Tag Archive | "San Antonio wine"

Nectar Wine Bar and Ale House Opens

nectar3Nectar Wine Bar and Ale House has opened at 214 Broadway.

NectarRob and Rachel Stephens own the establishment, which they say was founded after over 20 years of planning. “It is designed to respect the traditions of wine bars worldwide, while adding a touch of modern charm,” a press release said.

On the menu are wines, beer and gourmet food served in a casual environment.

The opening had been scheduled for earlier, but a HVAC system forced a delay. You’ll now find Nectar open every day but Monday.

“The HVAC delay was just another opportunity to ensure that everything was going to be in place for the enjoyment of our customers,” said Rob Stephens. “We are beyond excited to officially welcome everybody to Nectar and enjoy a glass of fine wine or ale.”

For more information, visit:


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The Veuve Clicquot Airsteam Breezes into Town

The Veuve Clicquot airstream.

The Veuve Clicquot airstream.

Veuve Cliquot, the Champagne long known known for its yellow flavor and brilliant bubbles, is breezing into town in a luxurious airstream trailer Monday for a two-day visit at a pair of San Antonio restaurants. It’s part of a national tour that began in Florida and will continue on to Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington D.C., and the Hamptons, among other destinations.

Choices: Yellow Label? Or Rose?

Choices: Yellow Label? Or Rosé?

On Monday, the trailer will stop at 20nine in the Quarry, 255 E. Basse Road, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The special Veuve Road Trip, or flight, is priced at $20. Reservations can be made at (210) 798-9463.

On Tuesday, from 6 to 9 p.m., the airstream will be at Feast, 1024 S. Alamo St. Guests will have a chance to check out the Airstream while sipping flutes of Yellow Label and Rosé and enjoying music from a DJ. Yellow Label can be purchased for $15 a glass and $60 a bottle, while the Rosé is priced at $18 a glass and $70 a bottle. For more information, call Feast at (210) 354-1024.


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Troy Knapp: Varietal Infidelity

By Troy Knapp

Troy Knapp is executive chef at Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa as well as a certified sommerlier

Troy Knapp is executive chef at the Hyatt Hill Country as well as a certified sommelier.

I will always remember the first time I had a truly remarkable and well-aged vintage port. The bottle I speak of was 36 years old and well taken care of. Pulling the cork was like opening a buried treasure and from the enormous amount of sediment in the bottle a beautiful purity emerged as it was decanted. The glasses were poured. I took my first sip. My first thought: “This is amazing, perfect, truly beautiful.” And after I took it all in, my second thought: “Damn! Where had this been? All this time, it had been missing from my life.”

Chardonnay, Cabernet or Merlot may be your loved one; however, they are not your spouse and will not be heartbroken if you experience different wines. The vast world of wine has much to be explored and the diversity is intriguing. Don’t be afraid to play the wine field a bit. One of two things will happen; you will find that absence has made the heart grow fonder or you’ll discover a new love. Regardless, the journey will be enjoyable, I promise you that. Here are a few tips while you allow your palate to gallivant around.

Put the sommelier to the test

Looking for wine can be intimidating. In the restaurant setting, the sommelier [saw-muh-LYAY]  can be a good ally to have. No sommelier? Ask for a wine steward or someone who knows the most about the selections offered. If the restaurant doesn’t seem to offer a good selection, stick to beer or cocktails. Don’t go looking for an experience where there is none.

A sommelier, wine steward or any industry professional truly wants to lead you in the right direction and to assist you in selecting a bottle that will align with your specific needs. That is his or her role. Be vocal. Let preferences be known along with what you are eating and your budget. Wine experts love a good challenge and will want to deliver the best experience for you; after all, their pride is on the line.

Sample around the wine world for a great many unique flavors.

Purchase for the season

Wines from a warm climate are typically richer, heavier and fuller in body than wines from a cool climate, which are lighter in body and have greater amounts of acidity. Drinking cool climate (refreshing) wines in the summer and adversely warm climate (richer) wines in the winter is a good seasonal approach, and can lead to a better experience.

Wine regions can be quite diverse. California, for example, has a range of climates varying from hot to very cool, based on their proximity to oceanic influence, elevation and a host of other factors. This can be a little confusing. An easier way to decipher if a wine is going to be full or light bodied and the climate it came from is to simply check the alcohol level on the bottle. I prefer wines with the alcohol of 13.5 percent and under in the summer and 14 percent and upwards in the cooler months.

Pursuing similar traits

Seek out unique varietals that may have similar traits to the wines you are familiar with. These general relations may steer you to something new:

  • If you like California Napa Chardonnay you may like other full bodied whites such as Viognier, Fiano from Southern Italy or the fleshy (fuller) wines of Alsace, such as Pinot Gris.
  • If you like Sauvignon Blanc, you may like Albariño from Spain, Grüner Veltliner from Austria or Pinot Grigio from North East Italy.
  • If you like Pinot Noir, you may like Barbara d’ Asti from Piedmont Italy, Cru Beaujolais from Burgundy, Agiorghitiko from Greece.
  • If you like California Cabernet Sauvignon, you may like Shiraz from Australia, Malbec from Argentina, Carmenere from Chile or Nero d’avola from Italy’s island of Sicily.

New World vs. Old World

If you like fruit-driven wines, purchase selections from the New World, such as California, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and Australia. If you like earthier wines, seek out Old World selections, in other words, wines from traditional producers in France, Italy and Germany. Spain, Oregon and Washington state offer the best of both worlds and are known to offer traits that are reminiscent of the New and Old World wine-producing regions. They typically display generous fruit with an integration of earth or minerality.

Points and critics can cause confusion

Let’s face it, wine is quite subjective and with the world of facts, figures and opinions it can get rather convoluted. I usually take critics’ scores with a grain of salt when selecting wine. These common ratings are abundant on retail shelves, in magazines and on the Internet. In theory, a 90-point wine should be very good. Not always, I’ve had my fair share of highly rated wines that ended up disappointing me. The point system is fairly one-dimensional and doesn’t take into consideration several variables that should be considered when selecting wine. Time of year, temperature, personal preferences as well as what you may be eating are all important factors that the point system shows no consideration for. I feel these ratings are overly influential and frequently under deliver. Keep in mind that a critic’s score is merely one person’s opinion. Does this critic know what you like? And seriously, is there truly any good “one-size-fits-all” approach, let alone with something as personal as wine?

Remember, variety is the spice of life and while heading down the wine trail remember, the journey, as well as the destination, will most definitely be sure to reward. Enjoy!

Troy Knapp is executive chef at the Hyatt Hill Country and a certified sommelier.

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Two Women Take Over Wurzbach Road Wine Shop

Veronique Cecilia Barretto at her wine shop.

Veronique Cecilia Barretto and Melissa Unsell have become the new owners of Wine: A  Fine Wine Shop at 7271 Wurzbach Rd. The new shop will still focus on wine, but the name will change after the first of the year to Vinously Speaking, which is also the name of Barretto’s blog.

Brotherhood Holiday Spice Wine

The store offers a broad array of wines for all tastes, whether you’re looking for some Old World reds, New World whites or sparklers to fit a few budgets. A lineup of wines from Yarden in Israel includes a Cabernet Sauvignon that Barretto recommends for holiday dinners. The kosher winery doesn’t rely heavily on oak, allowing the natural flavor of the grapes and terroir to come through, she says. The wine sells for $45.

Dolce the shop dog.

Also at the wine shop is Holiday Spiced Wine from Brotherhood, the oldest winery in the country. The New York wine features “cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and a secret variety of other herbs and spices,” the label says. Serve it warm on a cold day. The wine sells for $15 a bottle.

Plans are to add a wine bar area after the first of the year.

While you’re at the store, say hi to Dolce, the shop dog.

The store is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. For information, call 210-240-5866.

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Cool Off with the 2010 Mulderbosch Rosé

Chill this rosé down until it fogs up the glass when you pour it.

2010 Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé

Fact: I have written about this wine for several years now, but I think the latest vintage may be the best yet. Either that, or the excessively high heat has made an icy cold glass too refreshing to resist. (Both are true in my book.)

This South African beauty is something of an anomaly among rosés. Its color is almost Kool-Aid red-pink, like something out of a comic book, and it’s made from Cabernet Sauvignon, instead of more popular rosé grapes, such as Pinot Noir, Sangiovese or Grenache.

But its aromas and flavors are truly serious. Chill this wine down and get ready for a blast of wild strawberry and pomegranate aromas to shoot from the glass, followed by flavors of watermelon, tart cherry and a touch of green herb on the palate.

Grill up some steaks with a touch of lime juice on them or burgers with a spicy mayo, and enjoy.

It’s not easy to find Mulderbosch in San Antonio. The wine rep at one H-E-B claimed he hasn’t been able to get it for three years, yet I found it at another H-E-B, the one on Thousand Oaks, for an attractive $10.99 a bottle. I’ve also seen it at Spec’s, Twin Liquors and several Gabriel’s stores in the past.

Feeling: This is a wine that loves anything that sings of summer, from vine-ripened tomatoes with a touch of dill weed to grilled portobello mushrooms to crab cakes. So, forget what the thermometer says and sink back with a summer quaffer that’s practically perfect.

If you want to learn more about rosé wine, join Richard Becker, Steven Krueger, Bonnie Walker and me, among others, at Culinaria’s Rambling Rosé this Saturday at Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg. This event is one that each of us has called our favorite of the entire year. So, join us for some terrific wines, wonderful food and, we hope, good talk. For more information, click here.

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New World Wine & Food Festival Moving to May 2010

San Antonio’s New World Wine & Food Festival will be moving its festival date to May of next year, says president and CEO, Suzanne Taranto.

This time period coincides and partners with The Valero Texas Open.

“Our new date and subsequent partnership will allow us to offer multi-faceted outreach to sponsors, visitors, chefs, wineries and more, with incredible potential for growth and expansion,” she said.

More information about the partnership and dates will be announced. The New World Wine & Food Festival just celebrated its 10th anniversary in November.

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