Méthode WineWonkette: DIY Fancy French Ginger Liqueur

I love ginger! I must try this at home, I think to myself as I sip Frank Plusk’s signature Domaine de Canton 2014 Global Bartender of the Year contest entry cocktail while chatting with a wine country friend in town for the weekend. So the next day I head to the Downtown Specs Liquor Warehouse (Smith Street) to pick up a bottle of Domaine de Canton to make my own Asian Lemon Drop Martini. I […]

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Fabio, Not-Fabio and the Fancy French Cocktail Contest

“I am in Houston today, can we get together for cocktails?” comes a text from a wine country friend. It was a bit unexpected, but I have to be in the city later anyway, so I make plans to meet at House of Blues’ Crossroads restaurant. Joe and I have a concert to attend that evening, so I think I will chat up my friend early before meeting Joe there for dinner. The great thing […]

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Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Vertical

Tasting a “vertical” is a great way to show how a wine differs from vintage to vintage and how a wine might age in the bottle. We tasted three vintages of Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon: the 2009, 2010 and 2011. These are sophisticated Sauvignon Blancs — with no boxwood (aka cat box) or tooth enamel stripping over-acidity that comes with some of the “value” Sauvignon Blancs. Rounded, balanced, elegant. Think Bordeaux, not New Zealand. […]

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Ranchero Cellars 2010 Viognier

We first tasted this wine when we visited with winemaker Amy Butler in 2012 on a visit to Paso Robles for Hospice du Rhone. We liked her wines so much we took home several bottles. Notes of Star Jasmine and honeysuckle on the nose,  grapefruit, peach blossom and creamy slate in the mouth with a lingering finish. 14.2% Alcohol by volume. Incredible with Caprese Salad with Parmesan and Salume crisps, and seared scallops. $30.00 She […]

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Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2011 Willamette Valley Winemaker’s Cuvée Pinot Noir

Sometimes you just do not have time to prepare an elegant meal, but that does not mean you cannot have an elegant wine.  Elizabeth Chambers Cellar 2001 Willamette Valley Winemaker’s Cuvée is just that. Bright ruby in color with a nose of black cherry, cola and forest floor, this Pinot Noir is rich enough to hold up to a local farm duck egg yolk with plenty of acidity to cut through it. Dark cherry, vanilla […]

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Tudal Family Winery 2010 Napa Valley Cuvee

Vibrant ruby-red with a nose of dusty lavender, cherry, fresh thyme and a whiff of mint, this lovely Napa Valley Cuvee from Tudal Family Winery blends balanced tannins with cherry, white and black pepper and dusty rose petal flavors. We paired it with a beef roast with reduction gravy and carrot, broccoli and mushroom medley. This blend of 50% Zinfandel 40% Petite Sirah and 10% Malbec is incredibly priced at under than $25! Only 500 cases produced, […]

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Family Focus: Jericho Canyon Vineyard in Napa Valley, California

Our Jericho Canyon Vineyard wine dinner was not exactly what I had first expected. Jericho Canyon Vineyard and winery is in Calistoga. That’s in the Napa Valley of California. Some Napa Valley wineries have a reputation for snobbery. We know it is not an across-the-board indictment, because we know lots of warm, friendly people from Napa. But many of them we met and got to know before we knew their winery. Just hearing “Napa” takes me […]

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Sometimes The Substitute is Better than the Original

Houston has finally gotten into the 21st century with food trucks. Not as much as any other major metropolis, but at least we’re getting better. When I am working downtown, though, it seems you cannot just walk to a food truck. You have to get in your car and drive. Why? My cynical guess is money and pull from Downtown Houston restaurant owners is keeping them out. But for a Mayor who claims to be […]

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HOT Valentine Gifts for the Wine Lover

It is the day before Valentine’s Day and you haven’t a clue what to give your wine lover. Perhaps we can help. When someone contacted us about tasting the Fifty Shades of Grey “White Silk” and “Red Satin” blends I was skeptical. I had not read the books. I was avoiding all the hype. From the title alone, I surmised that the book was about a 50-plus dame who suddenly sheds inhibitions at the hands […]

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