Subject:

Wine

  • Blogs

    January 29, 2013

    The Eating Our Words 100: Sean Beck, Sommelier Extraordinaire

    Who he is: Sommelier and wine consultant to a number of Houston establishments, Sean Beck started working as a waiter at Backstreet Cafe 15 years ago while he was pursuing a history degree at the University of Houston. "At the time, Backstreet had about a 55-bottle wine list," Beck recalls. Backst ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 11, 2013

    Big California Wine Crushes a Houston Import from Italy: Sutter Home Forces Trinchero Family to Remove Its Own Name from Labels

    La reproduction interdite... When a colleague showed me the new label for Trinchero Barbera d'Asti Superiore (2006 vintage) last night, I thought to myself, either he is playing a practical joke on me or this is a work of surrealist art. As if plucked from a painting by Magritte or a fountain by D ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 7, 2013

    Taste Wine, Hook Up at Houston Wine Tastings This Month and Beyond

    The most important thing my mother ever taught me is that every wine tasting is a singles event. It's not the only wisdom she imparted to me. But especially in the light of what I do for a living (writing and talking about wine), it's the most important. Even back in the 1980s, when my mom was work ... More >>

  • 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

    December 18, 2012

    Perfection and Value in a Bottle: Syrah Rosé from California for $16

    I'm just going to go ahead and blurt it out: The 2011 rosé from Syrah by Santa Barbara, California winery Ampelos is my favorite discovery for 2012 and it's my number one wine for the 2012 holiday season. It's one of those rare wines that fire on all cylinders. It's fresh and it's clean. It's got ... More >>

  • Dining

    December 13, 2012

    Let's Get Greasy

    The 10 best fried chicken joints in Houston.

  • Blogs

    December 10, 2012

    Top 5 Wine Gifts for the Holidays 2012

    Here are some ideas for wine-themed gifts for the 2012 holiday season, including a few that I'll be giving and a few -- hint, hint -- that I'd like to receive! 5. Wine Grapes by Master of Wine Jancis Robinson et alia If you follow along here at Wine Time, you know just how much I revere Master of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 6, 2012

    Asimov Rehumanizes Wine in His New Book

    "Eric [Asimov] has the best job in the world," once said a friend of mine, who happens to be a prominent wine writer based in New York. "He's the wine writer for The New York Times!" she exclaimed. From the standpoint of most of us wine scribblers, Eric's gig is as enviable as it is prestigious. As ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2012

    Why Screw Caps Stink, Why They Rock and a Pinot Grigio I Dig

    "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 >>

  • Blogs

    November 9, 2012

    Pinot Grigio, I Love You Just the Way You Are

    "Italy's finest white wine," reads the copy in an advertisement for Pinot Grigio that appeared in an issue of New York published in November, 1980, "magnificently dry with a beautiful straw-like color, Cavit Pinot Grigio has opened to rave reviews from wine critics. If you love white wine, discover ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 5, 2012

    Finally, A Malbec That I Can (Afford To) Drink

    "No, if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving," says Miles in what is perhaps the most memorable line from the 2004 film Sideways. "I am not drinking any fucking Merlot!" I, too, have my issues with "Merlot" (especially when uttered between air quotes). But if there were one wine category where Kantian ... 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

    November 1, 2012

    The Eating...Our Words 100: Bear Dalton, Wine Buyer & Educator, Spec's

    Eating...Our Words has embarked on a project to profile 100 Houston culinarians of all fields, practices, careers and backgrounds. This isn't a Best of Houston list, it's not a 100 Favorites list and it's not in any particular order. Instead, the Eating...Our Words 100 is a way to introduce our read ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 31, 2012

    An Under-$30 Delicious American Sparkler Returns to Houston

    Houston wine maven and man-about-town Denman Moody loves him some Dr. Frank from the Finger Lakes, New York. He poured and spoke about the winery's dry Riesling when I met him for the first time a few weeks ago in Austin (where he was presenting his new self-published book -- a memoir-cum-guide to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 30, 2012

    What Is Terroir and Why Is It Important in Wine?

    One of the greatest examples of terroir is Parmigiano Reggiano, the unmistakable and incomparably delicious cheese made in the region of Emilia-Romagna (in northern Italy). They make a similar cheese, using similar methods, just across the Po river on the north side of the great waterway (which flo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 26, 2012

    Eater National's Talia Baiocchi Joins Wine Spectator Team

    UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: We received word from Talia Baiocchi that this post has caused some confusion. She is not leaving her position as wine editor at Eater National. She is picking up a weekly column for the Wine Spectator in addition to her current job with Eater. New York-based, twenty-some ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 24, 2012

    A Taste of Texas Wines at Sullivan's

    Last week, Sullivan's Steakhouse played host to Messina Hof founders Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo for a wine dinner showcasing the Texas-based winery's award-winning wines. I was invited to attend, not only to reacquaint myself with the Messina Hof's wines, but also to sample the specialty menu create ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 23, 2012

    The Eating Our Words 100: Dale Robertson, a Populist Among Wine Writers

    Eating Our Words has embarked on a project to profile 100 Houston culinarians of all fields, practices, careers and backgrounds. This isn't a Best of Houston list, it's not a 100 Favorites list and it's not in any particular order. Instead, the Eating Our Words 100 is a way to introduce our readers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2012

    The Eating Our Words 100: Denman Moody, Author of The Advanced Oenophile

    Eating Our Words has embarked on a project to profile 100 Houston culinarians of all fields, practices, careers and backgrounds. This isn't a Best of Houston list, it's not a 100 Favorites list and it's not in any particular order. Instead, the Eating Our Words 100 is a way to introduce our readers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2012

    What if Winemakers Listed Ingredients on Every Bottle?

    "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 >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2012

    What Wine Didn't Romney Drink in Boca Raton?

    This weekend, after-dinner conversation with family focused on presidential politics, the upcoming campaign, and politically hued media bias. Talk of Romney's "47 percent" comment got me thinking: Which red wine was in the decanter on the table seen in the now infamous candid video of Romney that ... 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 >>

  • Blogs

    September 13, 2012

    My Trip to Napa Valley: Part II

    I'm pretty sure I fell in love with Napa. It's like an alcoholic's wine lover's Disneyland; a land with a picturesque landscape and fantastic crisp breeze, with some of the world's best wine at your fingertips, just ripe for the taking. And the food scene: TDF. I was lucky enough to enjoy two incr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 12, 2012

    Behind the Scenes at The Iron Sommelier Competition

    "In ten minutes, they're gonna be in the room," said sommelier Antonio Gianola with a tone of urgency. To his right, fellow sommelier Jonathan Honefenger encouraged his fellow somms along with cries of: "Hustle! Hustle!" The two men moved swiftly from one seat to the next, pouring a deliberate ounc ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 31, 2012

    Celebrity Wine: Tasting Notes for (Drew) Barrymore Pinot Grigio

    According to the Decordi winery's website, "the 2011 Barrymore Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT is a dry and fruity wine made with grapes from the Veneto, Friuli and South Tyrol regions." The Decordi winemaking facility is located in Cremona (in the region of Lombardy), a two-hour drive -- minimum -- ... More >>

  • Dining

    August 30, 2012

    The Best Beer Labels

    The most iconic and creative on Texas shelves.

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2012

    Skin Contact Is How Wines Get (or Don't Get) Their Color

    Last week's post on our Pinot Grigio Nation reminded me of the first time I visited a winery, when I was 20 years old. I was a senior in college at U.C.L.A. (majoring in Italian), and I made a road trip to northern California with some European friends to visit the wine country. During a tour of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 22, 2012

    Pinot Grigio Nation

    "Soon as we walk through the door," sang Mariah Carey in her 2008 hit, "Migrate," "Fellas be grabbin' at us like yo / Tryin' to get us going off the Patron / We sippin' Grigio... slow." These lines came to mind last night when the day's umpteenth press release caught my eye from an over-saturated i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 20, 2012

    Texas Wine Blogger Alfonso Cevola Wins Top Honor

    Yesterday, the organizers of the Wine Blog Awards announced the 2012 winners, including Dallas-based wine blogger Alfonso Cevola (above), who won for the "best single subject wine blog" category. Now in their sixth year, the Wine Blog Awards are widely considered the highest accolades in the world ... More >>

  • Dining

    August 16, 2012

    More Than Just Nolan Ryan

    5 food-related reasons to drive to Alvin.

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2012

    Report from TexSom: "Best Sommelier in Texas" 2012 Is Ryan Tedder (Dallas)

    On Monday, the organizers of TexSom, the annual Texas sommelier conference, announced the winner of the "Best Sommelier in Texas" competition, Ryan Tedder of the yet-to-open FT33 Restaurant in Dallas. David Keck of Uchi took second place in the annual event, now in its eighth year. The competition ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 13, 2012

    Fear of Wine: Oenophobia = Xenophobia

    In this week's New York Times dining section, wine writer Eric Asimov -- the Solomon of wine writing, as I like to call him -- asks: "Should a Wine List Educate or Merely Flatter You? [and] How Adventurous Should a Wine List Be?" His op-ed came in response to a flurry of blog posts that followed a ... More >>

  • 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

    August 6, 2012

    Life Before Pinot Grigio: A Favorite Pinot Gris from Oregon

    Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio from northern Italy changed everything. I'll never forget the first time I saw a bottle of the wine in a Southern Californian gourmet super market in the 1980s. The bottle was not the classic green but transparent (a stroke of marketing brilliance) and showed off the w ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 1, 2012

    Gumbo and Half Bottle of Riesling for a Lonely Diner at Brennan's

    Yesterday evening, when I found myself in the peculiar predicament of having to dine alone, I decided to treat myself to a bowl of gumbo at the bar at Brennan's, a landmark where I still hadn't eaten after nearly four years in Texas. Beyond the social awkwardness, dining alone for a wine lover can ... 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 >>

  • Blogs

    July 24, 2012

    Eat Local, Support Local: The GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up Is Here

    Houston Restaurant Weeks is coming this August. But before you budget all your dining dollars to that worthy cause, remember that an equally worthy one is going on this week: The GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up. Each year, the GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up features restaurants across the state cooking ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 20, 2012

    This Woman Made Me Drink Merlot

    "The thing I like about the Houston wine scene," says the Houston Wine Merchant's Marcy Jimenez (above), "is the Gulf Coast attitude. We're a little more relaxed than the folks to the north of here." Marcy was born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, New York. But she cut her teeth in the New Or ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 18, 2012

    Mingle with the Stars and Taste a Buttload of Wine at TexSom

    Now in its eighth year, TexSom -- the annual Texas Sommelier Conference (August 11-13 in Dallas) -- has become a national phenomenon, selling out quickly and attracting some of the biggest names on the U.S. wine scene today. This year, Master of Wine Christy Canterbury will be joining the list of ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 17, 2012

    A Shameless Plug for Finger Lakes Wines

    I'm no Jeremy Parzen, but I do know a little bit about wine. Growing up in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, I took the proximity and availability of local wine (and a decent wine education) for granted. When I was 21, "wine trailing" was a cheap way to get drunk. Tastings only cost a b ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2012

    Sommelier Vanessa Treviño Boyd Doesn't Kiss and Tell

    Philippe sommelier and wine director Vanessa Treviño Boyd is not one to name drop. But even if she were, you really couldn't fault her for it. In conversation with her, once the ice is broken, she can rattle off a who's who of Burgundy and French-wine elites whom she counts among her most intimate ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 9, 2012

    Top 5 Red Wines to Serve Chilled in Summer

    Some are more apt to reach for white than red wine during summer months, and it's perfectly understandable: White wines are generally served chilled, red wines generally not. But when summertime arrives at our house, I find myself craving earthy red wines to pair with the smoked ribs we are offered ... More >>

  • Dining

    July 5, 2012

    1981 and Now

    The Top 12 Texas Junk Foods.

  • Blogs

    July 2, 2012

    Top 5 All-American Red Wines for July 4th Grilling

    It seems only natural to go All American for our Fourth of July recommendations. After all, wine -- and our nation's bizarre relationship with alcohol -- have been part of our history since the time of the Founding Fathers. "In nothing have the habits of the palate more decisive influence than in ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 27, 2012

    Underbelly's Underpriced Wine List Gives Us More Reasons to Love It

    Because there is so very much to discuss when it comes to Underbelly, the subject of this week's cafe review, I found myself having to trim back significantly in certain areas of the review in order to get a broader point across (which, TL;DR, is that Underbelly is where it's all happening and you s ... More >>

  • 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 >>

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2012

    The Perfect Sushi Wine?

    Even though we're still more likely to reach for sake or beer when searching for a beverage pair with Japanese cuisine, we increasingly look to wine these days to quench the thirst that comes in the wake of the marine and umami flavors of both classic and innovative Japanese cooking. And while we ha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 18, 2012

    Eggs and Pinot Noir, a Guilty Pleasure

    Omelette Of all French dishes, the omelette is perhaps the most thoroughly representative. The French omelette is known far and wide, by reputation, at all events, and various are the parodies of the great French dish that are to be met with in the different corners of the world. In some places, om ... More >>

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