by Andrew Chalk
What do you expect from a steak house? A litany of classic cuts (filet, ribeye, strip, porterhouse/t-bone) and derivative sides like button mushrooms and baked potatoes? Maybe with a giant monolithic whole carrot to add color?
What if you have been there, done that, and become somewhat more demanding. Want a choice of grass-fed beef? Dry-aged corn-fed beef? Sides that are as creative as the entrées in most farm-to-table restaurants? Charcuterie that is made in house? Housemade mustard and chutney? A 300-selection wine list that includes Texas selections from Duchman Family Winery and The Vineyard at Florence? Local beers from Deep Ellum Brewing Company? To turn to credentials, how about a chef who Staged at The French Laundry (and only turned down the job that was offered because of the prohibitive cost of living in Napa Valley, California). How about also staging at Alinea and working for a year at TRU in Chicago? Continue reading
by Andrew Chalk
“Texas Fine Wine” is a new association of wineries in the state formed to promote quality Texas wine. Its founding members are four of Texas’ best wineries: Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery and Pedernales Cellars. The founders plan to get the organization up and running (mainly through through promotional events for the trade, public and media) in the first year, and then open up membership to all Texas wineries with a quality-oriented philosophy.
That philosophy will, of course, include a commitment to use Texas grapes whenever possible. More significantly, it will include a commitment to label wines with the correct place of grape origin. For example, if a Texas winery sells a wine made from California grapes, they would label it ‘American’, consistent with Federal wine labeling law. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that a wine producer group in Texas has come out so unambiguously as a body in favor of honest labeling of Texas wine.
Writers and consumers have pressed for the industry to take this approach for years. Many individual wineries have adopted the practice already. It is a sign of the maturing of the industry that a producer organization can now endorse it. Continue reading