 3-1.

There was one raffle prize for which tickets were sold: A Melchior (18 litre) bottle of 2011 Bodegas San Roman wine. The winner of the raffle promptly insisted on donating it back for an impromptu live auction, where it raised $3,500.

There were also spot prize envelopes hidden under seats for a fun reveal halfway through the event, which matched bottles of wine that winners collected at the end.

Generous sponsorship and donations from Jacques Scott and Agua helped make the evening a great success.

Another Breast Cancer Sommelier Standoff is planned for Breast Cancer Month: October.

For more information about the Breast Cancer Foundation, visit www.breastcancerfoundation.ky.

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