• Blogs

    August 20, 2014

    An "Unoaked" Chardonnay Hits the Spot at Grotto

    It was difficult to find a seat Monday night at the bar at Grotto, the popular Houston mainstay. Between a couple of very friendly ladies dressed in bright blouses and a queue of middle-aged traveling businessmen who seemed eager to share a cocktail with them, two Houston food and wine professional ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 22, 2014

    Moët & Chandon's Elise Losfelt Talks Champagne & Truffle Fries

    Winemaker Elise Losfelt of Moët & Chandon, the world's leading Champagne house since 1743, visited Houston this past week and sat down with the Houston Press to discuss their champagnes, and to introduce the Grand Vintage 2006, which is now available in the United States. She also has a few tips fo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 24, 2014

    Sugar Land Food & Wine Affair Kicks Off With Judgment of Paris Recreation

    My view of the film Bottle Shock was partially obscured by a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, but it didn't really matter, because there were five wine glasses before me waiting to be filled. At the kick-off event for the 11th Annual Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair, the intent was to recreate the pivotal ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 31, 2014

    Soter Winery and Akaushi: A Tasty Pairing

    Eclipsed by the street construction taking place on the stretch of Westheimer Road directly in front of it, 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, the restaurant by master chef Fritz Gitschner, opened this past November to little fanfare. Since then, however, the roads have cleared, and a new patio has been fini ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 10, 2014

    Five Easy Prep-Ahead Valentine's Day Dinners & Desserts

    If you haven't made reservations for Valentine's Day (which is this Friday, FYI), then have no fear, because you can easily prepare a romantic dinner for you and your Valentine at home. But, we know that not everyone has the time to cook a fancy, four-course dinner the second they come home from wo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 29, 2013

    Upcoming Events: Gingerbread House Competition, Holiday Farmers Market Bike Ride and a Tamale Workshop at Sylvia's

    Before you know it, you'll be heading out to holiday parties and inviting friends over for a special holiday get-together. And, you'll need a great bottle of wine to celebrate the season during those times. On Monday, December 2, at 6:30 p.m., Central Market will hold a Wine Workshop featuring class ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2013

    Masraff's: A Gem of a Wine List Where You'd Least Expect It

    The Houston wine scene is exploding -- literally. Between the newly launched Houston Sommelier Association, the growing number of local Master Sommelier and Society of Wine Educators candidates, and the flood of new and groovy wines reaching our market thanks to a new wave of independent wine distr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 25, 2013

    France Makes Coke-Flavored Wine; Americans Laugh and Start Planning Other Wine/Soda Combos

    When I first read it on NPR's food blog, I thought I'd somehow started reading The Onion without realizing it. I glanced up at the header at the top of the page. Still NPR. Oh God, it must be true... It seems it is true and also sad and funny and terribly confusing. French vintner Haussmann Famille ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2013

    Fun in the Sun with Food and Wine: Brenner's Wine Fest

    Brenner's on the Bayou is definitely one of Houston's best-kept secrets. Set against a hillside off Memorial Drive at Westcott, the gem of a restaurant directly overlooks the bayou, with extensive grounds that boast trickling water features, lushly rolling hills, a gazebo and winding walkways. It's ... More >>

  • Dining

    March 21, 2013

    So Delicious, a Caveman Could Eat It

    Paleo-friendly restaurant menus abound in Houston.

  • Blogs

    March 11, 2013

    Jordan, a California Chardonnay with Restraint

    A few years ago, a holiday weekend drive to Palm Springs from my native San Diego delivered me at the doorstep of Chardonnay Hills, an upscale homeowners association in Temecula. In this day and age, it's not surprising that a community would name itself after a grape. After all, ampelonyms (that's ... More >>

  • Dining

    February 14, 2013

    Go West, Young Man

    The top 10 restaurants in Westchase.

  • Blogs

    December 31, 2012

    Champagne Cliffs Notes: The Best Bubblies to Buy for New Year's Eve

    The weather outside was frightful when I rolled up to the mothership Spec's on Smith Street one afternoon last week. But it wasn't half as scary as the demolition derby that was unfolding in the parking lot there, between the old school Caddys, the C-Class Benzes, and the obligatory and ubiquitous ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 2, 2012

    Cat Piss, Horse Sweat, Wet Dog, Barnyard (Unusual Wine Descriptors)

    One of the pet peeves at our house is gooseberries. No, not the berries themselves. But the people who use the descriptor gooseberry when writing a tasting note. As one wine blogger put it, "New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc's classic description is smelling like cats' pee on a gooseberry bush. If you g ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2012

    A California Chardonnay without Sin

    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 >>

  • Dining

    August 16, 2012

    More Than Just Nolan Ryan

    5 food-related reasons to drive to Alvin.

  • Blogs

    August 9, 2012

    Wine Lost and Found in Translation with Sean Beck

    "The sommelier is there to 'translate' the wine" for the patron, says sommelier Sean Beck. Beck runs one of the city's most respected wine programs at Backstreet Café. "You're there to make the guests feel confident about their choice" of wine, he explains. In a city like petrochemical-based Houst ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 31, 2012

    Have A Drink On Us: AC/DC Sells Wine Now, and We Had a Tasting

    Shout-out to the oenophiles out there, there is a new kid on the wine block these days, with the introduction of two varieties of vino geared towards fans of classic-rock band AC/DC. Now, I know what you are saying: Since their music goes so well with the hard stuff, shouldn't AC/DC be making their ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2012

    Low-Alcohol Vermentino from California Makes Me Happy

    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 >>

  • Dining

    July 5, 2012

    1981 and Now

    The Top 12 Texas Junk Foods.

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2012

    Like That Wine? Try This One: A Guide to Texas Wine Varietals

    In last week's cover story, we discussed the fact that Texas vineyards still stubbornly grow varietals that aren't suited to the Texan weather or soil -- well-known grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet and Chardonnay. But they're doing it for a reason: Too many wine drinkers don't want to stray from the ... More >>

  • Dining

    June 14, 2012

    Texas Wines: Behind the Cellar Door

    Not all the Texas wine you buy is made from grapes grown in our state. In fact, most of it isn’t.

  • Blogs

    March 19, 2012

    Wine of the Week: Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette)

    Of all the wine-growing regions in the U.S., none seems to make more sense to me than the Willamette Valley, Oregon (although the Finger Lakes in New York state comes in at a close second). When rich white dudes were inspired to plant French varieties in Napa like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Ch ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 12, 2012

    Wine of the Week: Who Needs Another Merlot When You Have Cerasuolo di Vittoria?

    Did the world really need another Merlot and Chardonnay in 1995? Evidently, the Planeta family thought so, and when the younger generation of this Sicilian clan launched the eponymous winery in the mid-1990s, they delivered bold, oaky, concentrated, and highly alcoholic Chardonnay, Merlot, and Syrah ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 20, 2012

    Wine of the Week: Chardonnay

    Photo by Tracie P.Although Chardonnay has become synonymous with "white wine" in North America, its true homeland is the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy, France, where it is grown and raised in some of its most celebrated expressions.​Chardonnay has been on our minds. Last week, our colleague Chr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 17, 2012

    Odd Pair: Mile-High Wine

    Photos by Jeremy Parzen.​"What are my white wine choices?" I asked the other day after boarding one of the roughly 24 Southwest Airlines flights that I will take this year, as I commute monthly to work with one of my clients in California. "Chardonnay," answered the steward. "Is there more t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 16, 2012

    Ingredient of the Week: Chardonnay

    Valentine's Day came and went. You cooked some fancy meal with your significant other, uncorked a bottle of wine, and then after dinner, fed each other bon bons by the fire. Okay, realistically, there was no fire because Houston just hasn't stayed cold this winter. But all the other parts really ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2012

    Bacchus Boasts an Assumption-Challenging Wine List

    Chuck Cook Photography​Have you ever told a friend, "I simply have to come see you sometime!" and then ended up saying that every time you ran into each other? And then, by the time you're ready, or he's ready, something has changed? Well, while "wine badass" Marc Borel was at Bacchus, I kep ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 5, 2012

    10 Hilarious Old Commercials for Terrible Wines, Mostly Aimed at Men Wanting Sex with Drunk Women

    By Italian or French standards, Americans still have a lot to learn about wine. But my oh my, how far we've come in the past 30 years. It's hard to fathom how little we must have known about the fruits of the vine if the following ten shockingly terrible ads for abysmally awful wines are any indicat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 16, 2011

    Odd Pair: What Wine to Pair with Hospital Food?

    Photos by Jeremy Parzen.When you're admitted to the hospital to have a baby, you're taken off solid foods. As soon as the baby is born, they bring you a meal to regain your strength. In our case, it was hospital cafeteria meatloaf.​Color me pink! Tracie P and I had a baby on Monday: Georgia P ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 12, 2011

    Wine of the Week: An Argentine Chardonnay that Surprised Me

    Photo by Jeremy Parzen.Argentina isn't what I generally reach for when I go wine shopping, but I was pleasantly surprised when my Spec's salesperson turned me on to this Patagonia Chardonnay.​Most of the wine that comes from South America tends to be made in the California style: big flavor, b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 2, 2011

    Odd Pair: Ice Cubes and Chardonnay (Water and Wine)

    Back in the 1990s, when a new awareness of fine wine began to emerge in the U.S., the combination of "ice cubes in your Chardonnay" became a sort of litmus test, a line in the sand dividing those who knew and appreciated fine wine and those who didn't. Even today, when we're invited for over for d ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 28, 2011

    Wine of the Week: Domaine du Salvard 2010 Cheverny

    Photos by Jeremy ParzenThe 2010 Cheverny by Domaine du Salvard from the Loire Valley, France, is like the quiet, shy kid in the back of the class, with his nose in a book. But when he's called on, he's brilliant.​There is SO much wine in the aisles of Houston's wine shops these days. From Spec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 25, 2011

    Odd Pair: Asparagus and Wine

    Today we think of asparagus as one of the standard vegetable side dishes in the contemporary canon of American gastronomy. But in another era, asparagus was considered one of the world's greatest delicacies: The insatiable King Louis XIV built greenhouses so that he could eat asparagus all year rou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 2, 2011

    Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

    Photo via @SanCrittenden.Houston wine blogger Sandra Crittenden.​Wine Thoughts: One of the things that we love about Sandra Crittenden's blog Wine Thoughts is how she seamlessly alternates between a big, boisterous Chilean red that she picked up at the Tasting Room for "approximately $100," an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 2, 2011

    Top 12 Wines Under $15 for the Holidays

    A $10 sparkling wine for the holidays: Toso is one of our top picks.​Last night, Whole Foods Market introduced its Top 10 wines for the holidays -- except that this year, like the days of Christmas, there are actually 12. Historically, some of the recommended wines have been held up at custom ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2011

    Wine of the Week: Another Oaky Buttery Chardonnay

    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 >>

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2011

    Wine of the Week: $15 Is the New $10

    ​"What's your favorite wine for under $10?" If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that question, I'd probably have about $15. When it comes to wine pricing, you'll often hear wine trade folks talk about "price points," in other words, a "maximum" price that allows us to categorize ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2011

    Valentino's All-You-Can-Eat Summer Sashimi Event

    Photos by Mai PhamAhi tuna sashimi with spicy aoili ​If you weren't there, you missed out. More than 100 people attended Valentino's all-you-can-eat Summer Sashimi event last Thursday night, an extravaganza that included sashimi, more sashimi, and a bottomless selection of four wines -- a Ries ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 20, 2011

    Wine of the Week: "Oaky May Be Bad, but Oak Is Good."

    ​If you're anywhere between 21 and 51 years of age (I'll be 44 next month), you were brought up with the notion that oak flavors were a sign of a fine wine. Back in the 1970s, when huge investment in the Californian wine industry began to take shape, the dudes in charge -- think Gallo and Mo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 10, 2011

    Odd Pair: King Ranch Chicken and an "Oxidative" Wine from Jura

    ​University of Texas alum and a Solomon among wine writers, my friend Eric Asimov likes to tease me about some of my favorite pairings with Texan cuisine, like "oxidative" wines from Jura, France, with my mother-in-law's Chex Mix. (An oxidative wine is a wine that was made by purposely exposin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 12, 2011

    Tasting Spring Branch

    St. Arnold's and a slider from Avalon Diner.​Nothing makes a late Sunday afternoon like tasty food, cold beer and a sense of community. This is what I found at the Memorial Assistance Ministries' Taste of Spring Branch food tasting event this weekend. After a minor snafu involving a tree and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2011

    Wine(s) of the Week: Duel Napa Valley Chardonnay

    ​I had a couple bottles of Chardonnay sent to me from different wineries, and noticed they were both within a year's vintage of one another, in the same price range, and both from the Napa Valley. So, why not do a Wine of the Week, "Food Fight" style? It was on like Donkey Kong, only a little ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2010

    Your Holiday Party Won't Break the Bank with $2.99 Wines From Whole Foods Market

    Three Wishes, available exclusively at Whole Foods for $2.99 a bottle or $33 for a dozen. ​Save your hard-earned cash for presents by stocking your holiday party with Three Wishes wines, available exclusively at Whole Foods Market for $2.99 a bottle. At this point, some of you are no doubt s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 30, 2010

    Odd Pair: Pineapple Upside Down Cake & Chardonnay-Viognier

    ​Just shy of December, I have already received my first Christmas gift: a lovely bottle of 2007 "Duet" Chardonnay-Viognier by Louis Latour. It is an elegant-looking bottle that promises to be crisp and refreshing, and it does not disappoint. The Chardonnay gives the beverage a sharpness that i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 12, 2010

    Odd Pair: Sweet Potatoes & Chardonnay

    ​If you're like me, then you've been "practicing" your Thanksgiving recipes a little early this year. At least that's the reason you give when people ask why you're making stuffing and sweet potatoes in the beginning of November. The upside (besides getting to eat decadent food all month) is ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2010

    Wine of the Week: 2009 Cupcake Chardonnay

    ​Since I'm too old to trick-or-treat, I thought a bottle of California Central Coast Cupcake Chardonnay (sent to me by Underdog Wine Merchant) would satisfy my need for a treat this Halloween. Perhaps it's a mental trick, coming from a confectionary-named vineyard, but it is an exceptionally s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 12, 2006

    That's a Nice Wine, Shucker

    Julia Walsh Nothing goes with oysters like a good Sancerre. And a Muscadet. And a Quincy... In my first two years as a home oyster shucker, I have noticed my oyster-eating guests prefer Loire Valley wines with high acidity levels. I wondered: Why the Loire Valley? What about high acidity wines fr ... More >>

  • Dining

    March 15, 2001

    House of the Rising Sun

    The stars align at Scott Tycer's Aries

  • Dining

    December 28, 2000

    Uncorking a Bargain

    A champagne buyer's guide

  • More >>