Gruner, Gruner

Yes, my go-to, inexpensive white wine is Gruner Veltliner from Austria — and tonight it’s this Berger Gruner in a 1-liter bottle (with a bottle cap, no less). 

Super dry, crisp with notes of grapefruit and lemon, super nice acidity and that rocky minerality I love.


TEXSOM 2014 — 10th Anniversary

Congrats TEXSOM on 10 years of great wine education, amazing tastings and professional and personal networking.  My favorite weekend of the year, TEXSOM is like candyland for people who love wine.


Here are some highlights of the weekend.

Dinner at Pappas Bros Steakhouse where wine friends Rachel, Ed, Adam and others enjoyed some amazing wines, including this Jacques Selosse champagne, Chablis Premier Cru from Montee de Tonnerre, and Gaja. The talented Jason Huerta (Top Texas Sommelier in 2010) took care of us!





Speaking of bubbles, I attended the Franciacorta (italian bubbles) session where the Bellavista Rose Grand Cuvee Millesimo knocked my socks off.

Also, during the “Beyond the Big Three” session, the Gruet Grand Rose from New Mexico confirmed it will always have a place in my wine fridge.

Other wine favorites: 2013 Kruger-Rumpf Estate Riesing Dry and Chappellet Chenin Blanc. From Chile: the Cono Sur Pinot Noir from Chile, Concha y Toro Carmin de Peumo Carmenere, and Mendel Semillon. 

From Portugal, the Quina Dos Roques was a terrific surprise.

I was fortunate to host a hospitality suite with the Texas Fine Wine wineries: Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, and Pedernales Cellars.


(L-R) Bob Young with Bending Branch, Pat Brennan with Brennan Vineyards, Julie Kuhlken with Pedernales Cellars, Jeff Ogle with Duchman Family Winery, Fredrik Osterberg with Pedernales Cellars

Cheers to my friends and colleagues!


My study bunnies Matt and Jessica


Me and study bunny Margaret


Michael Wangbickler, Jessica Dupuy, Matt McGinnis, Dave McIntyre, James Tidwell


TEXSOM Founders James Tidwell and Drew Hendricks


Devon Broglie and Guy Stout


Craig and April Collins

Craig Colins, Kristi Willis and me


Last, but definitely not least, the one and only Fred Dame

The weekend is not complete with a poolside Negroni.

Charles & Charles Rose

This is a bargain rose wine from the Charles & Charles portfolio (a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler.). I met Charles Bieler a year or so ago when he visited Whole Foods Market to unveil one of his wines on tap at Bar Lamar.

Charles Bieler and Devon Broglie, MS, Whole Foods Market

The 2012 rose has notes of strawberry and cherry, great minerality and the perfect pairing with my grilled salmon tonight.

It’s also a great sipping wine, too!  Tip from the Texas Wine Gal: keep a bottle chilled in your fridge at all times.


Gruner Veltliner from Hungary

If I can’t have Chablis, then give me Gruner!  Gruner is one of the best-kept white wine secrets — a lot of people are not familiar with it but should give it a try if you like dry, racy white wines. 

This Count Karolyi Gruner has great tart green apple notes and terrific acidity that almost hints at effervescence. And love the minerality (chalk, limestone) on it.

Most Gruners are from Austria but this beauty is from Hungary. I’m pretty sure this is my first Hungarian wine and it sure doesn’t disappoint.


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.

Winebelly Tapas & Vino

Winebelly is a fabulous new addition to South Austin — this tapas and vino restaurant does not disappoint.  The wine list is carefully selected by Ryan (who hails from my all-time favorite restaurant Bitter End and most recently Uncle Billy’s), including this French number I enjoyed last night.

The Marius Terret Vermentino by Michel Chapoutier has the perfect amount of funk you expect from a French wine, with nice peach, apricot and citrus notes.  Medium bodied with nice acidity. Ryan says this may become one of his go-to “by the glass” offerings.

This wine would be great with both the parmesan truffle fries or the bravas fries (although a cold beer would be the perfect pairing with the chili pepper-spiced bravas fries).

The beet salad is amazing — feta mousse, candied hazelnuts, and a citrus vinaigrette.

The grilled lamb ribs with vegetable ragout, spiced pistachios and herbed yogurt is a perfect dish for cold winter nights.

Hope to see you at Winebelly soon — 1st and Oltorf.


White wine all year ‘round

My friend The Reverse Wine Snob posted this great list of Top 10 White Wines Under $20 that I had to share.  I have tasted most of these and agree 100 percent that these are great buys.

Last night, I enjoyed the Trimbach Riesling — one of my regular go-to wines — and the Gruner is another white you will always find in my fridge.

And yes, I drink white wine all year ‘round!


Bandol and the Texas Hill Country

A highlight of my recent Mediterranean cruise was a tour of Domaine de Souviou, a beautiful Provencal estate known for its Bandol wines. Its vineyard, which is also populated with olive trees and lavender, reminded me so much of the Texas Hill Country.



After a tour of the vineyard, my brother Neel, sister-in-law Cathey and I enjoyed a tasting of several wines.


The Domaine de Souviou White was a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Clairette and Rholle (Vermentino) — terrific nose of grapefruit, lime and lemon, white flower and a touch of honeysuckle.  A perfect sipper on this sunny November day.

The Domaine de Souviou Rose was a blend primarily of Mourvedre, with some Cinsault and Grenache. Flavors of pink flowers, strawberry and white peach.

The Domaine de Souviou Red was also Mourvedre, Cinsault and Grenache, offering raspberry and cherry flavors, with hints of spice, leather, and mushroom.

Delighted with these wines (but sadly with no room in the luggage to take any wine back to the States), we bought a bottle and opened it for the ride back to the cruise ship. 



My sister-in-law Cathey and I enjoying the white blend out of our to-go plastic cups.


Max’s Wine Dive

Next time you’re looking for a restaurant with a great wine list, head over to Max’s Wine Dive.  I stopped in last night and Matt, the sommelier behind the bar, took care of me with a tasting of some wines right up my alley — a French Chablis, Vouvray (not usually my favorite, but this Le Haut-Lieu was awesome), and Dupuy de Lome Bandol (love me some rose from Bandol), and a German Leitz Dragonstone off-dry Riesling.

I also tasted through some amazing reds….my favorite was probably the Aromes de Pavie from Saint-Emilion, but ended up enjoying a bottle of 1989 Chateau Prieure Lichine from Margaux.

This little number was beautiful with a funky, musty, earthy nose at the start that opened up and offered lush blueberry on the palate.


Dry Riesling — Yes, DRY Riesling!

So many of my friends think Riesling is a sweet wine, and while yes, there are many sweet Rieslings in the world, you don’t have to look too far to find beautiful dry Rieslings.

Tonight, I am in Riesling heaven with this Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Dry Riesling.  Talk about some minerality — wow, love the stone characteristics with a touch of herb on the finish. The lemon and lime flavors, combined with nice acidity, makes this a favorite for this white wine gal.

For under $15, this is a great go-to wine.