Looking to treat yourself to imaginative wine pairings with world-class cuisine? The Omni Barton Creek Wine & Dine series has monthly offerings that will do just that!
Just a 15-minute Uber ride from lively downtown Austin, Texas, is the pampering luxury of the Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa. Set within the beauty of the Lone Star capital’s expansive Hill Country, the resort is nestled away on 4,000 acres of secluded property and features four distinct golf courses, tennis courts, a relaxing spa as well as swimming pools, a fitness center, 309 guest rooms and 43,000 square feet of meeting space.
But it is not just a place to escape for a weekend — although I would certainly recommend doing so — but offers incredible cuisine under the direction of Executive Chef André Natera and his talented staff.
Most recently a star in the Dallas restaurant scene at Village Kitchen and Toko V, Chef Natera moved to Austin to join Omni Barton Creek in April 2014. Another Wine Blog joined his fan club a couple of weeks ago during a wine weekend event coordinated by the fabulous Dallas Wine Chick herself Melanie Ofenloch with Sharon Chicks (a cool Chick in her own right) at the Omni. A highlight of the weekend was the afternoon wine and food pairing event set in the private room within the 8212 Wine Bar & Grill. Guiding us through a blind tasting was Tim Hollaway with Glazer’s D&E Fine Wine Group, who, together with Chef Natera gave us a peek at what you can expect to enjoy at one of the upcoming monthly events!
Our Omni Barton Creek Wine and Dine Experience
For our wine and dine experience, Chef Natera treated us to the following decadent selections:
Wine #1 was a very pale straw in color with notes of green apple, a hint of honeysuckle and a whiff of petrol with an oily mouthfeel a crisp acidity. I correctly identified the wine as a Grüner Veltliner but couldn’t pinpoint the region. Surprisingly, it was from Edna Valley AVA in San Luis Obispo, California. The winery is Zocker. Very affordable for the retail buyer, you can find out more here.
Seared Branzino, Artichoke Barigoule, Preserved Lemon vinaigrette
Branzino is a European seabass. It is primarily an ocean-dwelling fish that sometimes enters brackish and fresh waters. You may see it identified as Mediterranean seabass, loup de mer, robalo, lubina, spigola, branzino, or bronzino. It was delicate, flaky and beautifully prepared.
Wine #2 was easy to identify: Light golden pale straw with a nose of petrol and lemon with a tiny bit of floral. It was a Dry Riesling 2013 from Lemelson Vineyards in Willamette Valley. 12.5% alcohol by volume, it’s another great value wine for the retail consumer, who can find it here.
Mushroom Tortellini, Chives, Butter
Wine #3 was tough to figure out, even for seasoned winos like Thea Dwelle, Liza Swift, Melanie and me. It was brambly with jammy red fruit. Deep purple core faded to a lighter garnet rim: it had a silky, sexy mouth feel with medium tannins and a pleasant finish. This was a dry red wine from the province of Brindisi. An ancient grape of Italy, the Susumaniello is found only in the Italian region of Apulia. A 2008 study found its DNA type close to a Sangiovese as well as 10 other Italian grape varieties. Experts think it is likely that the grape is a crossing of Sangiovese with another, still-to-be-identified grape. All of that to tell you it was delicious. This one was from Masseria Li Veli in Salento, and is called “Askos. ” If you can find it retail this wine from Puglia in Italy’s “heel” it will cost you around $20.
Dry Aged Steak, Pommes Puree, Cippolini, Thyme – Truffle Sauce
What is a Texas meal without steak? This one was dry-aged with lovely caramelized Cippolini and truffle sauce. The wine was an earthy lovely, deep purple with Rainer cherry, notes of bacon and other smoked meats. Easy to identify as a Côtes du Rhône, practically a staple in our house, this one was the Perrin Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2011, a retail bargain at under $15.
Chocolate Tart, Caramel Creameaux
Our final pairing was a decadence of chocolate and caramel. Chocolate and caramel does not typically lend itself to a wine pairing — in our house we would probably opt for Bourbon — but if wine is a must, Champagne goes with EVERYTHING. Our hosts chose the well-known Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.
The Wines Revealed!
Wine and Dine Series at Omni Barton Creek
Want to enjoy something equally spectacular? The first dinner is set for this evening and will feature Niman Ranch, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s pioneering brands of free-range meats raised by small family farmers committed to sustainable practices. 30 percent of tonight’s proceeds will be donated to the Niman Ranch Next Generation Scholarship, awarded to students seeking degrees in agriculture.
Next month’s dinner is February 29th, the Leap Year day traditionally set aside for women to do the asking (although in 2016, who stands on old-school ceremonies). To complement the theme, Chef Alice Gonzalez, most recently Executive Sous Chef at Morimoto Napa prior to joining the Omni, will wow guests with a Coast to Coast Wine & Dine experience with the following menu.
Coast to Coast Wine & Dine
Pumpernickel Crusted Smoked Salmon
Root Vegetable Soup
French Onion Soup
Beef Broth, Compte, Croutons
Duck Egg Raviolo
Cauliflower, Duck Confit
Braised Short Rib
Sticky Rice, Pickles
Dirty Chai Ice Cream Sandwich
The limited-seat, Coast to Coast Wine and Dine Culinary Event will begin at 6:00 p.m. Cost for the dinner is $85 per person plus tax and gratuity, with wine available for purchase by the glass or by the bottle. Reserve your seat for this or future events by calling (512) 329-7906.
Future events will be as follows:
- March 21 – Celebrating the Wines of Germany – Riesling and Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Blanc – German theme
- April 26 – Sparkling wines – Cava, Prosecco, Asti, Champagne and Espumante – French, Spanish and Portuguese theme
- May 23 – Italian Regions and theme – The difference between the North, the Center, the South and the Islands – Foods to match
- June 27 – Texas Style Grill and Smoke Co-Sponsored by Texas Fine Wines and some of my favorite Texas Wineries including Bending Branch Winery, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars and Spicewood Vineyards
- July 25 – Tomatoes: From Salsa to Sauce and Sauvignon Blanc to Sangiovese
- August 22 – Freestone Peaches and Nectarines – Moscatos and Pinot Gris
- September 26 – Celebrating the Wines of Napa Valley – Harvest Time
- October 25 – Dia de los Muertos – A Celebration of Mexican Wines
- November 17 – History of Vintage wines – with Charcuterie of Aged Meats and Cheeses
In addition to the Wine and Dine Series, the Omni will offer two more events in February; a Valentine’s Dinner February 13th and 14th and a Tuscany for Two Interactive with the Chef on February 20th. The Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa is located at 8212 Barton Club Drive in Austin. For more information on these dinner events please visit Culinary Events at Omni Barton Creek.
I look forward to visiting them for another escape weekend soon!