Over the past several years the entrepreneurial spirit has grasped many spirit loving individuals throughout our state, taking hold in a variety of forms from wine to craft beer to quality spirits, even mead. Tonight from 6-8pm Sigel’s will welcome many to their Fitzhugh location for a celebration of all things Texas, including Post Oak Red Hots, the incredible gourmet Chicago-style hot dogs created by Chef/Owner Brian Luscher of The Grape.
Some of the libations to be tasted include selections from Lakewood Brewing Company, Duchman (including their stellar Vermentino), Becker and Pedernales Wineries, and spirits from Western Son Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka, Balcones Whiskey, Waterloo Gin, and the recently introduced Silver Star Texas Whiskey. Guests will have an opportunity to taste 12 samples (all for free) and everything featured at the event will be specially sale priced, but you must RSVP here.
Last week I was invited to lunch with the Associate Winemaker for Rodney Strong Vineyards, Justin Seidenfeld, and I learned a new appreciation for the 40+ year old winery, both the quality of wine coming from the 300,000 case producer and the passion everyone involved has for their product. This passion stems from the original founder, Rodney Strong, a creative and artistic individual along with being a completely dedicated winemaker. The former professional dancer, who met his wife while performing on Broadway, had traveled to France many times, tasting incredible wine and becoming interested in the process. He felt that the incredible wines he had tasted in France could be made in the U.S. and eventually he and his wife moved to California in the 1950′s to start their label, settling in their Sonoma County estate in the early 1970′s.
Perhaps best known for their introductory line of Sonoma County Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which makes up 80% of their overall production, this still family owned property maintains Rodney Strong’s focus to make a completely Sonoma County wine of the highest quality possible at an approachable price point (each of these under $15 a bottle.)
However, beyond their introductory line the winery creates about a dozen single vineyard, estate and reserve wines, which is where Justin noted he really has fun. Working along side his counterparts, Director of Winemaking Doug McIlroy and Head Winemaker Rick Sayre, who has been with Rodney Strong since 1979, the team constantly creates new blends while using new techniques, often creating wines that will end up only in current owner, Tom Klein’s, secret winery stash, but more often than not, creating the winery reserve, club or tasting room only labels. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Rodney Strong Vineyards"
As a general rule, I typically avoid dinners with more than five courses, because most of them tend to suck the life out of you. Any program that takes longer than the length of a Lord of the Rings movie to finish is not my cup of tea. But when the owners of Oak, Richard and Tiffanee Ellman, invited me as a media guest to their restaurant’s first formal wine dinner, there was no way I could decline. I knew it would be good. And it was.
Oak is typically closed on Sundays, but the Ellmans are planning to host fun chef dinners every six to eight weeks. Each will focus on a different region. “This is what we hope will become a habit,” said Richard, who has decided to give execuchef Jason Maddy complete creative reins. The first wine dinner was Austrian-themed, which was Maddy’s way of paying homage to Danube, the Austrian restaurant he worked for in New York City.
Dallas has been a buzz this week with an influx of Sonoma winemakers. From Alexander Valley with their hearty, dense Cabernet, to Russian River with their mineral rich and incredibly distinct Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to Chalk Hill and Carneros, with their fresh, bright and crisp Chardonnay, to Dry Creek, with their juicy, jammy, old vine Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley truly has it all for wine lovers, often presenting itself in a very casual and laid back environment. Though the saying “you have to start with a large fortune to make a small fortune in wine” is true in any part of the country, I have often found winemakers and winery owners (many who are on in the same) are very salt of the earth types who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Though the round about ways many got into the business is different from winery to winery, the consistent theme that runs true for all is passion.
I was a guest at several tastings with winemakers throughout the week. Here are a few old and new favorites, as well as some that were sent for editorial consideration.
Kathleen Inman’s life would seem to be a bit of a fairy tale as how she got to where she is happens more in movies than reality. The Napa native was working in a tasting room one summer while home from college when an English gentleman paid a visit and did a tasting. A few weeks later a letter arrived at the winery simply addressed to the “pretty blond assistant.” From there the two began corresponding, eventually leading to a romance and Kathleen moving to England and marrying Simon while entering into the world of finance. Years later the two threw caution to the wind and moved back to California to allow Kathleen to follow a dream and a passion she had had her entire life, eventually creating Inman Family Wines from her organically farmed Russian River vineyards in 2000. In honor of her husband she created her Endless Crush Rose of Pinot Noir on their anniversary and produces it every other year, with the 2012 just released this month. I love a good Rose, especially from Pinot Noir grapes, with a delicate salmon pink color and layers of fresh ruby red grapefruit, watermelon and strawberry filling the palate. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Wines of Sonoma"4 Comments »
Our very lovely wine expert, Hayley Hamilton, did a small Sonoma wine tasting on the set of D: The BroadCast this morning. Catch her in action (above) if you missed the episode this morning. In case you can’t tell, Hayley is very tall. I’m jealous.2 Comments »
There are a slew of winemakers in Dallas this week from Sonoma for a trade event Tuesday, along with a handful of winemakers from all over the world in for Savor Dallas this past weekend. Luckily, many are also sticking around to host incredible wine dinners throughout town all week. Here is a sampling of a few options available with these winemakers this week, and a few tasty ideas for next.
March 20th Chef Graham Dodds of Central 214 partners with Duckhorn Vineyards for a Marbelous Beef 5 course dinner featuring all things meat, with luscious wines from the Duckhorn family. Selections include Braised Marbleous Beef Short Ribs with Goldeneye Pinot Noir and Cast Iron Seared Braised Marbleous Beef Sirloin Steak with Duckhorn Merlot. $90, reservations required - 214.443.9339.
If beef isn’t really your full focus, join Gary Farrell Winery and Abacus on March 20th for a special dinner with Winemaker Theresa Heredia and Chef Kent Rathbun for a four-course dinner paired with specially selected Gary Farrell wines. The menu includes Seared Rockport Skate Wing with Creamy Chickpea Panisse, Saffron Lobster Nage paired with 2010 Gary Farrell Russian River Chardonnay and Wood Roasted Pheasant Roulade Creamy “Popped” Quinoa, Green Peppercorn Jus paired with 2010 Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir. $120, reservations required – 214-520-0151. Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunties To Taste"
Each year Savor Dallas continues to grow, bringing residents from all over North Texas together for a weekend of wine and food celebration. This year, in its ninth, Savor added evening events at Trinity Groves, the Perot Museum, and a special evening at the Dallas Arboretum, bringing Dallas Blooms and wines from all over the globe together. However, the original tasting opportunities still remain the best, pairing some of the best chefs in the city together with wines and a plethora of spirits from all over the world at the big International Grand Tasting. This applies to the the special Reserve Wines tasting just before. I had a chance to attend both Saturday night as a guest of Savor Dallas.
Held for the second year at the spacious Irving Convention Center, the Reserve Tasting started at 5 p.m. with representatives from Moet-Hennessy, Numanthia, Cheval des Andes, and The Puzzle from Newton. Diageo poured incredible Rutherford dust filled BV Georges de Latour Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; Duckhorn offered its incredible Howell Mountain Cabernet;, and Wrath Wines poured a crisp and luscious, wax-capped San Saba Chardonnay. Some special spirits included a four-year aged Casa Sauza XA Limited Edition Gran Anejo Tequila. Comfortably spread out guests easily meandered from table-to-table, sipping and enjoying, while having the opportunity to talk about the wines with the representatives with ease.2 Comments »
I just received the very sad news that an icons of the Napa Valley wine industry has passed away. Napa Valley pioneer James L. Barrett helped put Napa Valley on the map when his mineral rich, citrus filled, slightly creamy and very lively 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay beat out a mix of highly acclaimed White Burgundy and other California Chardonnay at the now famous “Judgement of Paris” in 1976. It was a wine that was created under his leadership then and has remained one of the most loved wines from Napa Valley since.
As with many in the wine business, he didn’t start out there, taking a more practical route early on. Barrett attended college at UCLA than law school at Loyola Marymount University, then served in the military during the Korean War as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Nacy before starting a 20 year legal career as a Senior Partner at Barrett, Stearns, Collins, Gleason and Kinney. In 1972 he gave it all up to follow his dream and passion, believing that Napa Valley was the place that he and his family could build a world-class winery. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Chateau Montelena in Honor of the Late James L. Barrett"
Hopefully you will be feeling the luck of the Irish this weekend. If you are still looking for a tasty green cocktail to enjoy consider mixing one of these up for your St. Paddy’s Day holiday merriment. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
2 oz Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka
1/2 organic kiwi, peeled
1/2 organic lime, cut into quarters
1 teaspoon organic sugar
Directions: Muddle fruit and sugar in a mixing glass until well crushed and juicy. Add ice and vodka and shake vigorously. Pour all contents over ice into a tall tumbler and drink with straws.
I am such a fan of old world wines, especially the classic Italian, Spanish and incredibly old (some dating back 5000 years) Greek varieties. Here are a few I have been sampling lately while helping create the wine list for the soon to open Battuto Italian Kitchen. Based on our taste tests these are sure to please both the aficionado and the novice. A few additional selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Tormaresca Chardonnay with Fiano IGT - Chardonnay is certainly not an unusual variety, but the indigenous Fiano is, adding elegance and earthiness to a mineral rich, very steely Chardonnay from the Puglia region of Italy. The region terroir truly adds to the wine as the close proximity to the Italian coastline enhances the minerality and salinity characteristics in the wine making it a delicious wine to pair with seafood and shellfish.
Torcicoda Salento IGT, also from Tormaresca, is 100% old vine Primitivo, very similar to a Zinfandel, grown in bush trained or alberello vines in coastline vineyards best known for their rocky soils. Filled with layers of black licorice, dried figs and ripe plum with lots of spice, this is a food wine to be enjoyed with hearty beef dishes and braised stews. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Italy, Spain and Greece"1 Comment »
The Lakewood Advocate reports the Café Lago space, which closed last week, has already been snapped up by attorney Jennifer Rodriguez. She plans to open Urban Vines Wine Bistro open an attorney with longtime aspirations to open a wine garden, signed the lease last weekend and plans to open Urban Vines Wine Bistro in May. The kitchen duties fall to a catering company, Honeysuckle Southern Eats. I can’t find a link to them. Perhaps they will send us one. Good times for East Dallas.
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Jimmy’s Food Store has put together a fun evening filled with fine wine and food. From Italy: Guido Folonari, heir to one of the most historic wine families in Italy, and his “three killer B’s” (Barolo, Brunello di Montalcino, and a blend that represents perfection from the prestigious Bolgheri vineyard in Tuscany). From Dallas: Chef Gorji, chef-owner of Canary by Gorji, and maker of “three other killer B’s” (buttered shrimp, boar, and bean ragu).
This wine dinner takes place on Monday, March 11 and is a steal at $85 plus tax. Wines and menu below. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and go.
Many years ago when I was around 20 years old, I enjoyed a glass of Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was the 1992 vintage and to this day I remember how velvety and elegant it was. And how special Yes, it was also a time when I was also enjoying a glass or two of their sweet White Zin (not my proudest moment, but as most young wine drinkers…we tended to go towards the sweeter wines in the beginning, seen more recently in the overwhelming popularity of Moscato that has made a remarkable re-entry into the wine world.) That Reserve Cab was one of those wines that made me say wow….this is why I will love wine for the rest of my life.
Through the years Beringer has made a lot of different wines, with a lot of different styles, but the Private Reserve to this day is still a lovely, luscious California Cabernet. I had a chance to try the latest release of the Reserve, along with a few other special Beringer wines, over the lunch at Capital Grille with Beringer winemaker Laurie Hook, a member of the Beringer family since the 1980′s, having worked under legendary Napa and now Sonoma winemaker Ed Sbragia, today owner of Sbragia Family Winery in Healdsburg. I was a guest of the winery for lunch. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Beringer Private Reserve"
Poetry. Food. Wine (BYOB). Good company. The Garden Cafe‘s doing the whole shebang on March 8 at 7:00 p.m. Good luck trying to get a seat. This one will sell out pretty fast. From the depths of my email inbox:
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We have had a lot of requests for Poetry Night so we are bringing it back!
Friday, March 8th!
Bring your own wine, champagne, etc. Wine glasses will be furnished and there is no corkage fee.
7:00 pm Doors Open
7:45 pm Dinner Served
9:00 pm Poetry Readings
1st course: Duck “Pico” with housemade sweet potato chip
2nd course: Wilted chard, cucumber, and red pepper relish
3rd course: Venison Backstrap – herb-blue-cheese, compound butter, and red wine reduction served with spaghetti squash and apple-raisin quinoa
4th course: Spiceman’s foraged and garden greens, Mozz Co.’s mozzarella, basil pesto, and marinated tomato
5th course: Sweet fried butternut squash, whipped mascarpone, and candied walnuts
$65.00 per person (tax + gratuity not included)
Make your reservations today by calling the Garden Cafe at 214-887-8330. Due to a limited capacity, if you do not cancel your reservation 48 hours prior to the dinner, your credit card will be charged.
Every day should be the day to consider opening that “good bottle,” as life is short and meant to be celebrated. Here are a few suggestions that will please any palate that has a chance to sip them. A few suggestions were sent for editorial consideration.
A good bubbly is hard to beat. I just received a sample of Piper-Heidsieck Rose Sauvage which confirms this point. Juicy and fresh with expressive fresh pomegranate and berry flavors with a touch of ruby red grapefruit, fresh anise and spice. Though this is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France, their Rose Sauvage is anything but traditional, and pairs beautifully with sweet berry or chocolate desserts as it will with roasted duck or raw Ahi tuna. $55; available throughout Dallas wine and spirits stores including Sigel’s, Pogo’s and Spec’s.
If your taste leans more towards a traditional bubbly, Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial is hard to beat. Very crisp and dry melding both citrus and floral notes with toasted brioche and a touch of creaminess. Lovely, lively and always consistently delicious. $45; available throughout Dallas wine and spirits stores including Pogo’s and Sigel’s. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Wine To Impress"
Sunday night the biggest names and brightest Hollywood stars gather to celebrate Oscar and the 85th annual Academy Awards. Oscar night is a big night in our house, as movies are one of the most loved and time honored past times in America. Though there are already some upsets this year, especially in the Best Director category, the evening will no doubt be one to celebrate….if for nothing else the honoring of James Bond. If you are looking for a few tasty libations to help this along, either by toasting the winners or crying with the losers, here are a few nicely themed suggestions. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration.
3 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 part Stoli Gold
1 part Lillet Blanc
Directions: Shake it very well until it is ice cold and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Cocktails to Make Oscar Smile"
I tipped my cappuccino just slightly toward my nose and drifted into a frothy, coffee fueled warmth of mind and it descended into my chest. You know the flash that flies through your brain and body as the first hint of coffee aroma lifts you into your day. Your eyes sink heavily behind your lids. For a moment, you become a part of that wandering sinewy transcendence that calms and invigorates with resplendent escape. It’s a pleasure and necessity for many, and there is a new contender on the block that you should consider when planning where to grab that first cup before you launch into your day with vigor and success-crushing determination. Most of you probably know The Alcove as a craft beer and wine bar, but in November they started offering fine espresso drinks from behind that same bar.
One of many great things about our city is our love of wine. Texans are some of the highest consumers of wine in the country, with Dallas as one of the top wine loving communities in the state. We love wine. We love big flavors – everything from big, juicy grilled steaks to refined raw sushi, and go out of our way to celebrate both (and everything in-between) with wine favorites and up and coming options.
It is no wonder that so many Texans dream of making wine, with many taking the leap and stepping into the wonderful world of wine either simply as enthusiasts that buy a barrel of pre-selected juice ready to be bottled and labeled with a local’s logo, to the truly adventurous that become savvy wine entrepreneurs, buying vineyards from regions locally to internationally to make wine under their own label. Within the past handful of years Dallas has seen great development of our local wineries, producing wine within the city from grapes grown both throughout Texas as well as the world, like Fuqua, Calais, Times Ten Cellars and Oak Cliff Cellars, to those that have made the leap and developed wineries in specific Oregon and California AVA’s like Siduri & Novy, Merriman, Hall, Coquerel and Red Mare. I had a chance to sit down with the majority owner of Red Mare Wines, Jim Striegel, recently to learn a little more about his wines and get a feel for how this Dallas real estate broker decided to open a winery in Napa Valley.1 Comment »
Though you just may have had the most romantic evening and meal of your life last night, there are still many opportunities to taste with your sweetie in the upcoming weeks. Here are few that top the list through February.
TJ’s Seafood Market has created a great draw for wine loving, fish eating fans, and next Tuesday they highlight this with a French inspired dinner featuring their gorgeous seafood paired with everything from Sancerre to Chablis to Red Burgundy paired with Bouillabaise, Mussels, Tuna, Salmon and more, $130 for dinner and pairings. Reservations required - 214-219-3474.
If you and your sweetie are whiskey fans stop by Sigel’s on Wednesday from 6pm-8pm at their Addison location for their Scotch Whiskey festival with tastes of everything from Laphroaig 18yr, Glenfiddich 21yr, Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Dalmore 18 yr and dozens more…plus, everything is on sale.
Thursday, February 21, Domaine Wine Company celebrates Wine, Women and Art featuring the artwork by Jeanette Korab with a portion of any art sales donated to The Dallas Woman’s Forum. The evening will include champagne and wine tastings paired with bites from Scardello.
Wednesday, February 27 The Grape takes a trip to Spain for their monthly Come-As-You-Are wine dinner focused on Spain with Chef de Cuisine
Danyele McPherson creating a three-course meal paired with a variety of Spanish wines to make you feel like you are walking through the Bouqeria in Barcelona. As with all of The Grape’s Come-As- You-Are, join them anytime between 5:30 and 9pm for this special menu, and enjoy at your own pace.