One of the titans of California, and later, Oregon, winemaking is Tony Soter. After successes consulting to Araujo, Niebaum-Coppola, Shafer, Spottswoode, Viader and Dalle Valle he scaled back to focus on his Californian venture, Etude and, more recently, his Oregon property Soter Vineyards. Last week his winemaker at the Oregon property, James Cahill, worked the crowd at Bailey’s Prime Plus in the latest in a series of impressive wine dinners that the restaurant has hosted.
I was an invited guest and had the opportunity to talk to Cahill directly about some puzzling questions that surround Oregon wine. For example: In Europe, the most successful Chardonnay is found growing in the same region as the most successful Pinot Noir (the French region of Burgundy). Yet in Oregon, world-class Pinot Noir has been accompanied by generally average to forgettable Chardonnay. Cahill agrees with this widely leveled view. He attributes the situation to early plantings of the wrong clone of Chardonnay grape. He explained that early growers took a lot of their cues from California Chardonnay growers (who, after all, were a model of success). That included the Wente clone of the Chardonnay grape. It did poorly in Oregon’s cooler climate. Later plantings using Dijon clones, he noted, had started to produce impressive Chardonnays. Continue reading "Bailey’s Hosts Soter Vineyards"
Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery has produced fine wine in northern California for a quarter of a century. This week Dallas wine lovers had the chance to sample some of the winery’s offerings at a four-course meal at Marquee Grill and Bar in Highland Park Village at which I was an invited guest.
Winemaker, Aaron Piotter talked about the winery’s history and philosophy, and discussed each wine. Highlights for me among the wines were the 2009 Lazy Creek Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Mendocino County, California (Lazy Creek is Ferrari-Carano’s Mendocino property). A firmly textured Pinot with dark fruit flavors. Pride of place went to the 2008 Ferrari-Carano Trésor, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California. This wine is a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon fruit that comes from the vineyard adjacent to the famous Silver Oak Alexander Valley wine. It is grippy but approachable now with complex fruit in the mouth feel and a long dark fruit finish. Continue reading "Ferrari-Carano Wines Showcased at Marquee In Dallas"
A funny thing happens when you pull into the parking lot that leads to Chicken Scratch, a week-old restaurant conceived by masterminds Christopher Zielke, Christopher Jeffers, and Chef Tim Byres of SMOKE. First, the smell of fried chicken strikes your nose like hot oil; second, you hear birds chirping (and suddenly a sense of guilt washes over you for what you’re about to eat); and third, after you get out of your car, you find yourself passing through an enormous structure that looks like a gigantic chicken coop. It might as well have a sign plastered to the front that reads, “Welcome, little chickadee, to the world of chicken.”
Jump or flap your wings. Continue reading "First-Take Restaurant Review: Chicken Scratch + The Foundry"
The whole world knows Tim “Mark May 3 On Your Calendar” Rogers is a finalist for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) 2012 National Magazine Award in the profile category for his story about Barrett Brown. Since he learned of his status, he has been a real joy to be around.
Texas Monthly’s April 2011 issue was also recognized. The issue’s cover story, “Home Plates” written by Pat Sharpe, Katharyn Rodemann, and June Naylor, is a finalist in the in the Leisure Interests category. The story is a gorgeous and informative feature on the heritage, splendor, and preparation of the ten dishes every Texan should be able to cook from scratch. Congrats to Pat and company for their nomination.