The Earth Day idea started with an original focus to think green, live green, be green…but over the years it has transformed beyond this idea into one of also living local, eating local, and supporting local (along with living a healthier lifestyle with a focus on sustainability). Miele, German based producers of the high-end kitchen appliances and vacuum cleaners, has embraced these ideals in every aspect of its business, carrying the principle of bearing responsibility for generations to come. With this comes their focus to help their customers live a better life with the help of their tools. Last night at their Dallas gallery showroom in the Design District, Miele hosted a “Better Living” dinner with Chef Uwe Muller, adjunct instructor at Dallas’ Le Cordon Bleu who recalls growing up in his native Germany with Miele appliances in his home. I was an invited guest. Continue reading "Miele Celebrates “Better Living” In Time For Earth Day"3 Comments »
Over 425 people turned out on a beautiful Thursday evening at “A Community Cooks” to support Paul Quinn College and its organic farm. Proceeds went towards enhancements to the farm. Along with providing an opportunity to feast between the budding sprouts of cantaloupe and sweet potatoes and listen to live music beneath the stars, ”A Community Cooks” celebrates the Farm’s accomplishments and raises resources to help expand the Farm’s ability to combat the food desert surrounding Paul Quinn College. The Farm brings healthy food to the neighborhood by donating a minimum of 10 percent of all items grown to those in need. Over a dozen top-line Dallas chefs cooked at food preparation stations situated either side of the garden. A band played on the stage at the front. In this video, the director of the faming program at the college explains the mission of the garden.
Jump to watch.
Continue reading "A Community Cooked at Paul Quinn College"
Earth Day is this Sunday and what better way to think green than through a glass, and the options run the gamete from high end to every day table wine, and come from all over the world. Yes, I suppose if you are really focused on reducing that carbon footprint than look within 100 miles of where you are now for your wine source, but I am a firm believer in supporting wineries all over the world that are making a conscious decision to work greener, organic and/or sustainably, keeping the environment in mind. Here are a few suggestions, including a few from Texas, to consider this weekend or any weekend. A few selections were sent for editorial consideration. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Drink Green for Earth Day"3 Comments »
I have maintained several times that we are at an inflexion point in the reputation and prestige of Texas wines. This is not out of boosterism: I have driven out to about 50 Texas wineries in the past year and reported on only five (Duchman, Inwood Estates, Perissos, Sandstone Cellars and The Vineyard at Florence). Those five were the ones that were ‘aspirational,’ in that they both tried to make the best wine they could and showed significant progress. Extrapolating to the 200 wineries in the state, the aspirational category consists of about 20 wineries. Undoubtedly, those wineries are on their strongest ground when they use the grape varieties most suited to the Texas soil and climate. For white wine, there is something of a consensus now that that grape is Viognier.10 Comments »
Not the white stuff….though I did see White Zinfandel used in a recipe on a cooking show recently, but the hearty, spicy, often robust red wine that pairs so beautifully with so many of our Texas food traditions, like barbecue ribs, smoked sausage and brisket, juicy hamburgers, spicy chili and delicious carne asada. Though not the typical go to red for me, I have a friend who loves a good Zin, so I often find myself enjoying a bottle or two when dining with him, which has really opened my eyes to how great and refined some Zinfandel can be. Here are a few favorites I have tried recently. Some selections were sent for editorial consideration.
Sbragia 2008 La Promesa Zinfandel, “the Promise” in Italian, named for the promise Ed Sbragia made to his father to continue the family’s winemaking traditions, eventually under the family name. Made from grapes grown in the La Promesa vineyard adjacent to the winery and planted just a handful of years ago, creating subtle flavors of blackberry, boysenberry, peppercorns, baking spice and cedar notes from 18 months of new French oak aging. Continue reading "What To Drink Now: Zinfandel"
On March 4th, the dynamic ladies of the Dallas Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier host their annual raiser grazer and silent auction at Union Station from 5pm-8pm, with this year’s theme being “Dames In The City.” Les Dames is truly a one-of-a-kind organization, dedicated to supporting and promoting the achievements of women in the culinary profession. The Dallas chapter, which started in 1985, is filled with some of the finest women in the city whose passion for the food, wine and hospitality professions shines from deep within, including Grande Dame Caroline Rose Hunt, Janet Cobb, Janice Provost, Courtney Luscher, Rachel Gaffney, Sharon Hage, Kathryn Hall, Gina Puente and so many, many more. In celebration of Julia Child and what would have been her 100th birthday, the event will also feature a cake walk in her honor. Their annual event raises funds for their many endowment, scholarship and grant programs focused on helping women interested in food, wine and hospitality professions. Tickets are available here.
Thursday, February 9 will be a big day for Dallas wine enthusiasts. There are two big events.
First: Duchman Does Dallas…This will be the winery’s second stop on a three-city (Austin, Dallas, San Antonio) 2010 White Wine Roadshow Release tour. Winemaker Dave Reilly will be in attendance to chat to guests. My take: I visited Duchman here and found them to be one of the most accomplished white wine makers in the state. The Vermentino has garnered the most press, but the other whites (especially the Viognier) deserve the attention of serious consumers too. The other thing about this walkabout tasting is that you can expect André Natera’s food to be sophisticated and harmonious as well. (More details below.)
Second: Sigel’s hosts the Moët Hennessey Winemaker Tour. (More details below.) Continue reading "Two Significant Wine Events on Thursday"
I am always on the look out for great opportunities to sip and savor the beauty of a glass of wine from around town and around the world. A few great ones are happening over the next few weeks and their press releases have just popped into my inbox just in time to find that perfect bottle to toast your sweetie, and yourself, for Valentine’s.
Fuqua Winery continues to bring us fun and informative tastings. Tonight at 7pm they are holding their second (because the first one was so much fun) blind tasting of Sauvignon Blanc wines from New Zealand to South Africa, and everything in between.
If you are more of a big, bold red wine fan join them on Thursday, Feb 2, for their Texas Tempranillo release party, Vat #15. Tempranillo is perhaps best known as the grape of Rioja, and often referred to as Spain’s “nobel grape,” but it also does very well in our Texas soils, being able to withstand our long, hot summer weather. This new release is 100% Texas grown grapes from the Texas Hill Country AVA. Call for reservations for either – 214-769-1147. Continue reading "Upcoming Opportunities to Taste"
Owning your own vineyard sounds so lovely and romantic. Each night as a gentle fog cools your grapes, you and your dog wander through the rows of vines bursting with perfectly formed grapes. The birds fly over your land and feast on your neighbors crops. The insects travel miles away to gnaw on the branches of another vineyard. Each night, you polish the gold medals hanging on your bedpost. It’s so easy and rewarding. Why doesn’t everyone have their own vineyard.
If you want to find out why, The Texas AgriLife Extension Service, has just the conference for you: Grape Grower Workshops.
Let’s talk reality. Go.6 Comments »
Nancy Nichols showcased local food items as holiday presents. I’m here to recommend some local wine that is not just made in town, it is grown here. I’m delighted to announce that a successful Dallas County Chardonnay growing has just emerged. The 2010 Inwood Estates Chardonnay, Dallas County is grown in the vineyards on Inwood Road and on Bear Creek Rd. Winemaker Dan Gatlin says in a press release:
2 Comments »
“The historical significance of this release is obvious. This may be one of the most unique and surprising accomplishments of the wine and food community in the Dallas area ever. It is a watershed event for many reasons. As one of America’s large cities, it represents an achievement in urban wine-growing and urban farmingIt gives new meaning to the idea of “locally grown” with a type of crop never thought possible. It is a symbol of civic pride and something uniquely meaningful to our residents”
It is hard to believe the Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner is already in its 12th year. The event raises money for the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship. Recipients of the scholarship compete in the Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarhip Cookoff, an Iron Chef-style event that takes place in the summer. In the first phase of that competition, the student prepares an application packet which includes the menu that they would prepare. A panel of professional judges selects the top ten, which are sent to Stephan Pyles who selects the top three. In the second phase, the three finalists spend two days prepping, cooking, and erving their menus to a panel of culinary experts that includes Stephan Pyles. The winner receives a $15,000 scholarship made payable to their school, a $500 stipend to travel with Chef Pyles to a celebrity chef fundraising event, and the opportunity to present a course at the Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction which took place last Sunday.
Let’s get down to the evening. Continue reading "Report: Stephan Pyles 12th Annual Celebrity Chef Dinner and Wine Auction"2 Comments »
Friday was the night to be French in Dallas! The French American Chamber of Commerce threw their annual Beaujolais and Beyond Festival at the new Omni Dallas Convention Center Hotel. This festival started in Dallas over 20 years ago and it celebrates the arrival of the first bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau wine which is ceremoniously released each year on the third Thursday of November. Recently organizers have broadened the scope and now include wines from elsewhere in France and French grape varietals grown in the US. They have also invited French restaurants and caterers to provide a cornucopia of food. Friday’s soiree had a ‘60s theme and most of the sponsors were in costumes (I had no idea how many identical twins Austin Powers had). Images from the decade were displayed on a giant overhead screen and a section near the front was roped off to display iconic cars which included a Jaguar e-Type, Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia, and a Porsche (Austin Powers 7th thought that it was the 356 Super 90). Impossibly thin girls in mini-skirts and Mary Quant tights danced on pedestals and one was kind enough to explain to me that the particular e-Type on display had the closed-in headlamps, making it more valuable to collectors.1 Comment »
The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas has just announced the celebrity chefs for this year’s Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner and Auction. This annual event funds the $15,000 Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship. The press release announces:
The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas is thrilled to announce the culinary line up for the 12th Annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner & Live Wine Auction to take place December 4, 2011 at Chef Pyles’ flagship restaurant, Stephan Pyles. The event is presented in part by sponsor Central Market.
Six celebrity chefs, including Chef Pyles, will present a spectacular five-course wine dinner followed by a lively auction to benefit one of the nation’s largest culinary scholarships, The Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship. The scholarship winner will prepare passed hors d’oeuvres served during the champagne reception. The short but action-packed live auction will include restaurant packages, rare and fine wines and other luxury items. Each course will be prepared by a different chef including:
As SideDish reported earlier this year, Blanc du Bois is one of the most widely planted white wine grapes in east and southeast Texas. It is resistant to Pierce’s Disease: a vine-killing disease that can destroy whole vineyards of many types of grapes. The problem with Blanc du Bois is that the wine made from grapes may have given people the idea that resistance to Pierce’s Disease was the grape’s only redeeming feature. It has been used to make white wines that range from dry to sweet, but the flavor profile has never placed it very high in consumers’ estimations. Adjectives generally applied to these wines include ‘foxy’ and ‘earthy.’ One exception is Haak’s Madeira. This isn’t a true Madeira, and the choice of name is unfortunate, but it is an enjoyable dessert wine in its own right. It’s also the first example of a truly innovative use of the grape to my knowledge.
As table wine, Texas winemakers don’t seem to be sure what they want from Blanc du Bois. Sometimes it appears in a crisp, dry version that might be described as a Sauvignon Blanc style. The same grape is also at the base of a nauseating, simple sweet or semi-sweet wine that sold by the boat load in tasting rooms.
However, now comes a true breakthrough Blanc du Bois table wine. The Vineyard at Florence, situated in Florence Texas just north of the Hill Country and a short diversion off I-35 at Salado, has produced two Blanc du Bois wines that redefine the grape. The 2010 Aura, Estate Grown, Williamson County ($49.95) and the 2010 Aurelia, Estate Grown, Williamson County ($31.95) are both made from the same vineyard at the winery.
Jump for the juicy bits.3 Comments »
Do you only drink Texas wine? Or are you drawn to Virginia Viognier? Passionate about bubbly from New Mexico or think Colorado Cabernet is the next great thing? DrinkLocalWine.com has a contest for you. Every state in the country is making wine and there is a lot out there to like. During Regional Wine Week, October 9-15, wine from every state other than California, Washington, and Oregon will be showcased and celebrated. The website is asking for fans of wine from the other 47 states to submit brief write ups– just 47 words– on their favorite wine, region, or producer from any place other than California, Washington or Oregon. Entries will be evaluated by the website editors with the best winning a spot at the 2012 DrinkLocalWine.com event in Denver. More information here.1 Comment »
We may have just entered September but a picture of the how the 2011 wine grape harvest will shape up is emerging. A the moment it looks like small quantity but high quality. The intense heat of the summer was the key factor and also forced some farmers to harvest earlier than usual. I corresponded with growers last week and an optimistic picture emerged.
On the harvest date: Virtually all the grapes are in across the east and central parts of the state. Amanda Koraska at Flat Creek Estate in the Hill Country says, “The 2011 grape harvest was much earlier than years past. The white wine varietals for vintage 2011 were harvested about two weeks earlier than past vintages while the red varietals were harvested almost six weeks earlier. Our harvest was fully completed by mid-July.” In the High Plains, where the harvest usually takes place latest in the state consultant Bobby Cox reports that the harvest is 80% complete, whereas normally they are just getting started.
On quality: Marnelle Durrett, winemaker at Kiepersol Estates reports: “Phenomenal! Best fruit we have ever harvested!” Phillip Anderson, General Manager at Cap Rock Winery, doesn’t grow grapes but reports on the grapes his independent growers delivered. “The quality of fruit is really nice,” Anderson said. “The heat gave us nice ripeness and obviously we didn’t have any moisture related problems. The berry size was much smaller than usual.” Veteran industry consultant Bobby Cox reports on some of the as-yet unharvested grapes “Finally the weather broke,” Cox said. “We have Montpulciano, Aglianico, and two vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon still hanging in 80-something highs and 50-something lows. That dog should hunt!”
Jump for the full report.
Do you tweet? Do you like to talk wine? Then you will enjoy the monthly TXwine Twitter Tuesday, community discussions led by Russ Kane with Vintage Texas. Tonight the tweet-a-thon will tackle food and wine. Sandstone Cellars’ Don Pullum, Texas grape grower and consultant winemaker, will present three recipes and six wines from Texas and beyond that highlight the role of acidity in both food and wine, and discuss how acidity plays a key role in wine and food pairing.
Instruction and the selected food and wine pairings are below.
I just came across two interesting wines that could serve as complements to different courses at the same meal. One, a left-behind from the Texas Roussanne cross-comparison tasting I conducted two weeks ago. I omitted the 2010 Cap Rock Winery Roussanne, Bingham Vineyards. Texas High Plains ($17.95). It has a taste of citrus (Meyer lemon) and, unusually, juniper. I would rate it average relative to the pack we tasted in the article. Best with food, it will pair well with chicken, fish or pork.
Old friends John Ley and Elwyn Hull left their full-time jobs in search of more satisfying work. They knew they loved working with people and wanted to find a way to help nonprofit organizations. So, naturally, they opened Two Corks and a Bottle—a custom winery and wine bar (where the serve as the wine makers) as part of the Wine Not, International Winery System.
All wines have been crafted on the premises using grapes sourced from quality vineyards from around the world, including France, Italy, Australia, South America, and California. The list contains over 25 red, white, and fruit wines by the glass and the bottle. During their daily wine tastings, five tastes run non-members $5, and are free for all Wine Club Members.
Jump for other highlights: Continue reading "Two Corks And A Bottle Opens in Uptown"