Duchman 2012 Vermentino

One of my favorite Texas wines that you will find frequently in my fridge is the Duchman Family Winery Vermentino. Lots of citrus, underripe white peach, and mineral notes. Nice acidity makes this such a refreshing wine. Whole Foods Market for about $17.

I have heard that winemaker Dave Reilly thinks this is their best Vermentino ever. We can also thank the Bingham Family for providing these terrific grapes from their High Plains vineyard.


White Wine Girl

No matter the time of year, I always crave white wines — particularly the super racy, high mineral whites.  Here’s a look at some recent beauties.

Gerard Tremblay Chablis — a solid, under $20 Chablis that is dry, stony and crisp.

Bret Brothers 2011 Pouilly-Fuisse — terrific minerality, with a round mouthfeel.  Around $23 at Austin Wine Merchant.

Give me a wine from Alsace any day and I’ll be happy, and Trimbach wines never disappoint.  I usually get the Riesling but this Pinot Blanc is a little softer with a bit more body.  About $18 at Austin Wine Merchant.

And this terrific Jean Collet Petit Chablis on the wine list at Josephine House

Napa Cabs — Love-Hate Relationship

Me, I’m not much of a Cab girl, particularly those stereotypical hot (high alcohol), oak bombs from Napa.  But this weekend, I was pleasantly surprised (and actually quite delighted) with this 2007 Darioush. 

And I knew it must be special when the winery website still has archived the wine’s tasting notes.  While the dark fruit (blackberry, blueberry) dominated the aromas, it was equally matched on the palate with lots of minerality (tasting notes spell out graphite), earth and tobacco.  Soft tannins made this a very pleasant, drinkable wine.

So while I have a love-hate relationship with not only Napa Cabs, but also California wines in general because of the overuse of oak and high alcohol levels, I was encouraged to read the WSJ’s story this week on the efforts by some California winemakers (who are part of IPOB - In Search of Balance) to make more Burgundian style Chardonay and Pinot Noir.

Rajat Parr describes this new breed of wines as having “freshness, vibrancy, acidity and crunchiness.”  I’m hoping these IPOB wineries come to Austin soon for a tasting.


Winebelly in South Austin

As I’ve written before — finally a terrific wine and tapas bar in South Austin. Winebelly is a small, cozy restaurant with a stellar wine list and delicious food. Last night’s evening out with a friend resulted in a mini-tasting, thanks to the half-off specials on Monday.

We started the night with this Fleur de Coucou Sauvignon from Touraine (a neighbor to Sancerre in the Loire Valley), with notes of citrus and underripe white peach with terrific flinty minerality.

This BonAnno Cab from Napa is a heavy, juicy, fruit forward Cab without being ruined with a ton of oak. 

We capped the night with a taste of the Perles Fines Brut with a light peach color, soft bubbles and crisp acidity.

A few more French wines

I’m on a streak of French wines and last night’s were terrific.  I found a champagne that I could drink right away, without swirling away the carbonation, because of the super fine, gentle bubbles. A party in the mouth as sommelier June Rodil would say.

This grower champagne, NV Vilmart & Cie Champagne Cuvee Rubis, was a gorgeous salmon pink color with hints of strawberry, raspberry and yeast on the nose, with a minerally finish and, of course, beautiful acid.  It was such a creamy, beautiful champagne to kick off a beautiful night.

And check out the cork — it’s a keeper!

Next up a 2010 Michel & Marc Rossignol Les Teurons, Beaune Premier Cru. A little tight at first, it opened up throughout the night offering notes of tart cherry and cranberry, with subtle hints of some earth and minerality. 

Both wines from Austin Wine Merchant.


Bon Soir Mon Amie

Thank you Arro and MS Craig Collins for the lovely French wine list — tonight’ s number from Marsannay (2010 Domaine Charles Audoin Marsannay Les Longeroies) was a lovely Pinot Noir with terrific red cherry fruit with subtle notes of earth and minerality.


Tonight’s mussels also made my night — with a creamy, tarragon and onion broth — topped with crispy pomme frites. 

And let’s not forget our starters:  we kicked off the night with a Trimbach Riesling Reserve (dry and crisp with wicked acidity) and a Grenache Blanc/Roussanne/Viognier blend (lush floral notes on the nose and beautiful stone fruit on the palate).


Tags: arro

Piquitos Valentino

This delicate, slightly effervescent Moscato from Spain will make your sweetheart smile.  With peach, honeydew and white flowers on the nose, the Piquitos Valentino finishes with tangerine notes.  It’s off-dry, with a kiss of sweetness, perfect for to kick off your Valentine’s Day celebration.

Thanks to Jessica for sharing this pretty number with me tonight while we studied spirits. Available at Whole Foods Market.


Dark Horse Nero D’Avola

I am smitten with this Dark Horse Nero D’Avola, with its tart cherry, cranberry and spicy, peppery notes.  Made by Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, I believe it’s the only Texas (and maybe US) winery making a Nero D’Avola wine. I love the high acid and soft tannins on this lively red.

Nero D’Avola is the most widely planted red grape in Sicily.  Here in Texas, it’s grown at one of Brennan’s estate vineyards, Newberg Vineyards, just 10 miles south of the winery.

If you want to know more, check out this WSJ column on what could become the next Malbec.

Super Wines on Super Bowl Sunday

While the big game certainly disappointed, thank goodness, the wines I enjoyed that night did not. 

To kick things off, we started with some Gruet Blanc de Noirs — always love this sparkling wine from New Mexico.  Light salmon color, toasty and creamy.  Specs

As most of my wine friends know, I am a huge Chablis fan. Lucky me, this 2012 Pierre Andre Chablis was steely and super minerally with a hint of salinity— showing off its Kimmeridgien limestone soil.  Twin Liquors.

This Bordeaux blend from Saint-Emilion — Chateau Pontet Plaisance St. Emilion Grand Cru 2010 — capped the night offering lots of ripe dark fruit, some green and leather notes, and well-balanced. Twin Liquors


A little Emotion for the night

You gotta love the guys at William Chris for making a wine with lipstick lips on the label.  They celebrate women as much as they do wine, and we appreciate it.  (Thanks Chris and Bill — true Texas gentlemen!)

The Emotion is always one of my favorites — an approachable red blend from Cab Sauv, Malbec, Cab Franc, Syrah and Merlot. You first get pretty floral notes on the nose, but this baby is full of fruit — blueberry, black and red cherries.  Its soft tannins make it an easy wine to drink.

If you haven’t been to William Chris, it’s “Hye” time you do.  Stop in, sit back, put your boots up, and enjoy their beautiful winery.