A Houston wine writer considered himself fortunate to get an audience with rockstar winemaker Pax Mahle yesterday while the charismatic sommelier cum winery owner was in town to show his wine to buyers and speak at a sold-out wine dinner at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. That's not to say that Mahle is p ... More >>
On Thursday of last week, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) released the text of a proposed amendment to its Go Texan licensing rules for Texas wines. Go Texan is a TDA marking program that helps to promote awareness of Texan agricultural products (including wine). It allows approved grower ... More >>
There are many things that make Houston a hip, cosmopolitan city. We have an incredible array of ethnic restaurants. We have a lesbian mayor. We have Johnson Space Center, the Texas Medical Center and plenty of universities. And now we have one more thing to solidify our coolness: An urban winery. ... More >>
This week's cafe review takes a look at Osteria Mazzantini, a new-ish Italian restaurant from Mockingbird Bistro's John Sheely. I first went there on opening night, and though I enjoyed the food, I found myself most impressed by the creative and interesting wine list and the young sommelier who had ... More >>
Tequila Fiesta @ Pico's Mex-Mex Restaurant All day Friday 5941 Bellaire Boulevard If you're still mourning the fact that National Tequila Day is only one day a year, dry your pretty little eyes, 'cause Pico's Mex-Mex is still celebrating! Their three-day tequila fiesta started on Wednesday, but it' ... More >>
A few nights ago, I cozied up to the bar at the swank Hotel ICON on Main Street downtown to wait for a friend who was staying there. I asked for a wines-by-the-glass list only to discover that there was nothing by the glass that I wanted to put into my body (it was dominated by usual-suspect, high- ... More >>
"Bartender, bartender! My wine smells like farts!" No, this wasn't a George Carlin routine. It was me (and my not so inner wine nerd) as I sat at a bar at one of Houston's most swank joints, waiting to be seated for dinner. Honestly, I wasn't surprised that my wine smelled like a fart: It came fr ... More >>
"Ingredients," reports the back label on a bottle of Randall Grahm's Bonny Doon wines from California, "Syrah grapes, tartaric acid, and sulfur dioxide. In the winemaking process, the following were utilized: indigenous yeast, yeast nutrients, and French oak barrels. At time of bottling, this produc ... More >>
I just love that the good folks over at the Chamisal winery in the Central Coast of California call their entry-level Chardonnay "stainless." To anyone familiar with the science and art of winemaking, the term "stainless" denotes a commonly employed technique and associated style of vinification. B ... More >>
My wife, daughter, and I are on the last leg of a road trip that has taken us through ten of Italy's 20 regions, from the far northeast to Mt. Vesuvius on the western coast of the south, to the tip of the heel of the boot in Lecce (Apulia [Puglia]). Today we're in central Italy, along the Adriatic s ... More >>
The beer wars are nothing new. Long before craft beer came along, the large macro breweries engaged in back-and-forth barbs, jockeying for position in the market. Usually carried out via marketing and commercial sniping, the battles all but amounted to multimillion-dollar re-enactments of schoolyard ... More >>
The winemakers behind Uvaggio Vermentino from Lodi have a theory. "If we grow the right grape in the right place," they write on their website, "we can manage to get by with our respective degrees in psychology and geography. (If one of us gets lost then other can figure out why.) However, when you ... More >>
If you follow along here at Wine Time, you know that we frequently cover Natural wine and the vitriol-fueled debate on Natural wine that often eclipses the wines themselves (and we have written about Natural wine in Texas here). The stakes in the Natural dialectic just got higher. Last month, a Eur ... More >>
"Pétard Blanc," writes La Cruz de Comal owner Lewis Dickson on his winery's website, "is a proprietary name and means 'white firecracker' in French. We call it that because of the hallmark natural acidity this wine always has and thus, its explosiveness on the palate." If you read our recent cover ... More >>
See our slideshow of Texas wines and wineries. In this week's cover story, we take a peek behind the cellar door to investigate some of the Texas wine industry's more frustrating secrets. Namely, that much of the wine bottled and sold in Texas is made from California grapes -- and that almost all ... More >>
Not all the Texas wine you buy is made from grapes grown in our state. In fact, most of it isn’t.
See our slideshow of Texas wines and wineries. The cover story for this week's issue of the paper, coming out online this afternoon, is an article on the Texas wine industry by my colleague Katharine Shilcutt and me. In the piece, we take a hard look at the challenges that Texas winemakers face. ... More >>
"Old man piss." I hate to say it, but it's the best descriptor to use to describe the color of many of the "orange" wines that are finding their way to our market these days. As you can see from the color of the wine in the glass above, orange wines aren't really orange: They tend to have a deep ... More >>
"The Wines Of Texas Are Upon You" may have seemed like a bland seminar title when compared with spicier ones like "Everything You Need To Know About Wine But Were Afraid to Ask" and "Super Star Wines." But the fact that the Austin Food & Wine Festival (which made its debut over the weekend) includ ... More >>
"I don't read anymore," said Dickson when I asked him to share his thoughts about the recent uproar in the world of Natural wine. "I did enough reading when I was an attorney." On Friday, I drove out to Houston native Lewis Dickson's Hill Country estate and winery, La Cruz de Comal, on the southern ... More >>
Wine Thoughts: There's so much groovy stuff happening this week in the Texas enoblogosphere. But we just have to open today's post with a nod to one of our favorite and most balanced wine bloggers here in our state, Sandra Crittenden, author of Wine Thoughts, who writes about one of our pet peeves: ... More >>
As we noted in last week's post on a new era of Nastiness and a call for civility in the Natural wine debate, it's not easy to define exactly what Natural wine is. As Eric Asimov wrote in his weekly New York Times column, there is no official definition or doctrine for Natural wine or Natural winem ... More >>
"Natural wine is wine to which nothing has been added," said the leading advocate of Natural wine in the U.S., Alice Feiring, when she visited Texas in October 2011 to promote her new book Naked Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally (Da Capo 2011). She was speaking at an event in a wine bar, ... More >>
Photo by Jeremy Parzen.Giuseppe Quintarelli, one of the greatest winemakers of our lifetime, passed away on Sunday in the Valpolicella, Italy. He was 84.From the tiny village of Negrar in the picturesque Valpolicella (Veneto, Italy) to the upper reaches of the One-Percenter wine collectors in ... More >>
Photo by Jeremy Parzen.Castell'in Villa Chianti Classico is one of the greatest values in Italian wine today, but out-of-state retailers can't ship it to me in Texas... at least not legally.On Friday, one of the most bizarre press releases I've ever read found its way to my inbox. "The Texas ... More >>
Image via HomeBrewers.com.No, that's not cocaine. It's potassium metabisulfite, one of the many forms of sulfites employed by winemakers for a variety of purposes.A post earlier this week ("Wine of the Week: A Wine with No Detectable Sulfites") inspired a lot of acidic (pun intended) discussi ... More >>
Photos by Jeremy Parzen.The Madoff segment on last night's 60 Minutes was made more palatable by a tasting of the utterly transparent Frey Vineyard's "Natural Red."One of the chief complaints often expressed by advocates, champions, and militants of Natural wine (with a capital N) is that ove ... More >>
To research her new book Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World's Best Bargain Wines, Natalie MacLean traveled to wineries in eight countries including Australia and Italy over a five-year period. Each chapter in Unquenchable pairs a wine with a day of the week and a meal. While the book ... More >>
Photo by Jeremy Parzen.The marketing campaign by Educated Guess wines is one of the most successful in recent history.Yesterday, after arriving at the Newark, NJ airport from Milan, Italy (where I admired a statue of Leonardo da Vinci across from the famous Scala opera house), I headed straig ... More >>
Above: Blanc du Bois grapes from the 2010 harvest at the Cruz de Comal Winery in the Texas Hill Country. To tell the story of winemaking in Texas today, we need to start with what happened in California back in the 1970s and the way wine has been marketed historically in the U.S. When I was ... More >>
White wine, rosé wine, red wine, orange wine... Orange wine? Qu'est-ce que c'est? No, it's not a wine concocted by Longhorn fans. (They call UT the orange tide? Call me Deacon Blue Nun). Orange wine is a loosely codified category of winemaking and winemakers who macerate the juice obtained ... More >>
Will you support the cause?It's one thing to sit and complain about the wretched restrictions the State of Texas has placed on the sale and distribution of craft beer. It's quite another to actually do something about it. And because Houston is a city of do-ers, five Houston craft beer lovers ... More >>
Filling a stein with Budweiser is tantamount to filling a Riedel glass with Boone's Farm, just FYI.Anheuser-Busch is counting on civic pride to make its next product a smash seller: beer named after America's various beer-drinking cities, based on their area codes. To that end, AB has alread ... More >>
On paper, this pairing breaks every rule of Wine 101. The heat of this dish -- the spiciness of both the marinade for the beef and the mole -- would overwhelm nearly any fine wine. The classic match would be ice-cold, dry beer served in an iced pony glass (perhaps even with a twist of lemon) ... More >>
At $11 by the glass, the Truchard 2007 Carneros Pinot Noir is a great value from one of California's most famous winemakers.
Flickr user wolfworldPierre Celis, the "King of Belgian White Beer", died over the weekend. He was 86. In spite of several unfavorable transactions with major brewing companies, Celis is widely considered one of the forbearers of the craft-brewing movement in America. His self-named brewery ... More >>
Think all bourbon comes from Kentucky? Think again.
Happiness is eight different wines on tap.I called my most wine-savvy friend upon receiving the invitation to the event. "Did you know there's a freaking winery in the Heights, just a few blocks from your house?" This was followed by a string of expletives (apparently she was not aware). I co ... More >>
The last few years I had the opportunity to live in both San Francisco and Napa Valley and work in the thriving California wine industry. Overall it was a very enriching experience; I learned a lot about the micro-climates that dictate Northern California's growing seasons, met some notable w ... More >>
A friend called about a week ago. She excitedly relayed the details of a Cameron Hughes Wine presentation she had seen at Costco that afternoon. My reply: "That sounds great, but I think you're leaving something out. There is just no way this guy is buying up someone else's high-priced fin ... More >>
The other Saturday, we went to a wine tasting at Block 7 devoted to Israeli wines. We hadn't really heard of Israeli wines but were assured that we would love them. A few glasses later, we were hooked. We even took a few bottles home, and it wasn't in an alcohol-induced shopping frenzy. In ... More >>
Ben Stein leads a live world-premiere screening and discussion on American suds
Sutter Home Winery is a reasonably credible wine maker. Sure, to some people they may be one step up from Two Buck Chuck, but you have to think the wine makers at Sutter Home retain some shred of pride and dignity.Or not.
Our state is the top beer market in the country, so why are we falling behind in the microbrewery movement?
Texas boasts the soil, the climate and the grapes for a strong wine industry. So what stands in its way? Bad taste and politicians.
A champagne buyer's guide