Jul 152011
 

When the Sun’s Going Down, Rainbow Lodge’s Pouring Texas Wine

This past week in Houston, we really didn’t have any weather. We just had hot!

I needed a break from the sizzle of the Houston outdoors. So, my wife and I and friends Jim and Lillian Skogsberg decided to pay a visit to a long time Houston retreat: Rainbow Lodge.

On Wednesday, as part of their July Patio Wine Series, they featured a selection of Texas wines in a buffet affair. From the turnout, I have to say one thing….Texas wines must be getting damn popular! The place was packed.

The featured fare included:

Summer Tomato Panzanela with Our House Ciabatta & McPherson Cellars, Viognier, 2010

Baked Corn and Andouille Casserole & La Cruz de Comal, Du Petit Lait, Rosé, 2010

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Treviso and Peaches & Flat Creek Estate, Super Texan, 2009

Plum Clafoutis with Chantilly Cream & Sister Creek Vineyards, Cabernet/Merlot/Sangiovese blend, 2008

Four excellent wines were paired with the style of Chef Mark Schmidt. He knows his Texas wines, that’s for sure. I met Chef Mark next to the pouring station for the La Cruz de Comal Rosé and he reminded me that he’s done serious  time in the Texas Hill Country while working in Marble Falls. This gave him a chance to get to know many of the Hill Country wineries. For this event, he picked some of his favorites.

My Personal favorite combos during our Rainbow Lodge evening were:

Baked Corn and Andouille Casserole & La Cruz de Comal, Du Petit Lait, Rosé, 2010

The corn casserole was spicy, Oooooh-weeeee! However, the La Cruz de Comal Rosé quenched it. Also, in the setting sunlight, this wine was nearly fluorescent pink. The wine was bit cloudy and had a little residual carbonation that caught the sunlight just right. If you know Lewis Dickson and his winemaking partner, Tony Coturri)  at La Cruz de Comal, they are natural wine aficionados. They use native vineyard yeasts to ferment their wines and don’t filter or fine the finished product. You can’t get much more natural than that. If you want to read more about their approach to winemaking and my day at their Hill Country vineyard with Jeremy Parzen and Alice Fiering, click here. It was too cool!

Summer Tomato Panzanela with Our House Ciabatta & McPherson, Viognier, 2010

This was a great starting combination; the food was part salad and part Ciabatta: light, cool and refreshing and so was the McPherson Viognier. Kim McPherson has always favored warm weather varieties of grapes that came to Texas via their original home base of southern Europe.  Viognier normally resides in the south of France, The Rhone Valley, but it has found a new home here in Texas, particularly when the wine is made by the had a Kim McPherson. It was crisp and floral, but not overblown like so many winemakers do it. This IS the good stuff. Click here for more on this and other McPherson wines.

The other combos were excellent too, but these two were hard to beat. The Plum Clafoutis with Chantilly Cream & Sister Creek Vineyards, Cabernet/Merlot/Sangiovese, 2008 was perhaps the most non-conventional pairing. It brought together a semi-sweet dessert preparation with a dry red wine. However, I think I know what Chef Mark was trying to do in this one. This soft red wine is very much in the style of the Merlot-dominated wines on the “Right Bank” in the Bordeaux wine region of France. It has dominant plum and herbal notes on the nose and palate. The pairing brought together the plum in the dessert with the plum in wine.

By the time we left the two hour event, the sun was low in the sky and we were refreshed and relaxed.

Stay tuned for more upcoming wine and food events at Rainbow Lodge, one of Houston finest, at: www.rainbow-lodge.com

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