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.


Morgon — a little Beajolais on a Tuesday night

Tonight, while studying for our CSS exam, Jessica and I tasted this lovely Domaine de Javerniere Morgon.  Morgon is one of the 10 Beaujolais crus, and its wines are made primarily from the Gamay grape.

The nose on this light red was highlighted with floral notes (think purple and pink flowers) with cherry fruit notes. On the palate, Cherry Sweet Tart.  Super acid, fresh, lively.

Sadly, the Chateau des Jacques Morgon 2009 was corked.  Boo.


Tags: gamay morgon

What Have I Been Drinking Lately?

Here’s a look at some wines (and spirits) I have enjoyed recently. Cheers!

Franz Etz Gruner

This is my Friday night (or any other weekday) wine.  Love the acid, minerality, and slight effervescence on this little number. IAnd it comes in a liter bottle — great value! Specs.

Simonnet-Febrvre Saint-Bris Sauvignon Blanc

This is my go-to pairing with sushi when I saddle up to the bar at Whole Foods Market.  Lots of citrus and minerality in this wine (without the heavy grapefruit and grassy notes of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that I don’t care for.)  Whole Foods Market.

Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis

Les Vignes D’Alexander Chateauneuf-du-Pape

This Chablis is my Saturday night, let’s-have-a-party white.  You’ll spend a bit more but it’s worth every sip.  Lemon, herbs and salinity on this number - my kind of wine to set the stage for a lovely evening.  Whole Foods Market.

The Chateauneuf-du-Pape, also from Whole Foods Market, has tobacco, earthy notes with soft tannins.  Super nice.

And last, but not least, a little Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey, made from the fine folks at Treaty Oaks Distillery.  This corn and rye whiskey has a nice touch of sweetness that I like.  Check out my friend Matt McGinnis’ story on whiskeys in Austin Man magazine, which includes a review of Red Handed.

(I needed some whiskey after getting an ART treatment by Jake!)

Salt Lick Cellars BBQ White

With the ice and snow storm on its way yesterday, I made a pot of chicken tortilla soup with green chiles, and decided to pair it with this Salt LIck Cellars BBQ White.

Made by Duchman Family Winery, this easy drinking white has hints of green apple and grapefruit, along with pretty floral and peachy notes, which complements the spicy soup.  I love the dry, crisp finish on this white.