Write Off The Vine: Texas Wine News – August 11, 2011
Media, Technology Pros To Kick Off Wine Conference, TEXSOM Conference: August 13-15 at Four Seasons – Las Colinas
On August 13, social media, blog and traditional journalism experts will broaden the depth and scope of TEXSOM, solidifying its position as the country’s preeminent wine conference. As in years prior, leading wine professionals and connoisseurs from across the nation will gather at Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas on August 13-15 to share wine knowledge. However, this newly added Media and Technology Symposium will take that spirit a step further by teaching attendees how to stay better connected with each other and consumers as the wine subculture becomes increasingly mainstream. For the Symposium, seating is limited to 50 guests. For more information or to register, visit www.texsom.com.
In its seventh year, the conference’s core values and focus remains the same: top-notch wine education at affordable prices. In addition to the daylong Media and Technology Symposium on August 13, TEXSOM offers two days of wine seminars led by the world’s top experts and a grand tasting. Wine lovers of any level will appreciate the Monday, August 15 Grand Tasting (150 wines, $75) and the Sunday, August 14 classes ($150 for five seminars and lunch). Although open to the public, these classes are also appropriate for those working in the industry— such as distributor representatives, sommeliers, restaurant managers and servers.
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Texas Wine: The Heat of Harvest
by Jessica Dupuy (Eat My Words/Texas Monthly)
You don’t need a thermometer to tell you that we’re well into the dog days of summer. Typically, early August has Texas Grapegrowers circling their vineyards and readying for a late month harvest. But the record heat coupled with our land-parched drought has forced many growers to back up their regular harvest plans. Rather than picking grapes in late August, many began in early July.
Which is how I found myself at the Salt Lick Vineyards in Driftwood on July 15 at 5:30 in the morning with a team of “pickers” ready to harvest the vineyard’s lot of Tempranillo grapes.
“The heat has just been so intense, that these grapes are ready now,” says vineyard manager Jay Knepp of the Salt Lick Vineyards. “The sugars are already around 25, which is pretty high for these types of grapes. Sometimes you just have to go with what Mother Nature gives you rather than based on your own timing.”
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Is Roussanne the Next Breakthrough White Wine in Texas?
by Andrew Chalk (SideDish/D Magazine)
I have visited over 50 Texas wineries over the last year and one of the trends that I have noticed is an increasing number of producers making wines that are entirely, or predominantly, from the Roussanne grape. This grape, which originated in the Rhone wine region of France, would seem to be an obvious candidate for the High Plains and Hill Country viticultural areas of Texas given the similarity of climate and the availability of similar sandy soils to those in the Rhone. Also Roussanne’s common “bottlemate” Viognier is already well-established in the state, and widely considered the grape variety that makes the best white wine from Texas.
To get an idea of how the grape variety is doing, I emailed eight Texas wineries that produce Roussanne from Texas grapes. Seven responded, and all agreed to send a sample bottle of their current vintage.
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Texas Wine Tours: Traveler Reviews
“Best way to experience the wineries”
We chose the limo over the shuttle and had a great time not worring about finding the next location or which were better than others and we could drink as much as we wanted. Our driver Andy (ask for him to drive u) was great, he would label everything we bought and take it to the car for us. He let us know what his suggestions were for the next stop and was very knowleddeable about the wines at each location. We wanted to drink a bottle before our next stop and he was nice enough to take his time getting us there so we could enjoy it. Andy wasn’t worried about the schedule he let us stay almost 2 hours longer than normal. When someone gives up their own time to make sure you are happy you KNOW that you are being taken care of!!
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Wine Time – Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs
By Jeremy Parzen (Wine Time / Houston Press)
Vintage Texas: Once again this week, we lead with top Texas wine blogger and Houstonian Russ Kane, who contemplates the age-old conundrum of the modern era: “Can a red wine pair with sushi?” The answer: “Yep! Texas Hills Vineyard Barbera.” A scientist at heart, Russ then offers his readers a fisheye view into his thought process: “I made my way to Whole Foods Market in the Montrose area of downtown Houston in the blaze of the afternoon. The thought in my mind was cool red-berry infused Barbera as I looked through the refrigerated case where the fresh-made sushi resided. Most of the offerings were either too light or what I thought might be too ‘fishy,’ as red wines tend to make fish taste even ‘fishier,’ particularly if the red wine has a high tannin load from aging in oak barrels. This is likely one of the reasons why most red wines are not the usual wine pairing partners for fish dishes. However, the Texas Hills Barbera was governed by crisp red fruit and only had a few stealthy tannins to offer.” Japanese cuisine paired with a Northern Italian grape variety grown in the Hill Country? Only in Texas…
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Texas Winery Passport Rewards and Los Pinos Weekend
By TX Wine Lover – Visiting the Great Texas Wineries
As we have mentioned before, the Texas Winery Passport program is definitely something you should be involved with if you are visiting Texas wineries. The rewards get better and better as you visit more wineries. Even though the Texas Winery Passport program will be changing in some way at the start of September, we still recommend collecting passport codes as you visit Texas wineries.
We have reached a passport level where the rewards are now given out by the wineries instead of the Texas Department of Agriculture. The latest reward chosen for us was an overnight stay and private candlelit wine dinner for two in the barrel room at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. This of course sounded great to us, and it didn’t hurt that Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards is one of our favorite wineries.
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Lavender & Wine Festival offers change of pace in the country
By Kim Hogstrom (yourhoustonnews.com)
Oh gosh, the traffic, the smells, the noise, the worries and the speed of the world. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away if, only for a day, to the peace and pace of the country? If that thought appeals, then we have a day trip for you – the one-of-a-kind, “Only in Texas,” Lavender and Wine Fest in Chappell Hill.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., all are invited to stroll fields of fragrant lavender, or simply sit in a rocking chair on the porch, and sip Texas wine, eat Texas barbecue, and gaze across the rolling hills of the country. Now in its sixth year, the festival is only about an hour’s drive from Houston, but it’s a world away.
Who in their right Texas mind can resist that?