Monthly Archives: June 2011

Wine(s) of the Week: Chateau Graville-Lacoste & Marietta Old Vine Red

From the Houston Press comes this enticing recommendation from globe trotter Jeremy Parzen, who submitted this post from a strike plagued Greek airport. This wine, Chateau Graville-Lacoste, was also a Wine of the Week in the Dallas News in April – Somebody must really like this wine! And with triple-digit weather, it doesn’t take a weatherman to know value and taste go hand-in-hand.

Wine of the Week: A Bordeaux White – Chateau Graville-Lacoste

Photo by Jeremy Parzen

Winemaker Hervé Dubourdieu is widely recognized as one of the great producers of Sauternes, the “noble rot” dried-grape wine of Bordeaux, where grape growers let the fungus botrytis grow on their late-harvest fruit, thus desiccating the berries and concentrating their sugar and flavors.

But on a long, hot summer night of a Texas June, I don’t reach for Hervé’s sweet, viscous nectar, in part because its price makes it a “special occasion” wine in our home, and in part because it’s a wine that I reserve for pairing with ripe aged cheeses during the fall and winter (I’ve already consumed a lifetime’s allocation of foie gras, and so I’ll leave that classic pairing to the fat cats who like that kinda stuff).

Instead, I search out his dry Graville-Lacoste, a wine made from the same grapes that go into his top wines. In this case, the blend is predominantly Sémillon, which gives it wonderful steely minerality and bright acidity. A smaller amount of Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine a gentle aromatic character that marries well with gentle spiciness, like the freshly cracked pepper that I sprinkled over a dish of short pasta, pancetta, and peas the other night.

You’ll find this wine for less than $20 at Kroger, Central Market, Whole Foods, and Top Shelf Wine and Spirits (ed. note: Spec’s too!). And don’t be fooled by its reasonable price: The wine is as elegant as its classic Bordelaise label (which makes it one of my favorite wines to take as a gift to a dinner party).

From the Wine Curmudgeon comes this domestic field blend recommendation from the always-grounded writer, Jeff Siegel. Read on…

Wine of the week: Marietta Old Vine Red Lot Number 53

from Wine Curmudgeon by wine.curmudgeon@att.net

Twenty years ago, when the Wine Curmudgeon started writing about cheap wine, there were dozens of red wines called field blends. The term dates to the early days of California wine making, when the same vineyard was planted with different grapes and it was often difficult to tell which was which. Zinfandel might be mixed with petite sirah, which might be mixed with carignane. There were two reasons for this: First, the early days were long before DNA testing, and grapes look alike, even to experts. Second, it really didn’t matter what the grapes were, since the winemaker was trying to make red wine, not a specific kind of red wine. (See Gallo’s legendary Hearty Burgundy.)

These days, the cheap field blend is mostly gone. Consumers are leery of wine that doesn’t have a varietal name on the label (though they seem more than willing to accept a wine labeled as pinot noir that doesn’t taste like pinot noir and has 24.9 percent syrah or grenache in it). The Marietta, though, carries on — the 53 ($12, purchased) is an old-fashioned field blend, mostly zindandel. As such, it’s non-vintage, which means the grapes have been harvested in different years. Since a field blend is about blending, vintage doesn’t really make much difference.

The Marietta isn’t quite as rough as it was in the old days (a quality I missed, actually), and it was a little sweetish when I opened up the bottle. But the longer it was open, the more zinfandel-like it became, with red fruit and black pepper. There wasn’t a lot of depth, but it’s well made and solid throughout. It’s exactly the kind of wine for a Fourth of July barbecue.

Note: The 53 is a previous vintage, so you’ll probably be able to find it for as little as $9 or $10. On other hand, when I was looking for it in Dallas, some retailers wanted as much as $15. Go figure.

Dallas News: Mojito Madness – The Back Bar

In Tina Danze’s refreshing article in the Dallas Morning News about the latest craze to hit America, the Mojito, there is a back story.  Caterina Miltenberger, barchef extraordinaire, was instrumental in the creation of many of the superb recipes. Two restaurants, Villa O and Maximo, feature her artistic renditions.The whole story here (behind the paywall). Caterina’s recipes follow:

 

Villa O's Skinny Mojito - photo by Evans Caglage

Villa-O Skinny Mojito

Ingredients
8 mint leaves
1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce Monin sugar-free syrup
1-3/4 ounces Don Q Mojito Rum
Crushed ice
Club soda
Directions
Muddle mint leaves, fresh lime juice and sugar-free syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add rum. Fill shaker with ice. Shake
vigorously and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with club soda. Makes 1 serving.

 

 

The Black and Blue Marjito from Maximo - photo by Evans Caglage

Maximo Black and Blue Marjito

Ingredients
3 blackberries
5 blueberries
6 mint leaves
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1-1/2 ounces Jose Cuervo reposado tequila
1 ounce simple syrup
Crushed ice
Splash of club soda.
Directions
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the berries and mint leaves. Add lime juice, tequila, simple syrup and crushed ice and
shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and top with a splash of club soda. Makes 1 serving.

Celebrate the Red, White & Blue with this lively duo from Domaine Chandon

With a long weekend ahead and it being Monday, these innovative cocktails from Domaine Chandon sure give us something to look forward to when celebrating our hard-earned freedom.

Across the nation, Americans mark their calendars on the Fourth of July as a day of celebration. What better way to commemorate the independence of the United States than by toasting a glass of Chandon sparkling wine with friends and family? The bubbly libation truly reflects the festive and sparkling nature of this holiday.

As the wine of choice at The White House ever since Domaine Chandon was founded in 1973 – what could be more appropriate than raising a glass of Chandon, the pioneer of American sparkling wine!

Winemakers and the Michelin stared Chef at the étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon have created the patriotic Liberty Fizz cocktail and The Chandon Sparkling Wine Granite, a refreshing summer dessert which pairs perfectly with any Fourth of July BBQ meal. With Chandon, your Fourth of July will be one to remember!

The Liberty Fizz

The Liberty Fizz is a thirst-quenching blend of Chandon Blanc de Noirs, Grand Marnier and pomegranate juice that is packed with nutrients such as antioxidants. With a decadent splash of Grand Marnier and a rich red hue it’s the perfect cocktail for your celebration.

2½ oz Chandon Blanc de Noirs
½ oz Grand Marnier
½ oz fresh pomegranate juice or POM Wonderful®

Stir Grand Marnier and POM juice in a cocktail shaker. Pour into glass. Top with Chandon Blanc de Noirs. Garnish with a few pomegranate seeds or a twist of orange peel.

Chandon Sparkling Wine Granite
The light and satisfying iced treat is easy to make and beautifully served for guests to enjoy on a hot holiday weekend.

1 bottle (750mL) Chandon Brut Classic
1 3/4 cups simple syrup
1-cup sparkling water
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a large bowl or plastic container, combine the sparkling wine, simple syrup, sparkling wine and lemon juice.  Stir thoroughly.  Cover and place in the freezer until solid, approximately 5 to 6 hours. To serve, simply use a spoon or fork to scrape the ice into a martini glass or any other small stemware.

LA stories: Is that all there is?

~Posted by Alfonso Cevola~

I Love LA!

What does a guy who spends all his time with Italian wine do on vacation? Go to Montalcino or Alba, in search of great Brunello or Nebbiolo? That would make sense, but this one headed west, to Hollywood and Santa Monica. Oh, to taste the bounty of California wines, you ask? Not yet, first I had to slip into the splendor of an evening under the stars and fog and France. Yes, slumming with the French in California, then on to taste wines with one of the New World masters.

A short trip to visit family and friends and a little work involved. I had a few things to do with colleagues in LA, but took an old friend up on an invitation to dine at Melisse, a two star Michelin on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. My pal, who runs a studio in Hollywood, loves to eat and drink well, and I was more than an ample excuse to sample the fare of Chef Josiah Citrin. That and we were celebrating a huge business deal he just closed.

Melisse sommelier Brian Kalliel

“Truffles from Australia?” my pal Bruce noted. Seeing as his mother company is based out of Australia, it seemed fitting to sample the fare. But the wine was strictly French. Sommelier to the stars (and moguls) Brian Kalliel, decanted a perfect bottle of 2009 Vincent Dauvissat Premier Cru Vaillons. Crisp, rich, perfectly balanced, it marched up the hill like a champ with the first courses.

The second wine, to go with Copper River salmon and duck breast, posed a challenge. I was going for a red Burgundy, while my buddy wanted a syrah. “Why not try a Syrah blend that drinks like a Pinot Noir?” Brian suggested. Sounded good to me. So he delivered to the table a 2004 La Grange des Pères, an unexpectedly calm and mineral driven Languedoc wine. Those wines really had me going. I was beginning to feel like Guy Stout, if you catch my drift.

yes, that's a micro-planer shaving about $70 worth of rare Australian truffles

Bruce is in film – we met in Latin and photography class in High school in Palm Springs and he went on to produce memorable movies like The Matrix and Oceans 11. One of the nicest guys in any business and a long time friend. And, as mentioned before, a lover of fine food and wine. His wife Lea joined us, breaking away from her work and their new baby.

The next day I met up with a Texas friend who is doing some work with Italian restaurants in L.A. “I’m so psyched!” he said to me, “Amy Atwood is bringing Randall Grahm to taste his new releases.”

Winemaker Randall Grahm and Do Bianchi's Jeremy Parzen

Long a fan of the unconventional wine and writings of Randall, this was one of those moments when the work/ pleasure aspect of life is indistinguishable. After a mid blowing array of new releases, we set down for an Italian lunch at Sotto, one of the hottest new Italian eateries in L.A.

After that I did something I have wanted to do for years, I visited the Hollywood Forever cemetery. And while many of the great stars and behind the scenes people of the film industry and entombed there, my goal was to visit one of my childhood babysitters. Man I miss that voice. His gravestone pretty much tells the story.

Have a great weekend, everybody! Drive safe.

White Wines that Crush the Heat: Wednesday’s Wine of the Week Round-up

-Posted by Alfonso Cevola-

german riesling.jpg

Photo by Jeremy Parzen, Ph.D for The Houston Press

It’s hot across Texas and we’re looking for ways to quench our thirst. Two wine writers, Rebecca Murphy and Jeremy Parzen chime in with solid advice to beat the heat. Go get ‘em!

Wine of the week: Suavia, Soave Classico Superiore DOCG

Wednesday June 15, 2011
Source: Dallas Morning News
By: Rebecca Murphy

The foundations of Suavia Winery were established in the late 1800s. The Tessari family estate is in the Fittà hills that face the hills of Soave. At the time, the family sold its grapes to the local cooperative. In 1982, Giovanni Tessari and his wife, Rosetta, decided to keep their grapes to make their own wine. They built a winery and named their business Suavia, which they say is the old name for the town and region of Soave. Today, the winery is in the hands of four Tessari sisters.

Judging from this wine, the women know their business. The wine has complex floral notes of chamomile and melon, with mineral aromas with a whisper of almond. In the mouth it is rich with melon and citrus flavors and finishes with mouthwatering acidity. Try it with grilled chicken or pork with a pesto sauce.

Wine of the Week: Riesling, the Perfect Poolside Wine – 2009 Riesling Blue Slate by Dr. Loosen

Wednesday June 14, 2011
Source: The Houston Press – Eating our Words
By: Jeremy Parzen

​If you’ve been following along recently here at “Wine Time” on the Eating Our Words blog, you know that my credo and top criteria for picking wines are balanced alcohol and bright acidity.

These words-to-live-and-drink-by go hand-in-hand with a motto often repeated at our house: no wine without food, no food without wine. In my view, wine is a food, and if it overpowers my victuals with alcohol, you aren’t going to see it on my dinner table. (By the way, for those of you wondering whether or not there are wines appropriate to be served at breakfast, there are indeed such wines. When the cool weather returns and the holidays approach, I’ll devote a post to my favorite breakfast wines.)

With the arrival of higher temperatures, I begin to pay extra attention to the alcohol content of our wines. In the summertime, we tend to eat saltier foods (grilling by the pool, anyone?), which, along with the heat, invariably make me thirstier.

This is just one of the reasons that Riesling — made in the German style, whether from Europe or the U.S. — is one of my favorite poolside wines.

Photo by Jeremy Parzen, Ph.D for The Houston Press

​ Last night, we opened a 2009 Riesling Blue Slate by Dr. Loosen that I had picked up at a local retailer for less than $20. And we paired it with frise, a type of bruschetta that I had brought back from my recent trip to Apulia, topped with olive oil-cured tuna, cherry tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and kosher salt. (If you want to make this at home and don’t have any frise, just toast some stale bread on the grill, in the oven, or even in the toaster.)

At 7.5 percent alcohol (yes, just 7.5 percent!), this wine is ideal for summer and sipping by the pool. And it has what my wife Tracie P likes to call “tongue-splitting” acidity: the “zing” that you get in this wine makes it a wonderful match for a wide variety of foods, from grilled vegetables to fresh soft cheeses (try it with real buffalo’s milk mozzarella, for example), from potato chips and dips (guacamole and Riesling, anyone? hell yeah!) to a quesadilla topped with my favorite store-bought canned salsa, the “Casera” by Herdez (I don’t know why, but it always tastes better from the can as opposed to the jar).

And the best part is that, with such bright acidity, this wine (with screw-cap enclosure) will keep well in the fridge overnight. So, I know that I can enjoy another glass from the same bottle the next evening as a light aperitif before dinner.

For less than $20, the Dr. Loosen second-tier Kabinett “Blue Slate” is always a great bet from a time-tested producer — one of the greats from the Mosel. The Dr.’s entry-level Riesling can clock in at less than $11 and is always a go-to when I need a thirst-quenching, crowd-pleasing quaffer.

Tracie P and I still can’t afford a house with a pool, but at $11 we can afford the wine.

Latinos and Wine: From the Farm to the Table

- Wine and the Latino Century –

This is an exciting time in Texas and California for what some are calling the Latino Century. Long the backbone of the agricultural work force, economic advances, be it ever so slowly, are finding middle-class Latinos looking to fitness and the food/wine culture as pursuits towards healthy lifestyles.

In Texas the dominant religion has shifted from Southern Baptist to Roman Catholic, and along with the cultural taboos surrounding wine and spirits are dislodging.

Some experts attribute it to the influx, the movement of the populations from Central America and Mexico to Border States like California and Texas. Those are subjects for economists and demography experts, but the reality on the ground is that Latinos, whether they be from Mexico or Central America, are embracing wine.

Several blogging colleagues have written about this recently, Russ Kane and Jeff Siegel. Excerpts below:

Russ Kane writing in the popular Vintage Texas blog:

Part of what’s pushing the increase in consumption is sheer demographics. Hispanics accounted for more than half of the U.S. population increase over the last decade. The other factor: a socioeconomic and cultural shift among the more established Latino generations. More at: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7585239.html

Natalia Kolyesnikova, assistant director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute told attendees at this year’s meeting of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association in March that the institute last year conducted a preliminary study, convening three focus groups to answer questions about how, when, where and why Hispanic consumers drink wine. The responses were diverse, suggesting that the state’s Hispanic population IS NOT  a monolith.

Read Russ’s complete post HERE

Wine Curmudgeon Jeff Siegel laments the old-school approach to marketing wine to Hispanics:

Wine’s new demographic: The Wine Curmudgeon, in one of his other lives, used to write a lot about marketing, and marketing in the past decade meant selling products to the U.S.’ fastest-growing ethic group, Hispanics. (Ask me why so many Spanish-language ads have grandmothers in them.) So what’s the newest advice for wine markets? Target Hispanics. Better late than never, I suppose. Of course, since the wine business does such a lousy job of marketing to everyone, why should we expect it to be current in this phase of its approach?

Before she left Texas for the cooler shores of the Pacific Northwest, Hanna Raskin of the Dallas Observer noted in March that Texas wineries are looking into marketing to local populations as well:

Hispanics represent a growing share of Texas’ wine drinking population, but wineries are still grappling with how to pitch their products to them.

“No information is available about the Hispanic wine market,” Natalia Kolyesnikova, assistant director of the Texas Wine Marketing Research Institute told attendees at last week’s annual meeting of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association.

The institute last year conducted a preliminary study, convening three focus groups to answer questions about how, when, where and why Hispanic consumers drink wine. The responses were wildly diverse, suggesting wine sellers err in treating the state’s Hispanic population as a monolith.

Major wine companies have already begun marketing to Hispanic drinkers, and Texas wineries are eager to emulate them. According to Kolyesnikova, Hispanics represent 14 percent of the state’s wine market, and that number’s expected to increase. While only 12 percent of Hispanics consumed domestic table wine in 1998, 22 percent of Hispanics did so in 2003.

Read Hanna’s full post HERE

Nielsen Reports say the Latino population in the USA looks like this, reinforcing that this is not a monolithic population with a monolithic solution:

With cities like Laredo that are 94% Latino and El Paso which is 89% Latino and San Antonio which is 58% , Texas is at the forefront of the Latino Century and wine. And wine is going to play a big part in the developing population in Texas and the USA. The real question is if wine and spirit marketers can rise out of the old cliche’s to reach these newer, more diverse populations and keep them coming back week after week, year after year.

 

The Stout Report: From Bordeaux to Bat City, Monsieur Lapin is feeling the heat

Ed. note: while the 2010 Bordeaux futures campaign is heating up in France and spreading like wildfire across the world, our very own Master Sommelier, Guy Noel Stout, reminisces from Bat City on his recent trip to Bordeaux. It looks like the futures market isn’t the only thing feeling the heat these days. Read on…

(L to R) Patrick and Marie Pierre Rolland, Franck Bijon, Guy Noel Stout and Mario Rios Vega at Chateau Larose-Trintaudon

Not long ago I was sitting at the bar at Wink Restaurant in Austin and having a glass of Chateau Larose-Trintaudon and saw rabbit on the blackboard menu. I’d recently had rabbit in April at Chateau Larose Trintaudon in the Medoc, Bordeaux. Deja vu…

We had arrived in Bordeaux the day before the start of En Premier, the invitational barrel tasting of the 2010 vintage. The tastings are for the trade and press only. It is the weekend of Portes Ouvertes, or open door, in the Medoc. 150 chateaux open their doors to the public. Most chateaux are open only to the trade and by appointment only, making this a special weekend for local residence. The locals only get to view the gates of many of these chateaux and to have a chance to taste and visit is rare.

I see more and more chateaux opening up to the tourist trade, with big name chateaux like Prieure-Lichine, Lynch-Bages, Larose-Trintaudon and Beychevelle offering a similar experience to what you’ll find in Australia and Napa Valley style tours.

It's a dog-eat-dog business - it is - the world of Bordeaux Futures

Not to be left behind by their brothers on the “Left Bank”, producers on the “Right Bank” in Bordeaux’s St. Emilion region open their doors too. one group of 6 owners of the Corbin estate, once a single property in St. Emilion, led by Francois Despagne, hold an open house to the public for a limited time for tours and tastings to showcase the extraordinarily ancient estate of Corbin.

At Larose-Trintaudon they had a tent set up outside the winery with a chef selling gastronomic plates to those who stop by to taste. They have several hundred guest in the three days of the Open Door weekend. There were a few cars being loaded with cases of wine as we took the tour and tasting prior to our dinner at the chateau.

Larose Trintaudon is an Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois, or a cut above, and is one of the best value wines from Bordeaux. They sell for under $25 for even the best vintages. Check out the 2005, while it’s still out there.

Back to the rabbit

During our dinner that night with the director of the chateau, Patrick Rolland, we had a discussion on how rabbits had become a major pest. They eat the young shoots just after bud break, reducing the vine to a stick with no growth, seriously reducing the crop in some sections of their vineyards. Rabbit have lost their predators with the elimination of the fox in the region from over hunting. We know about wildlife management in Texas. We are serious about preserving our natural resources.

I grew up eating rabbit and thought I should help our host and requested, if possible, rabbit for dinner the next night.

Mr. Rolland checked with Chef Maria, of the estate, and she was excited at the request.

Chef Maria and Guy Noel sharing an aperitif

Chef Maria, a charming Portuguese woman who, with her husband have worked at the Chateau for over 20 years, knew how to prepare rabbit. Prior to dinner the next evening after a long day of barrel tasting, I stuck my head in the kitchen and the aroma was incredible. Maria showed me two large rabbits roasting in the oven, covered with Dijon and stuffed with black peppered sausage. OMG, she served it with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

 

Back in Austin staring at the rabbit tenderloins on my plate brought it all back to me. It’s amazing what a dish can inspire when you’re traveling and just sitting at the bar of a restaurant, grabbing a meal. The rabbit was delicious. Cheers, Guy…

Overlooking Larose-Trintaudon's vineyards from the chateau

 

 

2-fer: From Paella 2 Chicken ‘Sghetti ~ 2 Wines 2 Beat the Summer Heat

-Posted by Alfonso Cevola-

Down here in Texas, the thermometer is already reaching triple digits – from Dallas to Houston to San Antonio to Austin and all parts of the “country” of Texas, summer is here.  Two wines that you might want to acclimate to are the Paso a Paso Verdejo and the Wine Guerrilla Sonoma Zinfandel. Read on from local bloggers Jeff Siegel and Jeremy Parzen who are spreading the word about these fine wines. Go git ‘em!

 

Wine of the week: Paso a Paso 2009

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Source: The Wine Curmudgeon
Author: Jeff Siegel

The Wine Curmudgeon needed two wines to go with the paella he was making (and which didn’t turn out well at all, a story for another time). I knew which red I wanted, and which will show up here as a wine of the week one of these days. I wasn’t sure about the white; all I knew was that I wanted something that I had not tried before and that it should cost $10.

Which is how the Paso ($10, purchased) ended up in my shopping cart. I didn’t know the producer, Bodegas Volver, but I knew the importer, Jorge Ordonez, who was one of the first to being quality Spanish wine to the U.S. The price was right, and the Paso was made with verdejo, which makes seafood-friendly wines that are usually more expensive.

Call it wine-buying roulette, and yet another example of why wine is so much fun. I took a chance and won. The Paso was everything I hoped it would be and a little more — fresh and lively with lots of citrus-style acid and stone fruit flavors. It wasn’t as complex as a pricier verdejo, but it wasn’t supposed to be.

This is exactly the kind of wine that I wish more California producers appreciated: Well-priced and well-made, and just the thing to drink with dinner when you want wine but don’t want to spend a lot of money or endure wine-pairing hell.

Odd Pair: Chicken Spaghetti and Zinfandel

5/20/11
Source: The Houston Press
Author: Jeremy Parzen

wine guerilla.jpg​There is pleasure in life… and then there is guilty pleasure. You know the kind. The type of indulgence that you are embarrassed to admit to your friends and colleagues… certain forms of gratification best enjoyed — ahem, how shall I put this? — whilst alone.

For me one such delight is chicken spaghetti, a dish that I had never had before moving to the south three years ago and a dish that breaks every rule of the holy canon of Italian gastronomy (where I have been known to pray): overcooked Ronzoni long noodles layered with chunks of boiled chicken, drowned in fatty stock and then topped with Velveeta before being baked until slightly crunchy and browned.

What wine did I reach for to quench the thirst inspired by the sinful, delightful mass of savory goo?

​ I had picked up the 2008 Sonoma Zinfandel by Wine Guerrilla at my local wine merchant for less than $20, and I couldn’t think of any better grape to pair with my decadent meal: It was clean and fresh, grapey, juicy, and fruity (think raspberry and red berry fruit), and it had very little tannin — ideal for the soggy, mushy, savory flavors of the casserole.

Like “Napa Cab” or the Merlot so despised by Miles in the movie Sideways, California Zinfandel has received a bad rap in recent years as being passé or unsophisticated. I believe the reputation is more the result of market saturation than it is an indication of the overarching quality of these wines from the west, which tend to be earnest, plump, easy-to-drink, reasonably priced quaffers.

And after all, however much of a wine snob I may be, who am I to put pearls before wine?

Italian (Wine) Expo a Huge Success in Houston

Joseph Kemble - the "wine man" for the highly successful Italian Expo held every year in Houston

The Italian Expo in Houston was a huge success for the third year in a row. Sponsored by the Italian American Chamber of Commerce and Specs, It’s the next best thing to Vinitaly without having to go there. Upwards of 40,000 people passed through the halls a day this past weekend.

Huge kudos to Joseph Kemble and the fine folks at Specs and the Italian American Chamber of Commerce for another great Italian Expo in Houston. And a huge Grazie to Italian wine partners Banfi, Baroncini, Contadi Castaldi (and Bellavista), Mezzacorona, Petra, TMT USA, Winebow, Zaccagnini and Zonin,  many who made the trek from Italy and all over the USA to show the Italian wine love to Joseph and his company. Teamwork makes the dream work!

More shots below:

 

Giulio Galli TMT USA VP shows the SuperTuscan wines from Petra to Collectors looking to cellar fine Tuscan wines

Jim Pettit pours a favorite Sicilian red while his wife gives her feet needed and earned break. Standing for 10 hours on concrete is tough work, even when the wine is flowing

Maura McNeany of Winebow proudly displaying a Tiefenbrunner white with one of her volunteers

Elie Massoud, of Euro Mid in Houston toasts the event with a stunning Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Rose from Sara Pedrali of TMT USA

(L to R) Alberto Chioni, the international sales manager for Petra, Contadi Castaldi and Bellavista, Alfonso Cevola, the corporate import director for Glazer's and Monica Marcucci, export manager for Baronicini share a festive moment in the TMT USA booths

Tiffany Ross pleasing the crowds with the Zonin Prosecco - which is spreading like wildfire in Texas!

The ever popular wines from Banfi had Italian wine lovers lined up from the moment it opened to the last bell!

Tony Laveglia showed the new Zaccagnini wines including the stunning 2010 Cerasuolo of Montepulciano

Italian wine and food lovers came from near and far. Here, Giulio Galli of TMT USA shares a moment with his friend Paul Di Carlo of Jimmy's from Dallas

 

 

Caterina Miltenberger, Award-Winning Mixologist Wows D.C. Crowd

(L-R) Robert Gold (Professional Bartenders & Servers), Caterina Miltenberger and Andy Rickenbach (bartender) Photo by Doug DeMark

Washington, D.C.—Renowned mixologist Caterina Miltenberger showcased her award-winning cocktails at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s 10th Annual Toast to Congress reception last night in Washington, D.C. Miltenberger is Corporate Mixologist for Glazer’s Wholesale Distributors, a member company of WSWA, based in Dallas.

Miltenberger traveled to Washington, D.C., to share her original cocktail recipes that she created for WSWA’s inaugural “Wholesaler Iron Mixologist” Competition at the organization’s 68th Annual Convention & Exposition in Orlando in April. Miltenberger stole the show as she won two of the three categories in addition to best of show. The competition challenged six mixologists from WSWA member companies to create cocktails with a secret ingredient announced at the start of the competition. Mixologists worked from the same ingredients and brands from their respective portfolios.

Among the drinks that Miltenberger mixed for the D.C. crowd included the Passion Gimlet (Best Long Drink) and the Sao Paulo Batida (Best Dessert Drink), both winners at the Wholesaler Iron Mixologist competition. Miltenberger also showcased a third drink, Pom & Circumstance, a champagne aperitif to kick off the night. The keys to Miltenberger’s creative cocktails that she featured during the event included using fresh ingredients and a variety of top liquor brands, including Don Q Rum, Effen Cucumber Vodka, New Amsterdam Gin, Sobieski Karamel Vodka, Maker’s 46 and Moët & Chandon Champagne.

“It was exciting for me to share the winning cocktails, plus the aperitif, with the crowd last night,” Miltenberger said. However, Miltenberger added, “It is a much different atmosphere when you are creating cocktails from scratch in front of a panel of judges. During the competition, I was in the zone and ‘in it to win it.’ Last night’s event allowed me to share with the crowd my thought process that went in to making the drinks and answer questions they had about creating cocktails of their own.”

Miltenberger’s passion for entertaining and her innate ability in combining spirits, essences, foods and flavors together comes from her first generation Sicilian-American heritage. Growing up in the restaurant business also sparked her interest in the hospitality industry. Now 18 years in the hospitality industry, she has forged a reputation as one of Dallas’ most well-known mixologists, captivating audiences with her refined knowledge of spirits and trend-setting cocktails.

WSWA member wholesaler companies are well-known for their logistical expertise, but many do not know about other aspects of their businesses, such as brand building, creating and designing drink menus, and of course, employing corporate mixologists and sommeliers to educate restaurants, bars and the public about the latest trends in the beverage alcohol industry.

Click here for Miltenberger’s drink recipes.

Full release here