Jan 022013


We Ate Our Black-eyed Peas (And Sampled Some Wine) At William Chris Vineyards

We drove into Fredericksburg on Monday afternoon knowing that cold weather was coming (with some much needed rain) and our car’s battery was weak. But, we made it and celebrated our New Year’s Eve in the comfy confines of our Texas hill country cottage provisioned with delights from Houston’s Central Market: three dozen oysters (to be freshly shucked), a healthy-sized slab sea bass and a bottle of McPherson Cellars (almost-Texas) Sparkling Wine. As you may know, it’s a cuvée made with Texas fruit, but the sparkle is added with a little California Charmant carbon dioxide. By 1 pm yesterday, we drive into Hye to celebrate New Year’s Day by judging a black-eyed pea cooking contest and sampling some wine at William Chris Vineyards.

It was a fun affair lead by winemeisters Chris Brundrett and Bill Blackmon, with live music and at least 7-8 contestants each with a different version of the venerable pea (or is it a bean) of good luck. My favorite was from Contestant #7: a chorizo-laced concoction of spicy black-eyed peas topped with homemade jelly. I dredged my chip into it and my topping of choice was a purple jelly made with Mourvèdre grape. This got all three of my votes.


We roamed with other judges, some from near our little hill country homestead. This was the first chance to taste several of the William Chris wines. For starters, both my wife and I had a white blend called Mary Ruth from the 2011 vintage, a blend of Orange Muscat, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc. a
A great off-dry sipper to pair with spicy beans on a chilly January 1st afternoon. Chris pulled me aside and provided a tank sample of an upcoming white wine which was outstanding. I promise to blog more about this when it’s ready for release in about a month from now.


The reds were uniquely William Chris in style: not fruit monsters, but medium-bodied wines of finesse driven by terroir (the sense of place – Texas high plains and hill country where the grapes originate) and aromatics that most winemakers long for. All small batch, artistically-done wines. Favorites for the afternoon were:

  • Artist Blend 2010 – Predominantly Mourvedre and Tempranillo driven by red berries and hints of vanilla and spice (everything nice)
  • Emotion 2011 – Another red blend of Zinfandel, Merlot, Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon showing lots of character and balanced structure from the Cabernet.

You might find them in a few select restaurants (like Mark’s American Cuisine in the Montrose-district in Houston), but they are not widely distributed. These wines highlight what I talk about in next week’s Texas Wineslinger column – the need to ride Texas wine trails to find the hidden gems. Make your resolution now!


More pictures and info on this event at:

Chris Brundrett and family @WilliamChrisVin Blackeyed pea cooking comp #txwine

A post shared by Russ Kane (@vintagetexas1) on


 Posted by at 10:36 am
Dec 062012

TXwine Twitter Tuesday: Join Us Dec. 11th, Chat with Chef Josh Watkins on Texas Wine and Food Holiday Pairings

Happy Holidays everyone!  The holidays are always a fun, busy time of year – and shopping to find the right gift can sometimes be stressful. But there’s no reason to stress over picking out some great Texas wines to pair with holiday favorites! Austin’s Denise Clarke (@DeniseClarkeTX) with Jeff Cope (@txwineLover) and me (@VintageTexas) in Houston welcome you to participate in our December TXwine Twitter Tuesday taste and tweet event.

Chef Josh Watkins at The Carillon Restaurant

Join us for the December 11 at 7 pm Central for TXwine Twitter Tuesday chat when Austin native and Chef Josh Watkins will join us and share some of his favorite Texas wines to pair with a holiday menu.  Watkins (@chefjoshwatkins) is the executive chef at The Carillon Restaurant, a fine dining restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.  His culinary education combined with his San Francisco and Dallas restaurant experience was a huge plus when he joined the culinary team at the historic Driskill Grill under the tutelage of nationally acclaimed chef David Bull. (Watkins and Bull even teamed up and appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef America).  In 2007, he was named executive chef at the Driskill Grill, which earned a consecutive five-star rating.

Watkins’ passion for farm fresh, ingredient-driven food has earned him significant accolades at The Carillon, one of the highest-rated restaurants in Austin.  Watkins suggests these Texas wines to pair with some of his holiday favorites:

Duchman Family Winery Viognier

  • Celery root-apple soup
  • Spiced apples with brandy syrup

McPherson Cellars Sangiovese

  • Free-raised veal tenderloin with sweet potato hash, and mustard greens with bacon gastrique
  • Beef tenderloin with Brussels sprouts and potato puree
  • Braised beef short ribs with grilled romaine and pickled radish

Fall Creek Vineyards Muscat Canelli*

  • Buttermilk panna cotta
  • Manchester cheese
  • Almond cake

*Fall Creek Vineyards Muscat Canelli is available at The Carillon Restaurant, but is not available in stores. We suggest that you either stop by the restaurant or try Messina Hof Winery Muscat Canelli (Tribute to Innocence) which is available in stores around Texas.

Make sure to pick up these wines to ring in the holiday season and to chat with Josh about pairing wines with food! Look for these wines at Spec’s, Kroger, HEB, Central Market or Total Wine or the wineries. Try a recipe or two and some wine/food pairing. Get some advice from the chef.

Here’s how you participate:  If you don’t already have one, just sign up for a free Twitter account at www.twitter.com. Go to the Tweetchat room set up for #TXwine (http://tweetchat.com/room/TXwine). No registration is required; you can login using your Twitter account info. In the Tweetchat room, participants are invited to follow tweets, add comments or tasting notes and share thoughts as participants taste and discuss the wines. On TweetChat the hastag will be added automatically. If using TweetDeck or another Twitter application, you will need to add #TXwine in your Tweets.

This month we are also going to be posting to Facebook before, during and after the event.  Click here and login and follow, post and discuss on Facebook.

 Posted by at 2:37 pm
Oct 082012

Lucille’s Restaurant in Houston’s Museum District

Texas Wines Being Served at Lucille’s Houston

Alerted to an impending change in the wine list at Chef Chris Williams’ museum district Lucille’s Restaurant, my wife and I stopped by early last Saturday evening for dinner. Because Lucille’s culinary roots date back to Chef Williams great-grandmother, Lucille Bishop Smith, and her widely acclaimed Chili Biscuits, we already knew one of two things we had to order. The other mandate for the evening was to select a Texas wine or two from the newly constructed wine list that features the wines from Lubbock’s CapRock Winery.

Lucille’s Chili Biscuits

Having visited the restaurant’s online menu, my wife had her dinner selection pegged prior to our arrival: braised oxtails, fingerling potatoes, caponata and braising jus. I wasn’t quite so fixated by one dish, but finally decided on an equally savory selection: Shrimp and grits, andouille, sherry tomato broth and stone mill grits.

As we awaited out selections, I asked for a wine list expecting to peruse a selection of Texas wines from CapRock Winery. But, search as I may, CapRock’s wines were no where to be found on the list.

Then, I summoned our waiter to to the table and inquired about the supposed missing wines. When I said that I thought the restaurant served Texas wines the waiter said, “We do. We just haven’t had time to change the wine list, yet. We should have our new wine list printed when we open next Tuesday.”

Shrimp & Grit ala Lucille’s

Then, we were offered a selection of three CapRock wines: CapRock Roussanne, a white unoaked wine from this Rhone varietal; CapRock Rosé of Grenache brandishing its trademark deep red-purple color; CapRock Merlot offering a medium bodied, well rounded red wine experience.

My wife selected the Rosé and I went with the Roussanne. The rest of the evening was a mélange of delight including the cuisine, the wine and later the fresh night air of Fall in Houston as appreciated from a small, sleek two-seater convertible.

Lucille’s Restaurant – The inside

 Posted by at 4:29 pm
Sep 152012

It’s Time to Put Their Money Where Your Mouth Is – 2012 Austin Food & Wine Alliance Grant Applications

The Austin Food & Wine Alliance will award three (3) grants (1 at $10,000 and 2 at $5,000) to selected organizations and/or individuals for the purpose of culinary innovation that contributes to the Austin and/or Central Texas community.

Grant Eligibility

Grant recipients must meet the following criteria:

  • Food and beverage artisans, producers, culinary professionals or represent a culinary/food-focused non profit serving the Austin and/or Central Texas community
  • Must be located in Central Texas (within in the following counties) – Bastrop, Bexar, Blanco, Burleson, Burnet, Caldwell, Comal, Gillespie, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hays, Kerr, Kendall, Lampasas, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson
  • Must demonstrate how the grant will be used for culinary innovation in their respective fields (including wine, beer, spirits and food industry)
  • Represent fiduciary responsibility and transparency
  • Must follow the reporting and accountability guidelines
  • Attend Grant Awards ceremony on December 12, 2012
  • Agree to participate in PR initiatives to promote AFWA & Grant Program
  • Agree to AFWA website presence and mutual promotion of AFWA & grant program
  • Must provide three (3) written reference letters as to why organization or individual should receive an AFWA grant and detail the reference’s relationships with the organization and/or individual

— — — — —

All applications must be received or postmarked by midnight, October 19, 2012.

Recipients and non-recipients will be notified no later than November 30, 2012.

Grants will be awarded at a ceremony on December 12, 2012 at AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

For questions, contact Mariam@AustinFoodWineAlliance.org

Click here to download the AFWA grant announcement press release.

— — — — —

Mission of the AFWA….The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is non-profit organization* dedicated to fostering awareness and innovation in the Central Texas culinary community through grants, educational programming and events. Guided by an all-volunteer board of directors and committees made up of culinary-and-community-minded professionals, the Alliance’s commitment is to promote Texas food, wine, spirits and craft brews and to increase appreciation of Texas’ culinary impact.

 Posted by at 12:19 pm
Aug 042012

Narin’s Bombay Brasserie Wine Dinner: It’s Time to Set Aside Some of the Old Rules, Get Some New

When asked how does Indo-Asian wine pairing compare to the meat-dominated western approaches (e.g. red meat, red wine; white meat, white wine), Narin Sehgalm owner of Narin’s Bombay Brasserie in Houston Texas responded very matter of factually…

He said, “Western cuisine and meats, however innovatively they’re prepared, have unwritten rules about which varietal wines go best. Indian cuisine is very different, so you are able to play more with the pairings.”

And, play they did on a sweltering mid-week evening at Narin’s Bombay Brasserie located in Houston’s Galleria district. As my wife and I entered the restaurant, it was obvious that wine dinners were a frequent and fun feature Narin’s establishment. The crowd was already assembling around a massive table in a banquet room. People were milling about, greeting friends from previous wine dinners. One guested asked us if this was our first Narin wine dinner, then said without a pause, “You’re going to love this. The food is superb but different and the wines are always an unexpected pleasure. Oh yes, and there is no shortage of wine, too.”

Those familiar with my eclectic tastes know that I’m always up for something different when it comes to wine and food. Afterall, I’m big time into Texas wine, and if that wasn’t different enough for you, I’ve sampled clay pot wines and paired my Tokyo store bought Japanese dinner with French Beaujolais on the night of the Beaujolais Nouveau.   This evening, all it took to get me here was the call to dine on gourmet Indian cuisine and have the food paired with a selection of fine European wines. And, at $65 per person, it was a good value, as well.

While we hadn’t been to these wine dinners before, my wife and I know Narin’s Bombay Brasserie very well. We’ve often found their lunch buffet a true delight of fresh and aromatic northern Indian cuisine…that usually leave us ready for a mid-afternoon nap. There, Sanjay Sehgal serves as manager and Executive Chef Gary Grewal have reeled in “excellent” ratings and “top Indian Restaurant” accolades from both the local and national press.  Their evening’s wine and cuisine was designed for enjoyment:

First Course – Marinated Beet and Roasted Walnut Cornucopia (wine – Chateau d’Aqueria Tavel Rosé, Rhone Valley, France)

I commented that evening that this pairing was all about color – the red in the beet and the joyous red color of the Rosé wine, but then followed by the earthy characteristics of the beet and the minerally character of the wine.

Second Course – Lobster Samosa with Ginger Tamarind Sauce (wine – La Craie Vouvray, Loire Valley, France)

This pairing was my wife’s favorite especially from the standpoint of the wine (French Chenin Blanc) that was slightly off-dry (not overly sweet) all balanced with crisp acidity that integrated well with the Asian cream sauce. Evidently, Narin liked my photo because it’s now on his Facebook page (like here). I call it…Narin’s Lobsta Samosa!

Third Course – Artichoke Chicken Mushroom Cannelloni  (wine – Antinori Bramito del Cervo Chardonnay, Umbria, Italy)

By the third course, those of us around the table were all good friends with our conversations gaining in volume and punctuated with laughter. The delicious artichoke-chicken-mushroom filled cannelloni and cream sauce were made for Chardonnay, but not just any big oaky Chard. This Chardonnay was just like the Italians like it: clean, restrained and exuding mouthwatering acidity.

With this wine and food pairing in mind, Narin relating some of his Indo-Asian wine insights. He said, “Matching wine with Indian cuisine can sometimes be a little bit difficult because of the complexities and strength of the spices and aromas in Indian ingredients. You don’t want to overpower the wine or vise-versa. That’s why it’s such a unique and exquisite experience when done right.” To this, all I could add was that I agreed.

Fourth Course – Savory Indian Squash Roll & Stuffed Creamy Nutty Lamb (wine – Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo, Puglia, Italy)

In this course we were getting into a serious red wine, but again one that had old-world charm and balance. In this case, we were drinking Primotivo (the Italian equivalent of Zinfandel but without the brawny bold biceps – an alcohol level – of a California Zin). The tantalizing red fruit in the Primotivo added bright notes against the lamb dish.

Fifth Course – Chocolate Ravioli with Indian Rabri Sauce (wine – Tenuta Polvaro Dulcis, Veneto, Italy)

The dessert paired well with the fruity sweet wine with scents of flowers, honey and vanilla. But, you know what, I held back my red wine from the previous course. Despite the fact that some wine experts don’t recommend dry red wine and chocolate desserts, this was a fine pairing, too. The sweetness of this particular dessert was muted; the red berries provided the linkage to the ruby red color and red fruit in this dry red wine. The pairing of these two disparate wine with the dessert illustrates how many incalculable options there are in wine and food pairing. If you include Indo-Asian cuisine, the options appear infinite.

After the event, Narin reminded me that Indian cuisine is all about blending different and often very potent spices. Often spicy and sweet come on the same plate. Therefore, the varietal type of the wine really depends on each specific dish.

For typical spicy Indian dishes, like Narin’s  Lamb Vindaloo or tandoori meats, he says that sweeter or fruitier wines such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc accompany well. Red wines are often difficult to pair because their tannic or bitter qualities run counter to many of the Indian flavors. However, creamy dishes such as Narin’s tangy Chicken Tikka Masala pairs well with red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.

Well, so much for red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat. I’ll make sure to remember a few of Narin’s new wine pairing rules…and his upcoming wine dinners, too.

 Posted by at 2:13 pm
Jul 212012

Whitehall Lane Wine Dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse Houston: The Palate Dance

I will have to acknowledge that for Whitehall Lane Winery presented last Thursday evening, the Frog’s Leap wine dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in May was a hard act to follow. For that event, everything seemed to hit on all cylinders: the wine, the food, the service, and the dark ambiance of Sullivan’s party room.

But, at this event, right out of the box the combined forces of Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards, the cuisine of Sullivan’s Chef Teli Trikilis and Sous Chef Horacio Degante, and the wine service lead by Sommelier, Kristie Farmer, hit it out of the park. Right now you’re probably saying, “With what? Was it a big, bold and brawny Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? Was it a deep, dark and mellow Napa Merlot? Or possibly, a Carneros barrel fermented Chardonnay?” Wrong, wrong and wrong, again! Getting great palate-popping Cab, Merlot and Chard from Napa Valley has become no surprise, at least for me.

Whitehall Lane’s first wine at Sullivan’s called my attention back to what is now a reoccurring theme of northern California wine tastings that I have attended during the past year; not once, twice or three times. It’s been four times now that I’ve been surprisingly impressed with the sleeper wine of the region: Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc. At this event, it was the Whitehall Lane 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (9% Semillon added for body, partial barrel fermented for mouthfeel, aroma and complexity). It was crisp and refreshing, really hitting the spot on that humid Houston night.

In fact, last year the San Francisco Chronicle called out the Ten Best Napa Valley Sauvignon Blancs and Whitehall Lane’s was in the pack. They said, “2010 Whitehall Lane Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($16, 13%): A lean, fresh effort from this St. Helena name that shows off its charming dry-grass presence – hay and apricot skin aromas, with a mineral edge to ripe lemon fruit.” This wine is not in competition with the intensely “grapefruity” New Zealand wines. It is more a step back into time and place of central France – the classic wines of Sancerre and Graves. My hat’s off to winemaker Dean Sylvester and thanks to special guest Edd Lopez for making a stop back in his old stomping grounds of Houston, Texas, to present the wines.

One last point that needs to be made is the great food pairings by Chefs Trikilis and Degante in each and every course, but particularly the fine accompaniment to the Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc. With a wine of this finesse, it would have been easy to overshadow the wine with the passed appetizers. But, their creations were both flavorful, yet in balance and complementary with this wine. Shrimp on Grit Cakes (with tomato basil and balsamic reduction) and Togarashi Tuna on Cucumber (with chipotle lime aioli) worked their magic. Both the wine and appetizers did their palate dance to my delight, as well as in the following courses of the dinner.

 Posted by at 2:49 pm
Jul 042012

Houston’s Finest: L’Olivier Hosts Château la Nerthe Tasting

I jumped at the chance to sample the cuisine of acclaimed executive chef Olivier Ciesielski for Tony’s restaurant fame now in his own L’Olivier Restaurant & Bar with partner Mary Clarkson in the heart of Houston’s Montrose district. Equally appealing was the chance to revisit the wines of Château la Nerthe that I have admired since my visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape almost a decade ago. It was an evening that focused on the artistry of the kitchen woven into a tapestry with the artistry of time and “le vignoble de pierres et le Pape”. My comment of le vignoble de pierres (or the vineyard of stones) is obvious if you have every walked the la Nerthe vineyard or even if you have Googled a picture of it.

The evening’s tastings took me back to a 2003 trip to the south of France. On that trip, I had my first experience with the chock-full-of-rocks estate vineyard and wines of Chateau la Nerthe, one of the most highly-regarded properties in the region. In fact, Château la Nerth has a deep connection to Texas being one of the first chateaus in France to replant with American rootstock following the widespread phylloxera vineyard disaster of the 1800’s. The rootstock that saved many French and European vineyards was from Texas wild grapevines sent by T.V. Munson of Denison, Texas.

Doc Russ, Texas Wineslinger sans gray hair!

A glass of Prieuré de Montézargues Rosé from nearby French region of Tavel AOC welcomed and refreshed me on my arrival at L’Olivier. The pleasantly tart red berry characteristics of this wine fit so well into my memories of southern France. After the first sip, I confirmed that this wine also fits quite well, better than most libations, right here on a sweaty summer evening in Houston.

From there, the fare was ceviche done with L’Olivier flair and two white Rhone blends, la Nerthe’s Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2010 and its single vineyard, Clos de Beauvenir 2009. The latter lingered with lemon drop, crisp acidity and the classic minerally character featuring Roussanne, the dominant blending grape and classic grape variety of the southern Rhône Valley.

After repartee from our hosts, presenter’s comments from Christophe Bristiel (Ex. Manager, Château la Nerthe) and two quaffable and quite enjoyable red wines (Domaine de Renjarde Cote du Rhône Village Rouge and La Petite Fontaine Cote du Rhône Rouge), the main players of the evening were on the table. In a blink on an eye we were into the serious red wines of the southern Rhône region: the la Nerthe Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge 2008 and the classic Cuvee des Cadettes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2005. The wines were expertly decanted and prepared by sommelier James Watkins over two hours prior. The Cuvee des Cadettes was striking by its deep purple color, full body and overall balance, well appointed with an overlay of aromatic spice, vanilla extract, game and leather. There was almost too much in the glass to behold and appreciate.

I think that you can tell, it was a night not be forgotten any time soon. If not, please read more comments from Tanji Patton (click here).

P.S. For those that following VintageTexas for tips on where to find Texas wine, don’t overlook our “In the hood” French restaurant L’Olivier. They feature Duchman Family Winery’s Vermentino, Viognier and Sangiovese.

L’Olivier Restaurant & Bar
240 Westheimer Rd.
Houston, TX 77006
Phone :   713.360.6313


 Posted by at 2:48 pm
Jun 292012

Write Off the Vine – Texas Wine News (Harvest 2012 Edition)

The 2012 Texas Wine Harvest is Coming Fast: Both On Vine and Online

Grape harvest time in Texas usually starts on or around July 1st. This year it’s already here; a bit earlier than normal with some gulf-area vineyards with Blanc Du Bois starting around June 20th. If you want to participate in this year’s harvest, you can do it either online or on the vine.

Denise Clark (@DeniseClarkeTX), Jeff Cope (@TXwineLover) and I (@VintageTexas) hope you can join us for the next TXwine Twitter Tuesday at 7 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012. This month we’d like to share tales from Texas Wine Grape Harvests (2012 or in the past) by posting comments and pictures. Join in on Twitter.

If you prefer your harvesting on the vine, check out the upcoming Texas vineyard harvest and grape stomping festivities:

Details for both online and on vine activities are at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=6365. Hope you can join us online on July 10th to share Texas vineyard, harvest, stomping experiences/pictures.

— — — — —

Texas Wine: CapRock Winery Makes A Comeback

by Jessica Dupuy (Eat My Words/Texas Monthly)

By now we all know that the Napa Valley of Texas is the Hill Country—at least in appearance. The winding roads that bend around ranches and homesteads and lanscapes of live oak mots and cedar-post fences. And every now and then, you come upon rows and rows of vineyard. Of course, it’s on a significantly smaller scale than the vineyards you see in Napa. And if you judge by the amount of wine many of these wineries are selling, you can quickly estimate that there’s no possible way these vineyards are supplying all of the juice these wineries need to fill these bottles….But what if you want to check out where the heart of the Texas Wine agriculture really is? Are there wineries up there that you can visit? Absolutely, though they are few and far between. In fact, three primary spots I’d point you too can be all be visited in a single day and they include: McPherson Cellars, Llano Estacado Winery and CapRock Winery.

More at: http://www.texasmonthly.com/blogs/eatmywords/?p=7593

— — — — —

Like That Wine? Try This One: A Guide to Texas Wine Varietals

by Katharine Shilcutt (Eating My Words/HoustonPress)

In last week’s cover story, we discussed the fact that Texas vineyards still stubbornly grow varietals that aren’t suited to the Texan weather or soil — well-known grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay. But they’re doing it for a reason: Too many wine drinkers don’t want to stray from the varietals they know and love.

So here’s a suggestions, Texas wine drinkers: Try a wine that is similar to your preferred grape, but which actually thrives here. You just might discover a new favorite, and you’ll encourage Texas grape growers to diversify their offerings as a result. It’s a win-win all around.

More at: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/06/like_that_wine_try_this_one_a.php

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It’s Now Official: Texas Wine is the Official Wine of the Texas Hamburger!

Super-Size Your Texas Hamburger with a Glass of Texas Wine

Calling all Texas wineries and Texas Hamburger lovers, too.

According to “Hambassador” Rick Vanderpool, “It’s time to name your favorite Texas wine that you think is best-paired with the Texas Hamburger.” Why?

Well, the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Board of Directors recently voted to adopt the Texas Wine as “The Official Wine of the Texas Hamburger”.  They encouraged Texas Wineries to select one of their wines that’s the perfect complement for the Texas Hamburger and market this wine on their winery’s website.  TWGGA is also going to update winery members’ information on the association website with the wine chosen to pair with the Texas Hamburger.

More: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=6401

— — — — —

High Plains Vineyards Tour [The Primo Grapegrowing Region in Texas]

By Jeff Cope (TXWineLover)

Dusty Timmons, former viticulture advisor for the past two years for the West Texas region including the High Plains, had offered to give us a tour of the High Plain vineyards whenever we went to the Lubbock area. Since he had to travel to the various vineyards and help with any problems they may have in their vineyard, we could not have asked for a better guide so we gladly accepted his offer.

We met Dusty in Brownfield and jumped into his truck to begin the tour. We learned later it was a great idea to be in a pickup instead of the small car we had rented with the roads we drove on. The biggest concentration of vineyards is just east of Brownfield with around 300 acres in about 6 or 7 square miles. Terry County, where Brownfield is located, has the highest concentration of vineyards anywhere in the state of Texas, and includes the two largest vineyards in the state. Terry County has around 700 acres of grapes in its 30 square miles. Last year the state of Texas produced about 3,100 tons of grapes and this year alone Terry County will produce almost 4,000 tons.

More: http://txwinelover.com/2012/06/high-plains-vineyards/

— — — — —

The Best Wine in Texas? La Cruz de Comal Pétard Blanc Tasting Notes

by Jeremy Parzen (Eating Our Words/HoustonPress)

“Pétard Blanc,” writes La Cruz de Comal owner Lewis Dickson on his winery’s Web site, “is a proprietary name and means ‘white firecracker’ in French. We call it that because of the hallmark natural acidity this wine always has and thus, its explosiveness on the palate.”

If you read our recent cover story on the Texas wine industry, “Texas Wines: Behind the Cellar Door,” you know that attaining healthy acidity in wine is one of the great challenges that Texas winemakers face.

In the case of criminal defense attorney-turned-winemaker and native Houstonian Lewis Dickson, he is able to deliver acidity-driven white wines thanks to the grape that goes into the bottle — Blanc du Bois, a hybrid naturally high in acidity developed by Florida University researchers to combat Pierce’s disease.

More: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/06/the_best_wine_in_texas.php

— — — — —

Cabernet Grill Texas Wine Country Restaurant

from Trip Advisor

Chef Ross Burtwell’s wonderful and creative cuisine is paired with Texas wine. He has the largest (and amazingly diverse) Texas wine list in the whole dang universe!

Restaurant Reviews:

“Delicious food, wonderful atmosphere” – Fabulous food. We ate on the patio complete with water feature.

“Elegant and delicious meal!” – Food and service were fantastic. I had the coconut shrimp with beef tenderloin and my husband had the chicken fried ribeye steak topped with the lobster in a cream sauce. Through the recommendation of the waitress we enjoyed a wonderful wine with our meal. Everything well worth the money!

For more reviews and map, click here. Location: 2805 S State Hwy 16, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

 Posted by at 3:05 pm
Jun 282012

It’s Now Official: Texas Wine is the Official Wine of the Texas Hamburger!

Super-Size Your Texas Hamburger with a Glass of Texas Wine 

Calling all Texas wineries and Texas Hamburger lovers, too.

According to “Hambassador” Rick Vanderpool, “It’s time to name your favorite Texas wine that you think is best-paired with the Texas Hamburger.” Why?

Well, the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Board of Directors recently voted to adopt the Texas Wine as “The Official Wine of the Texas Hamburger”.  They encouraged Texas Wineries to select one of their wines that’s the perfect compliment for the Texas Hamburger and market this wine on their winery’s website.  TWGGA is also going to update winery members’ information on the association website with the wine chosen to pair with the Texas Hamburger.

How did Rick become the Hambassador of Texas? Well, I guess if I can be the self-appointed Czar of Texas wine (click here), Rick has all the right to be the Texas Hambassador. His qualifications include an authoritative book on the hamburger’s roots and lineage in Texas titled, “The Texas Hamburger: History of a Lone Star Icon“. He has also traveled Texas doing his “research” in burger joints all around the state that he documented in a slick new Texas burger poster complete with his photographs of many of the burger joints and shacks he’s visited.

Bigger Version: http://www.whatssograpeabouttexas.com/purchase#texasHamburgerPrint

Hambassor Rick said, “According to my research, the hamburger goes back to its genesis at the patty shaping hands of Fletcher “Short” Davis in the late 1880’s. “Ol Dave” as he was called made it at his Fletcher Davis Lunch Counter in Athens, TX.  The rest is just left to history that I track in my book.” Details at: The Texas Hamburger Poster Details.

He continued and said, “What better match for our Texas burgers than our very own Texas wines. Any self-respecting Texan just wouldn’t accept a California wine if served with his Texas burger”.

I can’t argue with that…

— — — — —

Rick and I would like to hear from you. What do you think about Texas wine, The Official Wine of the Texas Hamburger? and what Texas wine do you choose? Give us your feedback!

Please post your comments and suggestions. Enjoy!


 Posted by at 12:52 pm
Apr 182012

Sullivan’s Steak House: Low Lights, Dark Paneling & New “Bar None” Menu

The night was made for red wine: the lights were low and the paneling that surroundedd the room was dark. Our server presented a bottle of wine with a black label with familiar red lettters that conveyed the name “Sullivans”.  This was Sullivan’s Steak House in Houston, Texas yesterday with the evening’s host, Saidi Syed.

Tweets were flying from me @VintageTexas and @TXWineLover, supported by Cookbook Chef Erwin Hicks Miller and MyTable Magazine’s associate publisher Taylor Byrne Dodge.

The night celebrated the inauguration of Sullivan’s new wine and bar menu:

1. New bar menu – that, bar none, was a delight to behold…personal faves were the Tuna Tacos and the Wild Arugula Flatbread. But, then came the steak…Wow!

2. New specially blended Sullivan’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the hand of rock winemaker Bob Foley.

3. Mid-menu, Sullivan’s Wine Sommelier Kristie Farmer presented our taste of Flora Springs Trilogy over the top red blend (on the wine card for only $99). I no sooner lauched my Tweet, but I got the following response via @FloraSprings: Yum! MT @vintagetexas Sliced NY Strip steak at @SullivansSteak with Flora Springs Trilogy “delightful” http://t.co/NtBg9U86

4. We received  a preview of an upcoming Sullivan’s vintner dinner featuring wines from Frog’s Leap (a taste of Frog’s Leap Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon that gave the famous “Rutherford Dust”).

What to see more? Do a Twitter search on the Sullivan Steakhouse twitter handle…@SullivansSteak. We posted lots of TwitPics of great bar food.

Then,  stop on by and do your own taste test of Sullivan’s new bar menu. You’ll be glad you did.

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 Posted by at 9:45 pm