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Learn More About Wine the Best Way Possible: By Tasting It


Want to learn more about wine and spirits? Check out the following classes offered by Cecil Flentge of Grapes and Groceries through the Northside Adult & Community Education program.

The best way to learn about wine is by tasting it.

The best way to learn about wine is by tasting it.

World Class Wine from Oregon: If people had known how great the wines would be in Oregon, the Oregon Trail would have been blazed much sooner. While apples, roses, and hops are big for the upper left hand corner of the U.S., they also have many beautiful wineries. Whites and reds are great, and they lend themselves to food so instructor Cecil Flentge will prepare dinner to go with the wines and talk with you about the wines. Sept. 24, 2013, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 9944 Leslie Road, Helotes, (210) 688-3090. (That is Leslie Road where it intersects Braun Road.) Visit http://www.zionsa.org/directions.html for a map. Materials fee: $18 (payable to instructor).

Traditional Bourbon – It’s Not just From Kentucky: The definition of bourbon? There are many places that follow the required tenets of proper bourbon distilling that are not from Kentucky. Here is a chance to learn a bit and taste a few. Flentge will discuss the basis of what makes bourbon and and even get into food pairings. He will also prepare a few dishes to taste along with the bourbon. Oct. 8, 2013, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 9944 Leslie Road, Helotes. (210) 688-3090. (That is Leslie Road where it intersects Braun Road.) http://www.zionsa.org/directions.html for a map. Materials fee: $18.

Champagne, Sparkling, Cava, Prosecco — All Bubbles: Sparkling wines, like Champagne, are always a celebration. But have you tried bubbly wines from other countries? This class will show a wide range of tastes and styles in the realm of sparkling wines. Flentge will give information about the wines, food pairing, and no one has to get married to try these. Not sweet and sweet wines as will be tasted. A buffet of goodies will be provided to help you enjoy the wine. Oct. 15, 2013, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 9944 Leslie Road, (210) 688-3090. (That is Leslie Road where it intersects Braun Road.) http://www.zionsa.org/directions.html for a map. Materials fee: $18.

What wine style do you want to learn more about?

What wine style do you want to learn more about?

Sweet Wines and Dessert Wines: There are those that scoff at sweet wines. Fine, their loss. But Port, Sherry, Sauternes, et cetera are wines no knowledgeable wine aficionado scoff about. But there are so many more sweet wines, some that are planned for dessert, some that can pair with savory dishes. Flentge will lead you to some sweet conclusions and pair foods with the wines to show their many uses. Nov. 5, 2013, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 9944 Leslie Road, Helotes, (210) 688-3090. (That is Leslie Road where it intersects Braun Road.)  http://www.zionsa.org/directions.html for a map. Materials fee: $18.

The Wines of Southern France: Provence, Languedoc, Minervois all make very tasty and reasonably priced wines in red, white, and pink! Sample wines while pairing them with foods to help you visualize an afternoon in Narbonne or Marseilles. Flentge will lead the exploration and prepare the dishes. Nov. 12, 2013, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 9944 Leslie Road, Helotes, (210) 688-3090. (That is Leslie Road where it intersects Braun Road.) http://www.zionsa.org/directions.html for a map. Materials fee: $18.

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On the Wine Trail: Chisholm Trail, Becker, Dry Comal Creek Plan Events


The hustle of the holiday season is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Several Hill Country wineries are offering events to tempt your taste buds.

Jazz at Chisholm Trail

Chisholm Trail Winery,  2367 Usener Road, Fredericksburg, is offering two events in January.  On Jan. 14, the winery will hold its annual Jazz in January event. The George Eychner Quartet will perform from 2 to 5 p.m. Listen to the smooth jazz while having some wine and lunch from the winery’s restaurant, the Oval Oven, featuring wood-fired gourmet pizza.

On Jan. 21, Chisholm Trail will be part of the Wine Road 290 Port and Pairings Event. Complimentary samples of Bourbon Orange Pecan Pie from the Fredericksburg Pie Company will be paired with the winery’s Port-style dessert wine, Almagres. The Oval Oven will also be open during normal winery hours.

For more information on Chisholm Trail, click here or call 830-990-2675. For more on the Wine Road 290 schedule, click here.

Winery U at Dry Comal Creek

The fourth annual Winery U at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, 1741 Herbelin Road, New Braunfels, begins Jan. 14.

Sessions are held once a month on Saturday mornings, with each class focusing on a different aspect of wine “in as non-pretentious a way as allowed by law,” says instructor David King, who holds the Certified Specialist of Wine certificate from the Society of Wine Educators.  “We keep it fun and entertaining, because when you come right down to it, wine should be fun and entertaining. I talk for a while, and then we taste wine. Or in the case of the Food and Wine Pairings class, I talk very little and we eat and drink at lot.”

Here’s the lineup for the 2012 classes, subject to the water rising in the Dry Comal Creek:

  • Jan. 14: Introduction to Wine
  • Feb. 11: Texas Wines
  • March 13: Decoding the Wine Label
  • April 7: Growing Grapes and Making Wine
  • May 19: Wines of France
  • June 9: The Black Spanish Grape
  • July 21: Sensory Evaluation
  • Aug. 18: Wines of Spain and Italy
  • Sept. 15: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Oct. 20: Food and Wine Pairings
  • Nov. 10: Wines of the Southern Hemisphere
  • Dec. 8: Cabernet Sauvignon

Classes are $30 each, or $25 if four or more are purchased at once. For information and registration, click here.

Hill Top hosts Becker dinner

Hill Top Cafe, 10661 U.S. Highway 87, Fredericksburg, is hosting Richard and Bunny Becker at a dinner featuring a collection of Becker Vineyards wines from the Tallent vineyard and from Mason County. The dinner begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 29.

Reception wines include the 2011 Provençal and 2010 Reserve Grenache, followed by a first course of  Moroccan Red Lentil and Lamb Bessara with the 2010 Raven. Winter Salad with Bartlett Pears, Prosciutto and Fresh Texas Goat Cheese will be paired with the 2010 Albariño, followed by  Steamed Gulf Prawns with Sweet Ginger, Curry and Scallions and the 2011 Pinot Grigio.  Braised Texas Dry-aged Beef Short Ribs in Puff Pastry with Winter Vegetables and the 2009 Raven will be served before a dessert of El Rey Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chantilly Cream and Becker Vineyards’ 2010 Vintage Port.

The cost is $75 a person plus tax and tip. Call 830-997-8922 or email reservation@hilltopcafe.com.

 

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CIA Announces Plans for Its Grand Opening & Restaurant Briefs


The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio has announced its grand opening celebration will take place on Oct. 9.  In addition to the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building, there will be campus tours, live entertainment, culinary demonstrations and tastings, and competitions.  The Pearl farmers market will be also be open that morning.  The campus offers a 30-week Culinary Arts Certificate Program, as well as culinary enthusiast classes.  More information is at www.ciaelsueno.com.

Looking for a fast lunch on the north side of town?  Starting July 13, Gianni’s Italian Cuisine will offer a buffet priced at $8.95 plus tax and tip. It will include green and pasta salads, entrées, and fresh fruit.  The regular lunch menu will also be available.

Vela Wine Bar has changed its name to Vela at Paloma Blanca.  It has expanded its menu of small plates and wine to include classic cocktails and the full menu from next door Paloma Blanca.  On Thursday through Saturday evenings, it is offering a reverse happy hour with select glasses of wine, cocktails, and appetizers priced at $5.  To raise funds for local Bexar county charities, the bar is hosting a Girls Night Out on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.  At these events, local fashion and beauty stores bring in their products for relaxed viewing.  Want to learn more about wine?  A wine class is offered on the second Tuesday of each month; the themed lessons have foods paired with the wines.

Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio
Pearl Brewery
312 Pearl Pkwy. Bldg. 3
San Antonio, TX
www.ciaelsueno.com
www.ciachef.edu/sanantonio

Gianni’s Italian Cuisine
2602 N. Loop 1604 W., Ste. 209
San Antonio, TX  78248
210-233-9240

Vela at Paloma Blanca
5800 Broadway
San Antonio, TX 78209
210-822-7120
www.VelaAtPalomaBlanca.net

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Free Wine Classes at Gabriel’s


Gabriel’s Superstore, 1309 N. Loop 1604 W., is hosting a series of free wine education classes, starting this Wednesday.

The first class will focus on Old and New World Riesling. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served.

The schedule for April and May is as follows:

April 21 – Old and New World Riesling

April 28 – Argentina’s Signature Varietals

May 5 – Pacific Northwest

May 12 – Aperitifs

May 19 – Regional Shiraz

May 26 – Dry Rosé Wines

All classes start at 7 p.m. For reservations, e-mail Christina at casswillis@yahoo.com or call 210-492-8585.

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Daily Dish: Spanish Wine Uncorked


If the delicious wines of Spain are something you’d like to learn more about, you’ll have a chance soon.

Wine 101 (Wines of Spain, Ole!) will be presented on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Copa Wine Bar, 19141 Stone Oak Parkway.

For $20, plus tip and tax, you’ll have cheese paired with the wines you taste, you might have a visiting wine “professor,” and you’ll meet other people who have the same interest in this subject that you do. Class size is limited, so call now. Call (210) 495-2672.

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