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Hill Country Wine and Food Festival Set for April 26-28


Pair Texas wines with local foods.

The third annual Hill Country Wine & Music Festival, a celebration of Texas wine, music and food that benefits the Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts in Fredericksburg, will be held April 26-28.

The three-day festival is held at Wildseed Farms on Highway 290 just east of Fredericksburg.

The event kicks off on Thursday, April 26, with a Texas vintners dinner at the Cabaret Grill.

Friday, April 27, brings an evening of Texas food and wine pairings with authors Terry Thompson-Anderson and Russ Kane, who will be signing copies of their latest books. The cost is $100 a person and includes both books.

Saturday festival highlights include tastings from Torre di Pietra Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyard, Becker Vineyards, Texas Hills Vineyards, Fall Creek Vineyards, Chisholm Trail Winery, Fredericksburg Winery, Cap Rock Winery, Messina Hof Winery and Sandstone Cellars.

Food artisans and restaurants include CKC Farms, Dos Lunas Cheese, Texas Olive Ranch, Texas Hill Country Olive Company, New Bread Rising, Lick Ice Creams, Zhi Tea, Edis Chocolates, Kerbey Lane Cafe and Navajo Grill.

Music by Trevor La Bonte, John Arthur Martinez and Joel Guzman, Almost Patsy Cline Band and Thomas Michael Riley.

For more information on the festival, click here.

 

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Texas Food and Wine — What a Sensational Pair


Chef Kelly Casey (with pastry bag) of Hudson's on the Bend in Austin plates her dinners.

It wasn’t about the prosciutto-wrapped quail, so juicy and tender with each bite. It wasn’t about the cocoa powder and raspberry flavors that mingled so beautifully in each sip of the Inwood Estates Tempranillo-Cabernet blend.

It was, however, about how the lush red fruit flavors of the 2007 Fall Creek Meritus joined with slices of Texas beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and chipotle to reach new  gustatory heights.

That was the point of the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, held Friday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

Five chefs, narrowed down from a field of more than 35, were competing to see who could make the most successful pairings of Texas ingredients with Texas wines.

It was clear to both the celebrity judges’ panel and to the audience who did that best: David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin.

Susan Auler (left) of Fall Creek Vineyards and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin enjoy the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match.

The chef, who once worked for Bruce Auden at the original Biga, took home the $5,000 grand prize as well as the People’s Choice Award. The centerpiece of his meal was the already-mentioned beef tenderloin with the Meritus,  but he also presented a crispy oyster with habanero-honey aïoli partnered with the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2010 and a pastel de calabaza, or zucchini cake, with lemon crema and spicy caramelized pecans served with the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli 2010.

Patrick James “P.J.” Edwards of San Antonio’s Bin 555 won a second place commendation from the judges for his meal, which started with a crudo of Gulf Coast group with cured Poteet strawberries and Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé 2009. It was followed by roasted lamb loin with herb-glazed turnips and porcini-raspberry soil, which was presented with the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. A Grapefruit “Dreamsicle” with vanilla semifreddo and the Becker Vineyards Clementine 2010 rounded out his meal.

Organizer Marla Camp

Other chefs in the competition included Peter Smith of the JW Marriott in San Antonio as well as Kelly Casey of Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg. Each presented small plate versions of his or her entire menu to the crowd.

Chef Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill's Prosciutto-Wrapped Quail alongisde a Fredericksburg Market Salad with Pickled Peaches.

The local ingredients included a number of treasures worth seeking out at farmers markets as well as grocery stores: Pure Luck cheeses, Round Rock Honey, quail from Diamond H and Texas Quail farms, Shiner Bock, Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, Bluebonnet Hydroponics lettuces, and Texas olive oil. Alongside Casey’s blue cheese cheesecake were figs from her own trees.

Other Texas wines poured included Messina Hof’s Riesling and Riesling “Angel,” Perrisos Viognier and Petite Sirah, Stone House Scheming Beagle Port, and Flat Creek Muscato, Estate Syrah and Port.

Kelly Casey's Hopelessly Blue Cheesecake with her homegrown figs.

The judges included celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh as well as Mozzarella Company found Paula Lambert, François Dionot of L’Academie de Cuisine and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Proceeds from the evening, planned by Marla camp of Edible Austin and Terry Thompson-Anderson of the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet, will benefit the not-for-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is being planned for Fredericksburg. The goal is to raise all of the money needed to operate the center before it opens in October 2013.

 

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Texas Wines Bring Home the Medals


It’s been a good year for Texas wines. The burgeoning wine industry has claimed a growing number of medals in state, regional and international wine competitions. The list includes some well-established wineries, such as Becker Vineyards and McPherson Cellars, as well as some up-and-coming names on the scene: Sunset Vineyards and Georgetown Winery.

The following is not a complete list of award-winners, but a sampling of some of the wines that have taken top honors at various competitions.

  • Becker Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Wilmeth Vineyard – Best of Show Red Wine (San Antonio Wine Festival)
  • Becker Vineyards 2008 Fleur Sauvage – Class Champion and Texas Class Champion (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition)
  • Becker Vineyards 2008 Barbera, Peter’s Prairie Vineyard – Texas Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • Becker Vineyards 2009 Clementine Late Harvest Viognier, Bingham Family Vineyards – Texas Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • Flat Creek Estate Mistella NV – Top Texas Wine and Texas Class Champion (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition)
  • Georgetown Winery Lone Star Frost NV – Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • Grape Creek Vineyards 2007 Serendipity – Texas Class Champion (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition)
  • Grape Creek Vineyards 2009 Viognier, Lost Draw Vineyards – Texas Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • McPherson Cellars 2009 Rosé of Syrah – Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • McPherson Cellars – Reserve Class Champion (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition)
  • Messina Hof Winery – Best of Herd Award (San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo)
  • Messina Hof 2005 Papa Paulo Port Private Reserve – Texas Grand Star (Lone Star International Wine Competition)
  • Messina Hof Winery 2008 Chenin Blanc – People’s Choice Grand Champion White Wine (San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo)
  • Sunset Winery 2005 “Vintner’s Select” Orange Muscat, Newsom Vineyard – Texas Class Champion (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition)

Some of these wines are found only at the winery or on the wineries’ websites, but others can be found in wine shops. For a complete list of award-winners, click here.

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Want a Great Wine? Check Out the KLRN Winners


Wine lovers, it’s time to stock your cellars. The winners of this year’s KLRN Wine Competition have been announced.

This year, the best in show winners went to a robust Texas red and an icewine made with the uncommon grape Vidal. The champions are the Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Wilmeth Vineyard 2007 and the Jackson Triggs Vidal Ice Proprietor’s Reserve 2007.

The judges sampled more than 500 wines and awarded about 300 gold, silver and bronze medals. The wines were from all over the world, from Spain and Italy to Canada and Australia.

In the end, medals went to a host of well-known wineries, including Trinchero, Sutter Home, Rodney Strong, Franciscan, Banfi and Marques de Riscal.

In addition to Becker Vineyards, Texas wineries to win medals include Brennan Vineyards, Dry Comal Creek, Flat Creek Estate, Grape Creek, Haak, Kiepersol Estates, Llano Estacado, McPherson Cellars, Mandola, Messina Hof, Pillar Bluff, Singing Water, Sister Creek, Texas Hills Vineyard and Water 2 Wine.

For a complete list, click on the PDF link below.

KLRN Wine Competiton – 2010 Medalits

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Winning Wines From the Stock Show’s First Competition


WinePourThe 2010 Stock Show & Rodeo has announced the gold medal winners in its first wine competition. The wines will be poured throughout the stock show In February of next year. They will also be featured at the Wine & Rodeo gala Jan. 16.

That night, the top award winners will be auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Scholarship Fund.

Medals were given in two groups: critics  and people’s choice.

Wine Competition Critics Winners

Grand Champion Red J. Lohr South Ridge  Arroyo Seco Syrah 2007

Reserve Champion Red Terre D’Oro Amandor County Zinfandel 2006

Grand Champion White Korbel Sonoma Sparkling Rosé

Reserve Champion White Meridian California Chardonnay

“Best of Herd” Winery (Texas Only) Messina Hof Winery

Top All-Around Winery J. Lohr Winery

Critics Gold Medal Winners

Alexander Valley Alexander Valley Cyrus 2005

Austin Hope Paso Robles Syrah 2005

Barefoot Bubbly California White Zinfandel

Bohemian Highway California Merlot

Grigich Hill Fumé Blanc Estate Grown Napa Valley 2008

J Lohr Arroyo Vista Vineyards Chardonnay 2007

J Lohr South Ridge Paso Robles Syrah 2007

Kendall Jackson Vinters RSV Chardonnay 2008

Korbel Sonoma Sparkling Rosé

LaFond Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2007

Matanzas Bennett Valley Sonoma Pinot Noir 2007

Meridian California Chardonnay

Pacific Rim Washington Framboise

Pacific Rim Washington Vin De Glacier 2007

Terre D’Oro California Zinfandel

Williamette Valley Oregon Pinot Grigio

Wine Competition People’s Choice Winners

Grand Champion Red Columbia Crest Reserve Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Reserve Champion Red Alexander Valley School House Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Grand Champion White Messina Hof Martin Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2008

Reserve Champion White Gallo Twin Valley California Moscato

People’s Choice Gold Medal Winners

Acre Central Coast Chardonnay 2008

Alexander Valley School House Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Bonterra Mendocino County Sauvignon Blanc 2007

Barefoot Cellars California Pinot Grigio

Beringer Napa Chardonnay 2007

Columbia Crest Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2006

Davis Bynum Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2007

J Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

King Estate Oregon Pinot Grigio 2007

Messina Hof Texas Pinot Noir Barrel Reserve 2006

Messina Hof Martin Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2008

Sbragia Dry Creek Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Sbragia Gino’s Vineyard Sonoma Zinfandel 2004

Terre D’Oro California Moscato 2008

Trefethen Family 2005 Oak Knoll Napa Merlot Estate 2005

Gallo Twin Valley California Moscato

(Photo: Trish Hughes)

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A Chance to Sip, Savor and Hoist That Umbrella


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Intermittent showers couldn’t dampen spirits Sunday at Sip, Savor & Shop, the opening event of the 10th anniversary of the New World Wine & Food Festival.

NWWFF-SipShop6Guests strolled through the new section of the Shops at La Cantera where fashion shows, food and fine wines were served up while the stores offered discounts and makeovers.

Wines ranged from Domaine de la Gardine and Franciscan Magnificat to Texas’ best from Becker Vineyards, Llano Estacado and Messina Hof. Restaurants and caterers, including Kona Grill, Grimaldi’s, Mariposa at Nieman Marcus, El Papalote, Così and the RK Group, served up a host of dishes including tacos norteños,  tuna tartare, bacon-wrapped chicken bites and pizza.

Towards the end of one shower, a rainbow arched briefly over the Shops at La Cantera, and the sight of it made the raindrops inconsequential.

NWWFF-SipShop2SavorSA was also on hand offering tastes of holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce (for the recipe, click here), an easy-to-make relish that’s great with Thanksgiving turkey or poured on top of ice cream. As the afternoon progressed, more ideas on how to make and serve the sauce evolved. Pour it over cream cheese or alongside baked Brie for an easy appetizer. Serve it with pork tenderloin, pork chops or roast chicken. Add jalapeños or serranos for a kick, or stir in pecan pieces for a welcome textural addition.

The New World Wine & Food Festival continues at 7 p.m. Tuesday with Burgers & Beer at Bin 555. For a full schedule, click here.

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Wondering About Wine? GoTexan WineCasts Can Help


winecast-screenshot-2009-06-09The Texas Department of Agriculture wants you to know more about wine.

To that end, it has produced a six-video series featuring some of the state’s winemakers and vineyard owners discussing grape varieties and wine styles. The series can be found at  gotexanwine.org or at the GO TEXAN YouTube channel (click here).

In the introduction, Susan Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow discusses the growth and history of the Texas wine industry with Tanji Patton.

In the second clip, Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards in Comanche details the rise of viognier (vee-ohn-yay) as one of the white grapes proving especially suited to Texas soils. Viognier displays peach, apricot, honey and citrus characteristics, and it can be paired with a variety of foods.

Kim McPherson of McPherson Vineyards in Lubbock talks about the success Texas winemakers have had with sangiovese in the third installment. This light-bodied Italian varietal goes well with pork, spicy fish dishes and cheeses.

Jim Johnson of Alamosa Wine Cellars in Bend discusses the Spanish varietal tempranillo, which loves hot climates like those found across Texas. In the fourth video, he talks about pairing the hearty red wine with leg of lamb.

Franklin Houser of Dry Comal Creek in New Braunfels showcases Black Spanish in the fifth piece. This varietal is proving to be resistant to disease, heat and humidity, making it an appealing option for grape growers and winemakers alike.

In the final video, Merrill Bonarrigo of Messina Hof in Bryan discusses port-style wines and other dessert wines that Texas is producing.

These videos are great introductions. Now, take that information and apply it to your tastings.

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