I remember when Chilean wine first hit the U.S. market in the 1980s. This South American spindle of a country came to the game with a winemaking climate as perfect as any in the world, low land and labor costs, and a small domestic market that meant there was an export-driven culture.
They took what sold: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Chardonnay and Napa Sauvignon and just re-did it down in Chile. Even with the costs of shipping through the Panama Canal, Chilean wines were cheap and cheerful when they arrived in stores and on restaurant wine lists in the eastern and central U.S. It was a case of “anything you can do, I can do cheaper”. This strategy was effective at attaining a foothold in the U.S. market, the country’s primary export destination, but over time the Chilean wine industry started to experience the effects of outside competition and the country’s own economic success. Twenty years of virtually unbroken economic growth under a new democratic government meant that labor costs started to rise. Even more of a shock was the appreciation of the peso relative to the dollar. Simultaneously, competition increased from a re-emergent Argentinean wine industry bolstered by a two-thirds currency devaluation following a currency crisis in 2001. Australia also flooded the low end of the U.S. wine market with an endless succession of ‘critter’ wines. Continue reading
by Ramir Camu
This past week we were treated to a classic rivalry between two South American powerhouses, Chile vs Argentina, and no, I’m not talking about soccer. A wine tasting to remember held at Salum, the fantastic Uptown staple headed by Chef/Owner Abraham Salum, featured wines from a Father and Son team of Montes Wines from Chile and Kaiken Wines from Argentina. Continue reading
The 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
by Brian Wall
Twisted Pine Brewery makes some truly good beers. Whether it be the Hoppy Boy IPA, the Rocky Mountain Wheat or the Billy’s Chilies, there are no beers of theirs that I have tried that I would not happily drink again. This time around though, the beer sampled was the “world’s hottest beer” that they brew- Ghost Face Killah.
There two beers I truly enjoy, aside from free and cold, and those are IPA’s and chili beers. The chili beer niche is very slim and not many breweries offer them. Granted, some brewers decide to add some mild or even bold chilies to their stouts or porters but heat is often steered clear by most. It could be because the capsicum can detract from the malt and grain blend or the big question of what hop strain to use is not very pronounced. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
You know it is Hatch Chile Season when you smell fresh roasted peppers everywhere, and it drives you to the nearest grocery to nab a few pounds. Some to cook with now, more to freeze for those barren chile months in the dead of winter. These special peppers grown in New Mexico are Anaheim’s all grown up. They benefit from the soil and sun only spied upon in the New Mexican heat, and this season they have a bounty.
One event you may not want to miss in Southlake uses the chile as its main ingredient. Central Market has called upon several local chefs to compete Iron Chef-style in a battle to out-spice the competition. Continue reading
by Steven Doyle
Last evening Kent Rathbun held one of his famous dinners, this time surrounded by the people from Patron who offered some amazing pairings with Rathbun’s surprisingly unusual food. Walking into the restaurant I was thinking ‘Mexican’ to match up to Patron Tequila, and that would certainly work for Abacus which serves up world cuisine. But instead of just going to the immediate south of the border, we were treated to full-on pan-Latin cuisine, which took elements from Spain, South America and yes, Mexico. Continue reading