A Glass of Texas Wine in One Hand and Your Kebab in the Other: Highlights from September #TXwine Twitter Tuesday
Texas Wine Twitter Tuesdays, started by the Texas Department of Agriculture under their GO TEXAN WINE program, have ended but were very successful in building awareness of Texas wine with a growing community of Texas wine aficionados. Texas Wine Twitter Tuesdays are being continued as TXwine Twitter Tuesdays, a community-led effort, hosted by VintageTexas. If you would like more information or wish to participate, contact Russ Kane or Denise Fraser.
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The first new #TXwine Twitter Tuesday was held yesterday evening and featured “Tweeter” Don Pullum, Texas grape grower and consultant winemaker, who led our Tweetchat about “Pairing Acidity of Wine and Food”. The wine list and recipes for the this online wine and food extravaganza were posted a week prior on VintageTexas. Click here to view. They included six wines (three from Texas: Duchman Dolcetto, Haak Tempranillo and Texas Hills Orange Moscato) and three recipes including gazpacho, kebabs and ice cream/topping.
Since it was a holiday weekend most people did their food preparations either on Sunday or Monday and purchased their wines. I did a dry run of the preparations (See above) on Monday evening with my wife, since she was going out of town the following morning, leaving me to do the event solo from our home in Houston.
It was a mashup of food, garnishes, wine bottles, glasses, computer and my smartphone. Promply at 7 pm, I launched the inaugural event with Twitter blasts:
VintageTexas Russ Kane”Howdy! Russ Kane VintageTexas here. Welcome to the new #TXwine Twitter Tuesdays now a community-led effort. Don’s a Harvard graduate been an investment manager, started growing grapes in Mason Co in 1998 & is winemaker at Sandstone Cellars“ Then, I tried my hand a little Twitter humor (you never know how that going to go) by saying:
“Grab a glass of Texas wine in one hand and your kebab in the other and Don will lead us thru the food&wine pairing…take it away Don.” After that, I promised myself not to make any more kebab jokes, at least on the Internet.
Jenny Gregorcyk tweeted back from Austin saying that they had a crowd at Denise Fraser’s home, and she advised: All set for #TxWine Twitter Tuesday with @jdewps @devonwine @bobbytxwine & others. Thx to @denisefraser for hosting. The food smells great!” This was following by a photo of the gathering by Denise Fraser: “Our group is hard at “work” here! Our first Texas wine and food pairing via Twitter. http://yfrog.com/nv2wsaj.
I had previously received a call from Denise earlier in the afternoon. She asked what she could do as her kebabs were limp. No, no, no. No more kebab jokes, I promised you. So, I recommended adding some bread crumbs (if possible) or baking them on a rack and garnishing with some wildly applied paprika on the plate.
Then, the event was in full swing and flowed amazingly smooth for a first time food and wine event. Featured Tweeter Don Pullum led the discussion:
akashicvineyard Don Pullum “First guideline: Match the intensity of the acids in food and wine.”
The Austion crowd was already sampling the first two wines: Boony Doon Vin Gris de Cigare (Rosé) and Duchman Family Winery Dolcetto. Devon Broglie (new Texas Master Sommelier) commented back to Don: DevOnWine @akashicvineyard agreed. This pairing works because of that acid balance between gazpacho and dolcetto.”
Don lead the group through the addition of several garnishes to the gazpacho and asked what they did to the wine pairing. Jessica Dupuy responded: JDewps “Sorry, food writer here… adding tomato garnish to gazpacho is a plus. Softens the acid & rounds the @duchmanwinery Dolcetto yum.”
Don gave us another wine/food pairing guideline: “Second guideline: Match wine acid with fat and starch in food. Acid acts a foil and reduces perception of fat or starchiness in dish.” I asked if the chopped egg garnish was supposed to work that way. But, then I got a comment back from the Austin group indicating that they forgot to prepare the egg garnish. Then, Devon tweeted: “Dangit! missed the egg!”
Don kept the discussion going and indicated that we were moving on to the Kebab and wine pairing the two Tempranillos: one by Haak Vineyards and the other was Campo Viejo Cianza Rioja (the real deal from Spain). Then the comments started flying on the wines: cmpolito Christopher Polito “The Campo Viejo is very light. Not acidic in any way. a pleasant flavor.” Don Pullum said, “Acidity in Haak Temp starts out low, then sneaks up on the sides of my tongue during the finish, sour cherry.” @drewhendricksms Drew Hendricks said about the Haak Tempranillo, “@VintageTexas not always low acid crazy high pH and crazy high acid. Very tasty but totally different animal.” My contribution was not so eloquent but aimed at the point of how the kebab worked with the acidity of the wines: “The kebab is like a sponge for the acid.”
Then, we got into the influence of adding lemon and chili sauce on the pairing of the wines. Devon Broglie said, “@akashicvineyard and it does! little spritz of lemon balances the pairing exceptionally.” Then when we added the chili sauce, I said, “I think that the spicey hot makes the Rampo Viejo harsher. Could this be the clash with the tannin?”
Don lead us thru the final course which was which was the ice cream and apricot sauce with the Texas Hills Moscato and the Quady Essensia. I asked Don, “I still have some kebab left. Can I put some on my ice cream?” to which Don responded, “Russ, Third guideline: It is good to experiment.” This is where things went a little wild as Devon took this as his carte blanch to pair the remnants of his kebab with the dessert wines. He said, “The moscato is deelish with spicy chili kebab!” I acknowledged his comment with my recollection of doing the same thing at Chef Ross Burtwell’s Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg, Texas, when I paired a Muscat Canelli with a flamingly spicy-hot plate of Buffalo enchiladas. It paired better than any of the red wines despite the preparation being a red meat dish.
Just then, Denise noticed that Jeff Cope was following along with our Twitter tasting and said, “@TXWineLover aren’t you at margarita happy hour?? good to see you!” All I could say was…Now, that’s what I call multitasking…wine, food and margaritas, too. How does acidity play in that threesome, Don?
One of my favorite tweets of the evening was a tongue-in-cheek comment that I made about the Boony Doon wine. I joked with the TXwine Tweeters by asking them to check their Vin Gris de Cigare to see if it was corked. Well, this gave me a laugh since the wine had no cork, only a screw cap closure. However, there were no return comments until this morning. I noticed the following retweet from Randall Grahm, founder of Bonny Doon Vineyard:
@RandallGrahm: RT @VintageTexas: Those that bought Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare 4 #TXwine Twitter Tues, smell the cork, I think it might be tainted 🙂 NOT!
This comment gave me another good laugh and an appreciation of how wide a net the Twitterverse can cast. It was a good ending to a delightful online event. Hopefully, there will be many more in our new format.