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Showing posts from 2022

Tasting through Time with Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock is located in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. It was  originally established in 1980 by Hack and Stella Wilson on the site of a 185 acre golf course. Currently, t he winery  focuses on intelligent and sustainable grape farming combined with a soft touch in the cellar from winemaker, Elizabeth Vianna.  I had the opportunity to taste with Elizabeth Vianna earlier this week at a private event hosted by another Houston wine writer, Jeff Kralik, who writes under the name of  The Drunken Cyclist .  Vianna's goal is to allow the unique Stags Leap District soil and the fruit it produces to be showcased in distinctive wines that display a true sense of place.  The Stag's Leap AVA is a smaller and cooler appellation within Napa Valley that is known for creating Cabernet Sauvignon wines that combine both power and grace in the glass. The wines come from estate grown grapes which are hand harvested before being vinified in small lots from the forty distinct vineyard bl

Ten Pinot Noir Wines to Drink Now

In the December issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I recommend some of my top scoring American Pinot Noir wines from a blind tasting hosted last month by Houston wine blogger, Jeff Kralik . The line up of American west coast Pinot Noir wines. Host and wine blogger, Jeff Kralik aka The Drunken Cyclist.

A Beginner's Guide to the Wines of Bordeaux

For the November issue of Galveston Monthly , I wrote a guide to help wine lovers find their favorites at the price point they need.

Nocera - A Native Grape from Sicily

Nocera is a native grape from Sicily. It comes from the Messina province which is located in the northeast. Nocera is a quality red wine grape that is most known as a blender in the red wines of the Faro DOC. I had the opportunity to taste some pure versions (which according to Wine Searcher are rare) this week at a trade tasting held at Roma Restaurant in Houston. Wine production in the region dates back to the 14th Century BC, however, phylloxera decimated the vineyard area in 1881 leaving it at a fraction of its original size. The area boasts a Mediterranean climate with sunny days and coastal breezes, moderate rainfall, and mild winters, all ideal for grape growing. The Nocera grape is a bluish/black color and has a thick skin which allows for the production of structured wines with prominent tannins which are balanced by good acidity. High alcohol is common. Red wines produced from the grapes are an intense ruby color with purple highlights and aromas and flavors of dark fruits a

Texas Vintage Report 2022

October is Texas Wine Month!  In this month's issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I take a look at how the harvest went and what the expectations are for the 2022 vintage.  

The Ultimate Zinfandel Experience - ZinEX

In the September issue of Galveston Monthly, I'm celebrating California Wine Month with the Golden State's signature grape, Zinfandel. I am also sharing information on the ultimate experience for Zinfandel lovers, ZinEX, get more information on that event at

Tasting with Wild Child Winery's Jonathon Honefenger

One of Houston’s most highly regarded wine guys, Jonathon Honefenger, who moved through the ranks from sommelier to sales while living here, has fully transitioned into a winemaker extraordinaire. He and his fiancée, Madeline, moved to Portland, Oregon in 2020 to pursue their dreams of making wine. After immersing himself in winemaking classes, helping out with harvests, and learning the ins and outs of grape growing, he was back in town last week pouring his latest releases at Roegels Barbecue and showcasing their great quality along with their ability to pair with some of Texas’ favorite food. I have it on good authority that the wines will be available at Houston Wine Merchant soon. Look for Wild Child Winery 's Riesling, Gamay, and Pinot Noir.

The Cuvée Collective Hosted their Grand Opening on Houston's West Side

Guests enjoying a wine tasting at the Grand Opening of the Cuvée Collective. Ginny Endecott, a favorite wine instructor at The Texas Wine School , has turned her interest in wine into a new business with her grand opening this weekend of The Cuvée Collective on Houston’s west side. The Cuvée Collective offers a wide variety of wine storage solutions for Houston oenophiles to safely store their vino collection while also providing access to beautiful social spaces and unique event rooms. Endecott hopes to create a wine community on this more underserved side of Houston. Members can enjoy entertaining friends with their favorite wines in the communal spaces, at the tasting bar, or they can reserve the more luxe private rooms to treat their guests. With 6,000 square feet of chilled storage space, there is room for a large community of collectors to come together, grow, and share their love of the grape in the glass. The Cuvée Collective is located near I-10 & the Beltway on Upland Dr

Madame Zéro - A Galveston BOI Introduces His Elegant New Brand

As seen in the current issue of Galveston Monthly magazine.  Mathew Massey, a Galveston native, introduces his new brand of Premier Cru, single village Champagne, Madame Zéro , to the island's sparkling wine lovers.    

Spain's Rioja Wine Region

In the July issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I delve into the sub-regions of the highly acclaimed Rioja region and recommend some high quality producers.

The New Sub-Regions of Willamette Valley

In the June 2022 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine, I explore the new sub AVAs and what makes each unique. 

Aromatic White Wines

Aromatic white wines for spring and beyond are the focus of the May issue of Galveston Monthly magazine with wine recommendations coming from an array of regions including classics like German Riesling and Gewurztraminer from Alsace along with some new world wines that are not to be missed.

Pinot Gris - One Grape's Journey

As seen in the current issue of Galveston Monthly magazine. 

Roma hosts its first in-person Winemaker Dinner

ROMA  welcomed the new season with its first in-person winemaker dinner on Thursday night featuring the wines of Castello di Volpaia with special guest, winery owner and winemaker Federica Stianti. This is the first time since the shutdown in 2020 that Roma has had a visiting winemaker in-house for a wine dinner. The evening began with a fresh Italian white wine chosen by wine director Jeremy Parzen as, unfortunately, the Maremma Vermentino produced by Volpaia was unavailable for the dinner. This aperitif wine was the greeting as guests arrived and were directed back to the private party room for this exclusive dinner.  Parzen introduced Federica of the famed Chianti Classico winery which is located in the heart of the region and she introduced the dinner guests to the beauty of her home through her family's wines. Several attendees had been on Roma's Zoom wine dinner hosted during the shutdown in 2020 and had fond memories of virtually traveling Italy with Roma from their hom

The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition Winners

This past Sunday, Taste of Italy - Houston held The Villa Sandi Houston Sommelier Competition at the Hilton Post Oak in collaboration with the Italian American Chamber of Commerce . The competition was orchestrated to help local sommeliers hone their both their service and test taking skills while showcasing their knowledge of all things wine. Competitors started with a deductive tasting and theory exam and concluded with a table service exam. The winners were announce on Monday morning at the opening of the Taste of Italy - Houston. Tony Elsinga won the top prize of $750 along with a trip to Italy. Mark Fusco was the first runner up also winning $750 and and Carlos Rosas was the second runner up earning a $500 prize. Each winner also was a gifted a jerobaum bottle of Villa Sandi Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  The competition was originally conceived by Jaime Deleon , the Adult Beverage Sales Manager for Kroger's Houston Division and an Advanced Sommelier in the Court of Mast

Experience All of Chianti

In the March issue of Galveston Monthly , I share some info about wines from the Chianti region recently gleaned from a tasting and seminar hosted by the Italian American Chamber of Commerce in Houston at The Parador in January along with some recommended producers. 

"The Undiscovered Wines of Mexico" - A Wine Dinner at Hugo's

The Third Course Barbacoa paired with the Pazo Luna Syrah and the Las Nubes Red Blend. Houston showed off its multi-faceted shine on Wednesday night at Hugo’s where Beverage Director Sean Beck led guests through a crash course on the wines of Mexico focusing on some of the country’s lesser known regions.These undiscovered wines of Mexico were beautifully paired with the authentic Mexican cuisine for which the restaurant is famous. Guests to this exclusive wine dinner were offered a choice of sangria or a margarita upon arrival and ceviche verde and taquitos de pollo on which to snack. The group was friendly and the majority in attendance were all fans and frequent diners at the H-town Restaurant Group establishments. Most were also frequent attendees of the virtual wine and whiskey dinners and tastings that Backstreet Cafe has hosted throughout the pandemic. H-Town Beverage Director, Sean Beck entertaining the table. Once the group was fully seated, Beck took center stage as he poured

Drink Fantastique this February

As seen in the February issue of Galveston Monthly magazine. In this month's issue we explore good reasons to drink wine in February and offer some suggestions on some wines from France to make the month even more fantastique. 

First Sip: Stella's Wine Bar at The Post Oak

An early arrival on a Tuesday afternoon allowed for a quieter setting to enjoy wine with friends. In the lobby at The Post Oak. Uptown has become even more chic with the opening of Stella’s Wine Bar at the The Post Oak Hotel . This new concept features a highly skilled staff serving up satiating sips in a contemporary setting along with a more rustic covered patio for relaxed imbibing. Upon entering the main entrance of the hotel, turn left and stroll to the end of the hallway in order to pass through the door that leads to this intimate wine lovers world. Inside, there is a bar and a limited number of tables with room for around 30 people. The interior seats bask under the soft glow of the refrigerated display cases flush with wine and charcuterie, the space feels warm and inviting with classic dark wood tables and finishes. Outside, the patio has a casual vibe with a large olive tree poised to grow through the opening in the roof with comfortable seating that encourages lingering.