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

— — — — —

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.

 Posted by at 9:45 pm
Apr 132012
 

On the Texas Wine Trail with Seri (I Want a Texas Roussanne…No Don’t Want Texas Rue in Sun City)

Well, I’m in Lubbock this weekend signing my book (The Wineslinger Chronicles) at the Lubbock Arts Festival 11 am to 2 pm today and later at 3-5 pm at Llano Estacado Winery and then from 6-7:30 pm at Barnes and Noble. Stop by if your are in the area.

While I’ve got some time this morning, I decided to give my new iPhone 4S a little quality time that included getting better acquainted with my new travel partner with a great sounding feminine voice…Seri.

Here is how my morning’s get to know Seri session went:

Russ: Seri, what does you name mean?

Seri: I don’t think that I can explain it in YOUR language.

Russ: Seri, want to go to a wines?

Seri: I found two wineries fairly close to you…McPherson Cellars and CapRock Winery.

Russ: What’s a good wine?

Seri: Want to do a websearch for a good Texas wine?

Russ: OK

Seri: Looking for a List of Really Good Texas Wine? Here it is:
http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1974

Russ: That’s very good Seri.

Seri: I don’t understand!

Russ: Seri, (I don’t think I can explain in YOUR language) I’d like to find a good Texas Roussanne.

Seri: Here’s Texas Ave. in Lubbock, but I’m not certain this is where you want to go.

Russ: Seri, I want to find a good Texas Roussanne wine.

Seri: I’ve found a number of wine bars in Texas and I’ve sorted them by rating.

Russ: No, I want to find a good Texas Roussanne wine.

Seri: Sorry but I couldn’t find Texas Rue in Sun City. (Now, I think that she is playing with me, don’t you?).

Russ: No Seri, I want to find a good Texas wine made from R-O-U-S-S-A-N-N-E.

Seri: Sorry, Russell, I can’t look for places in Burkina Faso.

Russ: OK, Seri, let’s forget Roussanne. Find me a good Texas Chardonnay.

Seri: I found 14 restaurants whose reviews mention Chardonnay.

Russ: Do any of these restaurants have Texas Cabernet Sauvignon?

Seri: I found 8 restaurants that have Cabernet?

Russ: Do any of these have Texas Cabernet?

Seri: I did not find any restaurants that have Texas Cabernet

Russ: Seri, I’m looking for Texas wine in Lubbock.

Seri: I found these wine bars in Lubbock (shows map to The Funky Door Bistro)

Russ: Website for Funky Door Bistro.

Seri: http://www.thefunkydoorwineroom.com/

Upon searching this website I found the following Texas wine:

Flat Creek “Super Texan” $49 that compares to Allegrini Palazzo Delle Torre at $48.
Flat Creek Pinot Grigio $42 that compares to MacMurray Pinot Gris at $38.
….and finally:
CapRock Roussanne $32.

Well, this was my first real attempt to get to know my new travel partner. After a long, somewhat accidental and convoluted path, I finally found my bottle of Texas Roussanne.

20120413-105015.jpg

 Posted by at 9:38 am
Apr 062012
 

Celebrate Texas Hill Country, Wine & Music at Fredericksburg Festival April 26-28th, 2012

If you love Food and Wine and the Texas Hill Country in the Springtime, come CELEBRATE Texas Wine, Texas Music and Texas Cuisine at the 2012 Hill Country Wine and Music Festival! Join us for a WINE and FOOD LOVERS SPRING-FLING, benefiting the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Tickets and more info: http://www.hillcountrywineandmusic.com/tickets

Lodging: Click here

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 – The Prelude
Plan to arrive in Fredericksburg, Texas, on Wednesday evening, April 25th! You will want to be a part of ALL the INCREDIBLE Wine and Food Prelude Events planned just for YOU!
After you check into your hotel or B&B, have a wonderful, relaxed meal in Fredericksburg, at one of our World-Class restaurants; and then take in some live music – on Wednesday nights in Fredericksburg, Texas, you’ll find a variety of GREAT “Live Music” options: the “TEXAS Songwriters Showcase” at Hondo’s on Main, Crossroads, Silver Creek… or, maybe, a drive out to Luckenbach Texas, for a world-famous “Pickers Circle” – You just never know who might be there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012 – Explore Wine Road 290
Spend your day EXLORING the “2nd Fastest Growing Wine Region” in the USA! All along US HWY 290, on either side of Fredericksburg, you’ll discover award-winning wineries, vineyards, and tasting rooms. If you want a TOTAL WINE WEEKEND book accommodations at a Bed and Breakfast in the Vineyards. Several Wineries offer a delightful “Wine Destination Bed and Breakfast Experience” – Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, Messina Hof.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 Evening – “Texas Vintners Dinner and Reception”
Join us for a very special evening of Texas Food, Wine and Music at the 2012 “Texas Vintners Dinner and Reception”. This years’ “Vintners Dinner” will be hosted by Executive Chef Ross Burtwell from the AWARD-WINNING, Cabernet Grill – Texas Wine Country Restaurant. Enjoy a FABULOUS evening of Texas Hill Country Cuisine paired with select wines from SEVEN wineries! AMAZING!

Menu: http://www.hillcountrywineandmusic.com/index.php/download_file/-/view/83/

Friday, April 27th, 2012 – Explore art Galleries, Wineries, Museums, Natural Beauty
EXLORE! So much to do and see in and around Fredericksburg, Texas! Shops in the Historic Main Street District, Art Galleries, Wineries! and Tasting Rooms, Chocolat – Devine! Restaurants! Enchanted Rock! Museums! Parks!

Friday, April 27th, Evening – 6:00pm to 9:30pm “Texas Wine Tasting and Food Pairing – BON APPETIT from the TEXAS HILL COUNTRY! Salute!

Venue: National Museum of the Pacific War’s Ruff Haus

Our incredible Friday Night prelude Event – “Texas Wine Tasting and Food Pairing” was “Specially” planned for the “Texas Wine and Food Lover”! Join your hosts, acclaimed Texas authors, Dr. Russell Kane and Chef Terry Thompson-Anderson for a delightful evening of EXPLORING TEXAS WINE and FOOD, with music by award winning Texas singer/songwriter, John Arthur Martinez!

Sample Texas Wine and delectable “Local Texas” culinary offerings and find out why TEXAS is so special! Your hosts will be “Signing” copies of their recently released books: The Texas Hill Country – A Food and Wine Lover’s Paradise by Terry Thompson-Anderson and The Wineslinger Chronicles – Texas on the Vine by Dr. Russell Kane. Your hosts have collaborated to pair wines from Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, Messina Hof Winery, Sandstone Cellars, Texas Hills Vineyard, and Torre di Pietra Vineyards with tapas-style recipes from Terry’s book. Our Festival’s first silent auction will be held in conjunction in this event. What a NIGHT IN THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY! Event admission price of $100 includes signed copies of both author’s books. Please purchase your tickets now as attendance is limited.

Menu: http://www.hillcountrywineandmusic.com/index.php/download_file/-/view/84/

Saturday, April 28, 2012 – 11am to 7pm HILL COUNTRY WINE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL at WILDSEED FARMS

GET READY FOR A Wine, Music and Food FESTIVAL IN THE WILDFLOWERS!
Experience a Texas Hill Country spring at Wildseed Farms, while sampling the most delicious Wine and Food from the HEART of Texas Wine Country! We’re bringing together libations, vibrations, and great Texas food in a celebration of Texas Wine and Texas Culinary Traditions. The Festival will be held at Wildseed Farms, just east of Fredericksburg, Texas. Come join us for a Wine and Food EXPERIENCE TEXAS-style. Sample Texas Wine and Hill Country cuisine from participating restaurants and specialty food purveyors. The 2012 Festival Music line-up includes Texas Hill Country Favorites: Trevor La Bonte Jazz, John Arthur Martinez and Joel Guzman, the Almost Patsy Cline Band, and Thomas Michael Riley! These bands will get you out on the DANCE FLOOR for a “Wine Country Boot Scoot” – now that’s TEXAS! Admission includes a souvenir wine glass, seven wine tastings, and DELICIOUS food samples. Participating restaurants will offer a variety of foods for sale and wine will be available for purchase by the glass or bottle, along with non-alcoholic beverages, souvenir T-shirts, hats and posters. A wonderful selection of domestic and foreign beer is available at The BrewBonnet Biergarten.

Come on out for this FESTIVAL and support the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts!

 Posted by at 9:01 am
Apr 032012
 

The Best Texas Wine Money Can’t Buy

…and it’s not from Greece!

I had dinner with friends last Saturday evening at Lucio’s on Taft in downtown Houston. They are a tremendous BYOB establishment ($5 corkage fee!) with a great menu to boot. I brought a bottle of wine to the gathering and asked my dinner companions to guess the origin.

It was a white, nearly colorless wine, light in body and crisp beyond the norm.The aroma was that of white flowers, citrus and a hint of musk. As the reviews came in from my guests, it was apparent that the wine gave the revelers nuances of a Mediterranean white wine, the likely source of which was Greece (at least in their opinion). You know what I’m talking about…crisp, white and floral, but made from a grape with a name that you can’t spell (lots of O’s, X’s and Y’s) and if you saw it written out, you still couldn’t pronounce it either.

However, in this case, the unlikely source of the grapes was not a Mediterranean island but Austin County Texas, located inland from the Texas Gulf Coast around where the flat Gulf margin starts to roll and undulate indicating the coastal outline some two million years ago.

The wine was made from Blanc Du Bois grapes grown in Jerry Watson’s Austin County Vineyard. In fact, Jerry also made this wine himself in his estates micro-winery under controlled low temperature fermentation.

The reason I say that this was the best Texas wine that money can’t buy is because it’s not for sale! Jerry make it for himself and his wife Cozette and a few of his close friends to enjoy. He is an amateur winemaker, but a damn good one. I feel honored that Jerry gave me a bottle to enjoy that I shared with my friends at dinner.

Most people have never heard of Blanc Du Bois and if they knew its heritage and where it is grown, they would likely turn up the noses and not give it a fair shake. Well, Blanc Du Bois is ready to go mainstream, ready to be poured on any table next to vinifera wines from major growing reagions. More of it is grown in Texas than anywhere else in the modern wine world. Furthermore, most of it is grown around the Texas Gulf Coast and up into East Texas, with a little even making it up to the Hill Country and North Texas, too.

For those of you that are overly self-conscious and fear what your friends might say to you enjoying a Blanc Du Bois from Texas, just tell them it’s a wine from Greece and that you’d like to tell them what it is, but you can’t spell it or pronounce it.

 Posted by at 8:36 pm
Mar 182012
 

Houston Rodeo - Messina Hof Solera Sherry $105,000 at Auction

Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – March 18, 2012 | Top Stories this Week

Asador at Dallas Renaissance Hotel: Better Than Ever. Why Don’t Locals Eat There?

Posted on March 13th, 2012 12:35pm by Andrew Chalk – Andy asks a good Question…

One thing I would like them to revisit is their wine list. They need to carry over the local element of the food to to the list. There is not a single Texas wine on the list. This is at the very time in Texas wine history at which there is least justification for such an omission. I suspect that it happened because the list is sourced from ‘central listing’ and, rather like the case at the similarly focused Central 214, the local people need to bring the issue to the attention of the powers that be. If Hunter Hammett at The Pyramid Restaurant can sell Texas wine, then so can others.

More: http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2012/03/13/asador-at-dallas-renaissance-hotel-better-than-ever-why-dont-locals-eat-there/

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Houston Rodeo Uncorked breaks another record

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 4:00 am By Ron Saikowski / Houston Wine Walk

The Texas Champion Wine, Messina Hof Solera Sherry broke another record garnering $105,000 for scholarships. Paul Bonarrigo VII was very proud of his family’s creation. As the second generation of the family at Messina Hof Winery, Paul VII is equally excited about another creation expected around the middle of July, being Paul Anthony Bonarrigo. Congratulations to a wonderful Texas wine family!

When the dust settled after 52 wine lots were auctioned, the scholarship fund for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was richer by $1.41 million dollars.

More: http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/greater_houston/entertainment/houston-rodeo-uncorked-breaks-another-record/article_46bbb755-67ad-518b-832b-de401d034b07.html

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Wine Time

Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

By Jeremy Parzen | Eating Our Words, HoustonPress Blog, Wed., Mar. 14 2012 at 11:12 AM

TX Wine Lover: Although the Texas Hill Country Wineries website does have a calendar of wine events, the Texas wine industry as a whole still relies on bloggers like Jeff Cope for exhaustive coverage of upcoming events and winery profiles. Someone ought to give Jeff a medal for his newly updated calendar here, including events through July of this year.

Vintage Texas: And speaking of upcoming Texas wine industry events (and medals that ought to be awarded to Texas wine bloggers), we wouldn’t know about the March 19 Viognier Symposium in Comanche if it weren’t for top Texas wine blogger and industry insider Russ Kane and his preview of the conference.

While Blanc du [Bois] remains the “great white hope” for Texas in our view, Viognier is quickly gaining traction as a top white grape variety here. Its sturdiness in the vineyard and its unctuousness in the glass seem to play well here in the Lone Star state.

More: http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/03/oysters_wine_fake_wine_labels.php

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From the Twitterverse:

@FourPointWine: 4.0 Cellars is progressing swiftly….we R excited about being open soon! Plan2 join us for the #Txwine Experience soon!

@VintageTexas: Top 3 Wineries in Central Texas http://t.co/iOYzpXiE @flatcreekestate @VintageTexas @CityWineJournal @DuchmanWinery

Hilmy Cellars – Grand Opening this weekend between Stonewall and Fredericksburg. http://t.co/ub8wYCmE #TxWine #wine http://t.co/WHo0AiXl

@Vino50Wines: Delish! TX Reserve Roussanne. Lush! @mcphersoncellar Wine America Spring Congressional.) http://t.co/2ztPrevd #TXWine

@RetreatHillWine: St. Patty’s Day Retreat Hill Cellars Montgomery, Tx. The big leprechaun, 2much grn Riesling http://t.co/LWzrDovg #TXwine

@seanbuckley: Yes http://t.co/gu1fNZix” <<Bet this looks even worse the morning after! #greenbeer

@alawine: Wine Blogs, Dirty PIctures and Growing Your Anatomy http://t.co/HO8iQMi6 #fb #wine

Perhaps it’s not local wine quality the problem but the wine bloggers? http://t.co/Xv4SNyX0 #drinklocal #localwine #txwine #vawine #wbc12

The folks at Arche’ had to rip up some serious old vines! Kudos. (via Texas Wino) #txwine http://t.co/Wko62hAi

Local Wine Movements active in Colorade & Texas > http://t.co/qPFLKniM < @DrinkLocalWine #COwine #TXwine

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 Posted by at 8:48 am