At Texsom 2012, Pedernales Cellars from Stonewall Texas provided some of the wine and the winery President, Fredrik Osterberg, gave a few moments for an interview.
I love wines with scores higher than my IQ, so when the peeps at Ruth’s Chris in Fort Worth invited me to a meal organized in conjunction with Wine Enthusiast Magazine and accompanied by wines that scored 90 or more points out of 100, I jumped at the chance.
We started with a sparkling wine from Italy. Ferrari Brut Metodo Classico, Trentino is a 90-point non-vintage crisp sparkling wine made from 100% Chardonnay grapes grown in the Trentino region in the northeast of Italy. This wine is designed to be a perfect substitute for Brut (dry) Champagne: Same grape, same style, same method of production. However, it is at a lower price point. It sells for around $25, and can be considered a good value. We had it as the pre-prandial and with the first course of warm brie and pecan tartlet with savory apple-mango chutney and guava sauce. This wine’s perfectly honed acid level enabled it to harmonize with and lift the cheese and pastry at the heart of this dish.
That was one of the combinations I tried the other night at an unusual Seafood and Cheese tasting at Scardello Artisan Cheese on Oak Lawn. The class was hosted by Scardello and TJ’s Seafood Market. The protagonist’s point of view, which they promoted with the finest techniques of crack marketing, was that seafood and cheese go together like cheese and seafood. The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Surf n’ turf can take forms never envisaged in a steakhouse.
Remember when the parking lot in the northwest corner of Parker and the Tollway was empty every night? That was before Whiskey Cake. The place does the lion’s share of filling it up now, even on Monday nights. On an evening when most restaurants are starving, Whiskey Cake was packed last night for their Bacardi Tiki Dinner under the direction of execuchef TJ Lengnick. I was an invited guest at the event where the centerpiece of the whole deal was slow-roasted whole pig – two of the critters in fact, and 80-pounds each at that. As the accompanying menu shows, they were accompanied by sides, mahi-mahi steamed in banana leaf and jerk chicken, all preceded by passed appetizers. The whole thing was washed down with cocktails prepared with Bacardi rum.
On a night when the Dallas weather gave us a reprieve from scorching heat hundreds of Dean Fearing fans descended on the outside courtyard of the Ritz Carlton hotel last night to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Fearing’s, Dean’s namesake restaurant. Has it really been five years? Guests dined on barbecue prepared by guest chef and world barbecue chef Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL. They also enjoyed beer from Deep Ellum Brewing Company. At the end of the evenint, Dean took up his guitar with friends for a gig that included hits from Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones.
To catch more of the ongoing Fearing’s Fifth celebration action call Fearing’s to order tickets for Michael Chiarello (September 19), Hubert Keller (October 4) or Robert Del Grande (October 19). Continue reading "Fearing’s Turns Five and Parties with BBQ by Chris Lilly, Dean Fearing on Lead Guitar, and Beer by DEBC"
It was a packed house at Duo last night for a benefit to assist the family of Camilo Calderon, a General Manager at The Adolphus. He recently lost his sister to cancer and took over guardianship of her four children. Since he already had two children of his own he is now the (single) father of a family with six children. Fluent, a private concierge service helmed by (Gary) Jackson of WSJ fame and Lisa Moore, formerly director of sales and marketing with Stephan Pyles, organized the event. Duo provided the space, and Glazer’s the wine as a backdrop to the eight restaurants contributing and serving food. What did they all have in common? In his lifetime in the Dallas restaurant industry all of these chefs–Katherine Clapner,Mark McDaniel,Ke’o Valasquez, Joel Harloff, Tim Byers, Jeff Moschetti, Jon Thompson, Scott Tobey, Justin Box–had an association with Camilo. It is an event best told in pictures. Continue reading "Restaurants and Chefs Come Together for a Cause at Duo"4 Comments »
I sent round my annual APB to every bonded winemaker in the state last week with a questionnaire about the 2012 grape harvest. Harvesting occurs from the east to the west so most of the eastern and central vineyards (mainly in the Hill Country) are already picked by now and the western wineries (mainly in the High Plains around Lubbock) are being picked very soon.
The replies were stunningly uniform and positive: 2012 will be a massive harvest, possibly the largest on record and will be of very high quality across all grape varieties. That is the consensus although there were some less positive and more cautionary voices. Here is a sample of responses.
3 Comments »
Recently Sigel’s sent out their annual announcement of Bordeaux wine futures. This is the season for these to be offered so it’s a good time to have a discussion about them. First, wine futures, as they are called, are a contract under which you pay in full now for delivery of specified Bordeaux wines in 2013. The exact date depends on when the wines are released by the château and shipped. However, right now all the wines being offered are from the good, but not great, 2011 vintage. The reason why you might want to pay for wine two years in advance is to get a better price. However, there are some things to you need to know.1 Comment »
At TexSom, the international wine conference going on today at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving, we just tasted a stunning flight of wines from New Zealand. One of the most interesting things about the selection made by Cameron Douglas, MS and co-presenter Andrew McNamara, MS was the range of grape varieties. New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs is a big seller in Dallas, and the country’s Chardonnay is picking up as well, but this tasting also included Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Gris, and Riesling from the land of the Kiwis.
A 2010 Greywacke ‘Wild’ Sauvignon Blanc ($30) from the Marlborough area is flying off local shelves. It is a classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with bright acidity and a herbaceous nose. This label is one to watch. Owner Kevin Judd was the winemaker who put Cloudy Bay on the map. The 2009 Villa Maria “Taylor’s Pass Vineyard” Chardonnay, also from Marlborough ($18), was partly (17%) aged in new French oak. It showed in the taste but not in a negative sense. As they say in the industry, the oak was well integrated into the wine. This wine also came across as soft and voluptuous in the mouth by virtue of having been through a secondary fermentation, malolactic fermentation a process that converts malic acid (the acid found in green apples) to softer lactic acid.
Andrew Chalk filed this report yesterday.
It is 9:30am on Sunday morning so I am doing what any rational person would be doing: tasting wine from Bordeaux. The French wine region, in many people’s opinion the most prestigious wine region in the world, produces wines that cost from a few dollars up to over $1,500 a bottle. At Texsom, the annual international wine conference held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving, I am sitting in room filled with wine experts and listening to two Master Sommeliers as they take us through a tasting of eight wines chosen as good examples of middle price range ($20-$100) wine. The quality of the wines was high but I would like to report one of those wines that absolutely blew me away for its likability.
Jump for the joy from Bordeaux. Continue reading "Report From TexSom 2012: A Star From Bordeaux"1 Comment »
Yesterday I attended TexSom, the international wine conference held at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving. At lunch I was seated at the same table with a woman named Lindsay (last name redacted) who runs a restaurant in Austin. She tells our table that buying local is critical in Austin. “Chains just don’t survive,” she said referring to restaurants. I asked her whether the same spirit translated into consumer wine choices. After all, Austin is in the center of the Hill Country AVA (American Viticultural Area). “They don’t give a sh*t,” she shot back. Austin is weird. They love their local food movement, but apparently their aren’t many “vine huggers” in the area. Dees this mean Texas wine is lacking some credibility?
Oh you must go below to know. Continue reading "Report From TexSom 2012: “For Sale In Texas Only” Label on Wine Bottles Misleads Consumers"7 Comments »
I am at The Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving attending a day of pre-program events centered around TexSom. TexSom is the best DFW-area wine conference of the year. TexSom Conference and the Texas’ Best Sommelier Competition were founded by James Tidwell MS, CWE, Beverage Manager at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in La Colinas; Drew Hendricks MS, CWE, Director of Beverage Education for Pappas Restaurants in Houston; and Guy Stout MS, CWE, with Glazer’s Distributors.
Next to me is a guy who works in wine retail who has come in all the way from Sylmar, California. On the stage is a speaker from New Zealand and two others from New York. The latter pair are with the Culinary Institute of America, so they are expert teachers as well as knowing their subject matter. Continue reading "TexSom Conference Kicks Off at Four Seasons Resort and Club in La Colinas"1 Comment »
We are about to be beset by restaurants, promoters, and the more credulous sections of the media bombarding us with the message that it is “Hatch Chile Time.” I hate to burst the bubble, but there is no such thing as a “Hatch Chile.” Sure, there are chilies from Hatch, New Mexico, and they host the famous festival, but the product they export is just a chilies, not Hatch chile pepper. Dave DeWitt explains it all very well in his “The Complete Chile Pepper Book.”
“There is no such thing as a Hatch chile, despite all the hype about them. It is not a chile variety, as many people think. Yes, there are chiles grown in Hatch, usually the varieties ‘Barker’ and ‘NuMex 6-4′. These grown-in-Hatch varieties are no better than those grown in the Mesilla Valley or in Deming. There are simply not enough chiles grown in Hatch to supply all of the sellers claiming to provide “Hatch chile.” A few years ago at the New Mexico Chile Conference, I spoke to two women who have a chile farm in eastern Arizona who confessed to me that they shipped their chiles to Hatch, where roadside vendors labeled them “Hatch chiles.” So, how did this mythology come about? Well, first, there is a Hatch brand of canned chiles, packed by Border Foods in Deming. This brand has been on the market for years, but probably most of these chiles are grown in Mexico, not Hatch. Then there is what Jimmy Buffet calls the “coconut telegraph,” but here it’s the Capsicum Telegraph–namely word of mouth and rumor from consumers who mistakenly spread the hype. Sorry to burst everyone’s Hatch bubble, but I always tell it like it is.”
This isn’t to say that chiles are not wonderful things, but don’t waste your time or money on somebody’s Hatch chiles or their “festival.” Better to go to one of the area restaurants that worships them through their food. For example, Komali, which never seems to have fewer than six different varieties somewhere on their menu, or Mesa which prepares them with deference to Veracruz culinary tradition.13 Comments »
Fever Tree thinks so. The firm, a small producer of premium cocktail mixers, makes its products from the finest ingredients sourced largely from small producers. That means things like fruit juices, soft spring water, cane sugar, real ginger and natural quinine. Compare that with the saccharin sweeteners and artificial preservatives in major brands. Fever Tree co-founder Charles Rolls makes the case that up to 75% of the cocktail is the mixer, so it affects the flavor of the finished drink. This sounded compelling, so I decided to get some expert opinion from my rolodex of Dallas bartenders.
Michael Martensen of The Cedars Social and formerly at The Mansion Bar at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek replied, “Fever Tree is all I use for mixers behind the bar at The Cedars Social. It is the highest quality of mixer that I have found for each category that they make a mixer for: ie club soda, ginger beer, etc. What also makes it so good is how consistent the Fever Trees are. As a bartender, you want to be able to grab a bottle on confidence and know you are pouring the best product available.We go through 20 cases of Fever Tree a week! As for ‘Is it important pour a high quality mixer?’ Yes, just as important as using filtered ice.”3 Comments »
Abraham Salum, owner of Komali, was surprised when he found out that his execuchef, Anastacia Quinoñes, had never been to Mexico City. The city is Salum’s birthplace and, he knew, the gastronomical battlestar of Mexico, so he took her! The two spent three days visiting restaurants, markets, producers and a few historical sites. We will present a series of videos of their trip with the first one appearing today.
Note: These videos were shot at Salum restaurant as service was starting so there is some background noise and some uncooperative light conditions. We appreciate your forbearance.
Some of the dishes found on their travels are now appearing as specials on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Komali. The popular ones will join the regular menu.4 Comments »
There are lots of good wine tastings in Dallas, but it is rare to have a true legend of the wine industry in town. That was the case on Thursday night when I was honored to be among the guests at a dinner at Village Marquee – Texas Grill and Bar in Highland Park for Georges DuBoeuf, the man who invented nouvelle Beaujolais and pretty much deserves the credit for putting the Beaujolais region on the modern wine map. We were there to taste his wines from the excellent 2011 vintage, which will appear in most Dallas liquor stores this fall.
Jump for more Duboeuf.
Lovers of BBQ, Dean Fearing, and TV personalities can hit the mother lode at Fearing’s Restaurant on August 19 for a lovely evening of all three. Barbecue extraordinaire Chris Lilly, the chef and partner at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, will be there to help design the menu. This dinner is just the first in a series of four; Fearing will also be hosting Michael Chiarello (9/17), Hubert Keller (10/4), and Robert Del Grande (10/19) as part of his fifth anniversary celebration.
Roll the press release and read the last paragraph especially carefully. I wish I had! This is certainly a sellout.
Jump for the love of bbq. Continue reading "Fearing’s Fifth Anniversary Celebration Features World BBQ Champion Chris Lilly"
The Wine Spectator just published their annual restaurant wine list issue. With all the warts of measuring the quality of wine lists, you can make some generalizations by comparing whole cities. Here are the results for the four biggest cities in Texas.
NUMBER OF STARS FOR RESTAURANT WINE LISTS ACROSS CITIES