Category Archives: Andrew Chalk

Prosecco – The Pursuit of More Individualistic Wines

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by Andrew Chalk

Twenty years ago the entire sales of Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine, in the United States market amounted to less than 500 cases a year. Last year sales exceeded two million cases and that was up 27% from the previous year. This is a category that we love, but why? What is it that makes Prosecco so popular?

I tried to throw some light on that recently when Prosecco producer Mionetto sent me samples of five of their wines, from simple and inexpensive to pricier examples near the top of their line. It is fitting that Mionetto should do this as they were the producer that first shipped Prosecco in volume to the USA (in 2000).

For most of its existence here, Prosecco has been popular for two things: its competitive price versus the best known sparkling wine, Champagne (from the homonymous region in France), and as a mixer to make the Bellini cocktail. While giving the wine publicity, neither role promoted the wine as a first-class style of sparkling wine in its own right.   Continue reading

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Texas To Get a Winery Incubator

IMG_4440by Andrew Chalk

Readers in the tech. sector will be familiar with the concept of an incubator. It is a physical facility with the infrastructure and mentorship to enable nascent companies to grow. For example, it might provide legal, accounting, Internet hosting and marketing assistance. Incubators emerged  during the iTulip boom of the late 1990s but the concept has endured.

Now comes news of one Texas wine entrepreneur’s plans to open an incubator for incipient Texas wineries. Mike McHenry is managing partner of Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba, on the northwest border of the Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area (AVA). Despite its short life, the winery opened in June 2012, it has already established a reputation for soundly made, award winning wines under winemaker Penny Adams.   Continue reading

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Do The Generous Pour Now. It is a Great Summer Meal Idea

IMG_4454by Andrew Chalk

It is the middle of summer and people are away on vacation. If you are a Dallas steakhouse, how do you fill the tables? Answer, do a promotional special. Several Dallas restaurants have taken up the challenge (this is actually a great time of year to eat steak!) but one of the best is The Generous Pour currently taking place at all locations of The Capital Grille every evening of the week through August 31st. I was a guest at a recent media event at The Capital Grille where they explained it.   Continue reading

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Recent Wine Tastings

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By Andrew Chalk

2012 Tokaji Furmint, Pajzos Antaloczy Cellars,Hungary ($11)

Not the famous sweet wine of Hungary but a dry wine made from the same grape (Furmint). I had to buy it because of my experience with dry Furmint blends in Portugal last October. Dry Furmint is earthy and slightly oxidized. This one has good body and high acid making it an excellent match with a lot of food, I had it with pasta and Alfredo sauce. It stood up. Recommended.  Sigel’s. Purchased at retail.   Continue reading

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Tasting Ironstone Vineyards

IMG_4153.640x480Made from a grape created at U.C. Davis in 1948, this wine is worth looking for

by Andrew Chalk

It may be the largest California grape grower you have never heard of but John Kautz Farms has 6,500 acres of wine grapes in California, making them the sixth largest wine grape grower in the state. In terms of acreage, they are just behind household names like Gallo Vineyards and just ahead of Beringer and Sutter Home.

They sell most of the grapes, grown in the Sierra Foothills and Lodi appellations, to other winemakers but, increasingly in recent years, they have made their own wine under their Ironstone label.    Continue reading

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Viña Ventisquero: Complicated Name, Sophisticated Chilean Wine

ApaltaThe Apalta Valley, Chile’s most famous wine producing region

by Andrew Chalk

Viña Ventisquero winemaker, Felipe Tosso, came through Dallas recently and gave me a chance to taste some of his best wines. It is clear that this is a winery on clear march forward and we are going to hear a lot more about them in the next few years.    Continue reading

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