10 Things Your Mother Didn't Teach You About Thanksgiving Wines

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
Your mother probably never told you that sparkling rosé from the Loire Valley, France, like this crémant by Langlois Cheateau, delivers excellent value and food-friendliness at the Thanksgiving table.

10. Don't believe the "perfect pairing" hype.

The Thanksgiving feast is one of the most challenging culinary events of the year when it comes to wine pairing. Between cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie, and the roast turkey, you have intensely tart, radically sweet, and richly savory flavors on the table. No wine is going to pair "perfectly" with every dish on the table. Anyone who claims to have discovered the "ideal" Thanksgiving wine has had too much 7-layer salad (try finding a pairing for that dish!).

9. Know your audience.

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is the holiday when the whole mishpucha gets together. Unless you're planning a romantic Thanksgiving for two or a "couples" Thanksgiving feast, you need to appeal to a broad range of preferences. Aunt Gladys likes sweet wines. Uncle Tim likes them dry. Your selection should be based on the common denominators among the guests.

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David Keck Pours Oregon Wines at Treadsack's Kipper Club This Saturday

Categories: Wine Time

Image via KeeperCollection.com.
Houston sommelier David Keck will lead guests through a guided tasting of Oregon wines this Saturday at the Kipper Club.
Keeper Collection, the Austin-based food and wine society, is taking its popular "Wine Ride" across Texas for the first time, including its first event in Houston this weekend.

As part of a three-city, weekend-long series of tastings, the group will be hosting an Oregon wine tasting event at the Kipper Club Test Kitchen on Yale this Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. Click here for event and registration details.

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Matteo Lunelli, "King of Italian Bubbly," Visits Houston

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
Matteo Lunelli, ex-banker, sparkling wine producer, and one of the most powerful people in the Italian wine business was in Houston yesterday.
Every week, it seems that another fine wine luminary sets her or his sights on the Houston market.

Yesterday, ex-Goldman Sachs banker and one of the most powerful players in the Italian wine trade today, Matteo Lunelli (above), descended on Houston for a luncheon and tasting with Houston wine buyers and bloggers at Tony's on Richmond.

"I see the market data," he told a reporter yesterday afternoon. "Houston is a very rich city thanks to the dynamics of the energy market... More and more, our focus is on the U.S. and I see a growing interest in wine here."

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Rosinka Wine & Tea House in Rice Village Transports You Straight to Europe

Photo courtesy of Rosinka Wine & Tea House
Owners, Katerina and Ivan Belik, want you to feel like you are in Europe at Rosinka Wine & Tea House.
Rice Village is one of the best areas in the city to walk around visiting shops, restaurants, cafes and farmers markets just as you would in a European country. And that's exactly why Katerina Belik and Ivan Belik opened Rosinka Wine & Tea House in this neighborhood. Katerina is a lecturer at Rice University, and Ivan is a physicist and financial analyst; the two decided to bring a little bit of Russia and Europe to Rice Village with their wine and tea house selling and serving wines and teas from around the world.

The Beliks opened Rosinka Wine & Tea House in December 2013, but now that the shop has an upgraded TABC license to sell wines by the glass and for tastings, and more customers are discovering Rosinka, the owners decided to hold the grand opening celebration on October 23.

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First Female Takes Home a Prize From Iron Somm, But Bubbles Still Win

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Steven McDonald of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (center) proudly holds the Iron Sommelier trophy.

Female sommeliers have competed in the annual Iron Sommelier Competition for years, but last night marked the first time that one has taken home one of the major award categories. Vanessa Treviño-Boyd of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted scored the Best Presentation award last night. She succeeded in the intimidating task of presenting her wine and wowing an elite group of dozens of event underwriters in a private room.

Treviño-Boyd used a creative theme called "Expressions of America's Leading Ladies," specifically referring to wines she felt were reminiscent of Katharine Hepburn, Meryl Streep and Scarlett Johansson. What does her win mean for other female sommeliers in Houston? "The Underwriter Room was the high-stakes room. You were put on the spot, you could either hang or not and there was no real hiding it. So, I think it means women here can hang, stay calm, cool and collected and then shine."

What did she present to win over the underwriters? "2009 Elderton 'Command' Shiraz, and Australia is not my strong suit either!" Well, you'd never know it.

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Controversial Pinot Noir Festival Slated to Come to Houston in 2015

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
California grape grower and winemaker Jasmine Hirsch led a guided tasting of her wines last night for collectors at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted.
In yet another sign that Houston is becoming one of the leading "wine destination" cities in the United States, California winemaker and festival co-founder Jasmine Hirsch (above) revealed yesterday that the controversial "In Pursuit of Balance" tasting will be held in Houston on March 30, 2015. It's the first that the event has been held outside of San Francisco or New York.

Borne out of a "conversation" with celebrity sommelier, winemaker, author, and In Pursuit of Balance co-founder Rajat Parr, the annual festival, now in its fifth year, features California producers of Pinot Noir who favor a leaner, high-acidity, low-alcohol, "old world" style in their wines.

Since the 1970s, the California wine industry has been dominated by a richer, fruit-forward, low-acidity, and high-alcohol approach to winemaking -- the so-called "modern style."

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A Wine Competition for a Cause:
Iron Sommelier 2014

Photo by Chuck Cook Photography
Iron Sommelier 2014 is just a few weeks away!
Iron Sommelier, the annual wine competition and fundraiser, returns on October 2nd from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Houstonian. The event benefits The Periwinkle Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps seriously ill children and their families. It's also an opportunity for Houston's top sommeliers to go out and demonstrate their deep knowledge of wine.

The somms come up with a theme and present wines for attendees to taste that best represents it. The theme may be about a particular grape, region or style of wine. There are also plenty of small bites and snacks, overseen by The Houstonian's executive chef, Neal Cox.

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Sip on Wine During Taste Around Town Houston, and We Have the Discount Code

Categories: Wine Time

Photos courtesy of Bottlenotes
Taste Around Town arrives in Houston September 15.
Houston Restaurant Weeks just came to a close, but there's another foodie event, more specifically, a wine event, happening in our city in less than two weeks. Taste Around Town Houston is similar to restaurant weeks, except participating restaurants will feature wine specials, such as flights and dinner pairings. The two-week event lasts from September 15 until September 28; all of the participating restaurants will feature wines from Chateau Montelena, Penfolds and selections from France.

Taste Around Town is hosted by Bottlenotes, the same company that brought 80 Sips Around the World to Houston, and this will be the first time Bottlenotes hosts Taste Around Town in our city.

"It's intended to drive awareness and traffic to participating restaurants while offering new and existing customers a chance to discover new wines," Devin Parr, senior program manager at Bottlenotes, says. "It's an exciting experience for people who may not have visited a particular restaurant in a given market and it's also a way for current customers of a particular restaurant to experience new wines they might not have tasted before, or regions that they might not have explored before. It's a wine experience that's very similar to restaurant week, we're just focusing on wine."

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"Summer Riesling" Grease Parody Brings Down the House at Camerata

Categories: Wine Time

YouTube screen capture.
You had to be a wine nerd to get all the inside jokes but the video's general hilarity brought down the house last night at Camerata.
There was brio in the air last night at Camerata, as co-owners David Keck and Paul Petronella wrangled an ornery projector and guests sipped Riesling selected especially for the wine bar's "Summer of Riesling" microlist.

The occasion was the debut screening of "Summer Riesling - A 'Summer Nights' Parody," a video produced and performed by Mark Collado, a musical theater enthusiast and amateur singer, and Ryan Cooper, a Camerata sommelier and chef-about-town (he is the founder and owner of R&D Barbecue, a Houston-based catering company). The two became friends and musical collaborators after meeting at the wine bar, where Mark is a regular guest.

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An "Unoaked" Chardonnay Hits the Spot at Grotto

Categories: Wine Time

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
When choosing among white wines that they never tasted before, diehard wine fanatics often go for the "unoaked" Chardonnay.
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 professionals considered themselves lucky to find a bar stool at 6 p.m.

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