Wine Time

Tasting Notes: This Week in Wine Blogs

Vintage Texas: Budget cuts by the Texas legislature have slashed funding for the promotion of Texas wines, reports Houston-based blogger and wine writer Russ Kane, author of the top Texas wine and winery blog, Vintage Texas. In an email sent to "partners" of the "Texas Wine Marketing Program" (and reposted by Russ on his blog), the Texas Department of Agriculture has informed participants that the program "is ending on October 31, 2011 and a broadened passport program funded by all GO TEXAN members will take its place early next year. Consumers will soon be sent an email informing them of this change, and the information will be posted on TDA websites." (Evidently, Russ beat the TDA to the punch.) According to the statement, "participants will have until November 15, 2011, to redeem rewards. Please direct consumers to contact us at [email protected] or (877) 99-GOTEX if they have questions about how to complete their passport."

29-95: Top Houston sports and wine writer Dale Robertson leads a monthly tasting group, attended by some of the city's top sommeliers and industry insiders. We're happy to report that Dale's begun posting his notes from the sessions. Most of the wines are under $25 and many weigh in at less than $15. We're just a bit puzzled as to why Dale is posting in the blog's "sex" category (note the URL: But, hey, we like wine and sex as much as the next guy.

Wine Skinny: To borrow a phrase that she borrowed from one of our favorite movies, My Cousin Vinny, Houston publicist Robyn Tinsley "takes pride in her grits."

This week Robyn matches Albariño with one of our favorite dishes, shrimp and grits, borrowing the recipe and pairing from Master of Wine Sheri Sauter Morano.

"The acidity and the citrus notes of [...] Albariño," writes Sheri, "make it a perfect match for Shrimp and Grits. The wine handles both the spicy flavors of the dish and the heaviness of the grits. The addition of the cheese to the grits adds richness and fattiness, but the medium body and lively, crisp acidity of the Albariño acts as the perfect counterbalance."

Brooklyn Guy Loves Wine: In our view, one of the greatest things about following wine blogs is that you get the chance to experience rare (and often prohibitively expensive) wines. Such was the case when we read Brooklyn Guy's recent post on 1997 Meursault Charmes by Burgundy producer Comtes Lafon -- one of the world's most storied vineyards and one of its greatest wineries.

"Why have I never tried a Comtes Lafon white, until now?" asks Brooklyn Guy in his post. "For one, the wines command very high prices, particularly wines from the top vineyards in Meursault and of course, the Montrachet (one of those wines you'll never see on a shelf - perhaps in a restaurant or at auction, and I imagine we are into 4-digit price territory). If I really wanted to drink a Lafon Meursault nowadays, I'd have to buy a bottle at auction because I've been told that, like many of Burgundy's great wines, these require many years of cellaring before they reveal all that they have to offer. But buying an old vintage of Lafon at auction is a very expensive risk. You never know whether or not the bottle was handled properly, and for something from the '90s you will pay hundreds of dollars."

Click here for more vicarious pleasure.

Samantha Sans Dosage: And speaking of living vicariously, we were blown away by Samantha Dugan's post on her recent visit to Burgundy.

Samantha's singular ability to weave memory, music, eroticism, and wine into her posts always rewards us by casting a fresh perspective on wine tasting through the vicissitudes of one of our country's top wine professionals (and best palates).

"'Did you just spit out Montrachet??!!' an importer's voice echoing so loudly through the cavernous cellar containing six of us that I feared the damp and musty rafters might crumble down upon us. We had only been in Burgundy for two days but already my notebook contained scribbles on over one hundred and fifty wines."

Click here for more...

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Jeremy Parzen writes about wine and modern civilization for the Houston Press. A wine trade marketing consultant by day, he is also an adjunct professor at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, Italy. He spends his free time writing and recording music with his daughters and wife in Houston.
Contact: Jeremy Parzen