Category Archives: Wine Reviews

Dallas Wineauxs Wine Pairing Dinner!

The Dallas Wineauxs got together for a terrific 5-Course Wine Pairing Dinner recently. The incredible table d’hôte was hosted by Samuel Rickords of ReDoux Wine, and the brand new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Uptown Dallas.

Alan Schulz of Ruth's Chris. Photo by Swan Photography
Alan Schulz of Ruth’s Chris. Photo by Swan Photography

Our wine group;  “Dallas Wineauxs” get together 5-6 times a year to talk about wine, pitch our latest ‘wine finds’, enjoy each others company, eat great meals  and wine pairing with our menu, and of course share many bottles of wine. Sometimes it is at each others homes with a theme for the night. Other times it is meeting at a restaurant such as Toulouse French Bistro for an extended lunch. Once in a while we get invited to join in on a great experience such as this incredible Wine Pairing Dinner!

Menu Reoux Wine Dinner
Menu Redoux Wine Dinner

Samuel and Amanda Rickords are owners of Redoux Wines. Redoux is a young and growing wine distributor based in Dallas, that specializes in representing a very select and distinctive group of “boutique wineries” from California. Often Samuel has known the actual winemakers and their families for decades because he grew up in Sonoma Valley, California. He and his wife Amanda met when he was with Ledson Winery in Kenwood, CA. Amanda was blessed to be a Texas Girl that loved Cali Wine County. On a girls trip to Sonoma years ago Amanda and Samuel met,  fell in love, and were married in the vineyards soon after. A real fairy tale you could say! Amanda convinced Samuel that Texas was the place to be (her child and family were in Dallas). So he moved to Dallas to begin a family and soon started Redoux Wines with Amanda. They have been succesfull in this endevour of the heart, mainly because they really are what my dear Grandfather used to call “Good People” that have a real passion for wine and food. And Samuel is always more than willing to share this passion with anyone that will listen!

Samuel & his wife Amanda strongly believe in contributing to a legacy beyond just selling wine. As proud supporters of Honor Courage Commitment (HCC), Samuel & Amanda seek to incorporate veterans into the business. In addition, Samuel provides wine education for “22 Fellows”–a unique training program to maximize veteran talent to grow the US economy and build local communities. For more information about HCC, please visit www.honorcouragecommitment.org.

Lineup For Tonight!
Lineup For Tonight!

Our venue for the night was the private “Wine Room” at the all new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Uptown Dallas. The Manager on duty Alan Schulz was very gracious, accommodating, and informative. In fact Alan was raised in New Orleans, LA a few blocks from the original Ruth’s Chris!

Michelle & Melanie enjoying the wines! Photo by Swan Photography
Michelle & Melanie enjoying the wines! Photo by Swan Photography

A little history of Ruth’s Chris Steak House:

In 1965 Ruth Fertel, a divorced mother of two, mortgaged her home for $22,000 to buy a small 60-seat restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana named “Chris Steak House”. Shortly thereafter, a fire forced her to change the original location and she renamed the restaurant, “Ruth’s Chris Steak House.” In 1977 at the urging of a loyal customer she granted the first franchise. Now there are over 140 worldwide. Ruth died in 1990, but the legend continues, as does her recipe for success:

“Insist on making a toast. Make big plans, but live spontaneously. Live and dine without regret.” ~Ruth Fertel~

The Uptown area in Dallas is the most happening scene anywhere in the DFW area. Lots of young professionals live in the luxury condos, townhouses, and high rise residences throughout the very upscale area between the American Airlines Center (home of the Dallas Mavericks), and Downtown Dallas. It is the perfect place to build a great steak house! Although a little difficult to find at 1900 Cedar Springs Rd, it is well worth the extra effort. They only opened the doors to the public a couple of months back, and many of the staff left great jobs at other upscale restaurants to join the Uptown Ruth’s Chris because they believe they are part of something special. And you can see it in the way every employee bent over backwards to be helpful in every way. We had a terrific young waiter that was very knowledgeable, engaging, and always ready to help the dining experience become more pleasurable.

The interior is elegant, stylish, and tasteful. Trust me when I say you will be impressed!

Looking for a terrific spot for Happy Hour Uptown? Ruth’s Cris Uptown’s $8 Sizzle, Swizzle and Swirl Happy Hour is featured Sunday-Friday from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the large open bar and includes tasty appetizers, cocktails, and impressive wines for $8 each!

Samuel met with Manager Alan Schulz and Executive Chef Willie Singleton beforehand to pair the wines from Redoux with the 5-courses served.

Analyzing the color and structure. Photo by Swan Photography
Analyzing the color and structure. Photo by Swan Photography

Let me congratulate all involved in the pairing of wines and food…outstanding!

First Course: Spicy Crispy Lobster paired with Sojurn Chardonnay Sonoma Coast. The Crispy Lobster was slightly spicy but sweet, and the acidity and crispness of the very lightly oaked 2013 Sojurn Chardonnay Sonoma Coast matched wonderfully.

Second Course: Saffron Veal Ravioli paired with 2013 Burt Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley. Ravioli stuffed with spicy Osso Buco veal and mozzarella cheese with a white wine demi-glace matched perfectly with the spicy and slightly earthy pinot noir. BRAVO!

Third Course: New Orleans BBQ Shrimp paired with 2012 Rubica Red Blend from Portugal. I never would have paired slightly spicy New Orleans style BBQ Shrimp with the slightly rustic blend of: Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragones and Petit Verdot. But this was the most impressive pairing of the evening. The red wine mellowed out and let the food shine beautifully!

Forth Course: Tenderloin Skewer Salad paired with 2007 Rust Ridge Cabernet from Chiles Valley, California. Tenderloin Beef marinated in Teriyaki and slightly sweet paired very well with the Rust Ridge Cab with notes of Cherry, cola, cassis, and blackberry. In fact the sweetness of the tenderloin really soared with this ready to drink Chiles Valley Cabernet!

Fifth Course: Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake and Dark Chocolate Bark paired with 2008 Robledo Cabernet Sauvignon from Lake County. I dearly love chocolate paired with a great cabernet sauvignon, and this was absolutely perfect with the light Chocolate Cheesecake! The Dark Chocolate Bark had sea salt with cranberry infussed that was really tasty by itself, but the cranberry clashed badly when paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon. This was the ONLY disappointment of a wonderful evening, as I would have only served the chocolate cheesecake and skipped the bark.

Spicy Shrimp paired with Rubrica
Spicy Shrimp paired with Rubrica
Bert Street Pinot served with Ravioli
Bert Street Pinot served with Ravioli
Redoux Wine Diner Main Course. Photo by Swan Photography
Redoux Wine Diner Main Course. Photo by Swan Photography

A terrific time was had by all at this incredible Wine Pairing Dinner, and I know that I speak for all the Dallas Wineauxs when I say; if you are in the Dallas area, especially around the Uptown District you really should drop by the new Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Uptown!

Bravo Samuel, Asher, and Alan!

Thank you for visting and reading the ramblings of Terry Hill, the Texas Wineaux! Please leave a comment below and check back from time to time for new posts.

Twitter: @friscokid49

Instagram: @texaswineaux1

**Photos are from Asher Swan of Swan Photography, and he can be reached at asher-swan@live.com or www.swan-photography.com . Thank you for the great photos!

 

’10 Dylan’s Ghost “The Beast”

Dylan’s Ghost Wines

Dylan's Ghost Wines
Dylan’s Ghost Wines

I am revisiting a tasting and review of Dylan’s Ghost wines from June of 2014. Joseph Carr is the producer and the Winemaker is Aaron Potts. Aaron was named Winemaker of the Year for Napa Valley in 2012. Pretty great resume if you know wine and the incredible folks that make this nectar of the gods!

“I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me… and my effort is their self-expression.” -Dylan Thomas-

I am a big fan of Joseph Carr, and he has an exciting portfolio of wines from easy to drink Rose’ to big bold reds that really get your attention. I am an even bigger fan of Aaron Potts.

Aaron Potts has worked with the true legends in Bordeaux including Michael Rolland. He was Winemaker for Château Troplong Mondot and Château La Tour Figeac Grand Cru Classé St. Emilion. In 2001 he returned to Napa to become the Winemaker at St. Clement and later in 2004 as GM and Winemaker at Quintessa. I love his thoughts on winemaking;

“I think I’m looking for what existed in Napa before the late ’90s,” he says. “All these artificially concentrated, superfruity wines are a bit boring. I’ve tasted so many great, older Napa wines, and I always wonder, why aren’t we making these wines anymore?” -Aaron Potts-

2010 Dylan’s Ghost Stags Leap Vineyard

“THE BEAST”

2010 The Beast from Joseph Carr
’10 The Beast from Joseph Carr

This is a deep dark and brooding wine in the glass. In fact it is bordering on inky, most likely because of content of Petit Sirah. The blend is 1/3 each of Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Sirah.

The Beast is a BIG WINE, so if you are looking for an easy to drink pinot noir this is not your wine!

Aromas of sweet raspberry, plum, vanilla, mushroom, bacon, and hints of cinnamon.

The Beast is a full body red wine with immediate notes of rich plum and blackberry, rolling into black fruits and raspberry. The flavors seem to change again as I swish it back and forth in my mouth, with flavors evolving into a long finish of crisp apple-smoked bacon and raw cinnamon that go on and on after swallowing.

Med heavy tannins that will mellow in the coming years.

Though lacking somewhat in acidity, it is still a real quality wine that I feel will improve with 2-5 years in bottle, and should age well in the next 10-15. In fact, I wish I had another bottle to compare notes in 10-12 years.

This wine would match perfect with Grilled red meats such as Pork Chops, Steak, Smoked Brisket, or especially Pulled Pork!

The Beast retails for around $48 and can be found at Wine Seacher here

NOTE: Check out my review of the Hell Hollow and the incredible Rose’ Angel from older post dated June 2014.

Thank you for following and reading the ramblings of the Texas Wineaux!

I would love to hear your comments!

 

Celebrate Sonoma County

Sonoma County has a lot to celebrate. The most obvious is great wine. I am a believer that the most incredible Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel in the ENTIRE world come from Sonoma County!

Sonoma Valley Grapevines
Sonoma Valley Grapevines

One of the best perks about what I do here as the Texas Wineaux, is I get invited to many incredible wine events throughout the year. A few years back Sonoma In The City rolled through Dallas promoting the incredible wines of Sonoma County. It was a first class event held at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek near downtown Dallas, and sponsored by Sonoma County Winegrowers, Vintners, and Sonoma County Tourism.

It was a open tasting event that featured some of the best wines in Sonoma County including legends such as; Patz & Hall, Ferrari-Carano, J Vineyards, Seghesio, Gary Farrell, MacPahil, Francis Ford Coppola, Jordan, Rodney Strong, Chateau St. Jean, Gundach Bundschu, Martinelli, and Ramey. But what I enjoyed most is tasting some of the not so well known producers such as Papapietro Perry (one of my favorites!), Benovia, Dry Creek Vineyard, and possibly my favorite; Davis Family Vineyards. I was able to taste my way through Sonoma County and celebrate the diversity of the wines.

I have since traveled to Sonoma County several times, and actually visited many of these vintners, wineries, and producers. Some have elaborate wineries and tasting rooms, while others are considered “Boutique Wineries”. This is a fancy word penned by the fine folks that are in charge of selling small wineries wines. Basically it means the wineries production is usually very small, and usually sold to restaurants or to wine club members only. Thus they cannot afford to build big elaborate tasting room. Often the tasting room is  simply a small building on the property and you taste from one of the family members! Other small producers will share a facility with 3-10 other Boutique Wineries. This can be very fun because you can taste several different producers’ wines side by side. One of my favorite spots for this is The Barlow in Sebastopol. You can taste local wine, buy local art, and enjoy local foods all in one location! I would encourage you to stop by next time you are in Sonoma County.

Well, back in early December Sonoma County Tourism partnered with Rodney Strong Vineyards and Davis Bynum to highlight the incredible diversity of Pinot Noir Clones. Once again, the Sonoma County Tourism doesn’t go cheap with the sites, as this wonderful affair was held for the media at the hippest spot in uptown Dallas; the Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa in Uptown 

I knew it was going to be something special when we walked in and I saw Robert Larsen of Rodney Strong Wine Estates. I had met Robert a few times before at various tasting events including Sonoma In The City Dallas, and he is so witty and funny. Robert is very good at his job and is gifted with incredible communication skills. He can get down and dirty with the ‘wine geeks”  like myself and talk shop with the best of them. But he also has a admirable ability to “not talk over the heads” of the others in the room (media mostly) that might not have quite the so called wine knowledge. Whatever you throw at him he always has the perfect response, smiles, and makes you feel great for asking (“great question” he said more than once).

He was joined by Tim Zahner, the Chief Marketing Officer for Sonoma County Tourism. Tim is very good at his job as well, and keeps the program moving, interesting, and broadened the talk into Sonoma County in general, not just the wonders of wine.

Together they joined forces for one of my favorite and most informative wine events I have attended.

Clone Tasting Seminar Dec '14
Clone Tasting Seminar Dec ’14

We started out with seven glasses of wine, six with the typical  2-oz pours, and one with about 5-oz pour. It was explained by Robert Larsen that all the wines were produced by Robert Bynum and from Russian River, Sonoma County. They were all pinot noir wines made identically (same fermentation, same amount of oak, same vinifcation procedures, etc…), and all fruit was sourced from the same Jane’s Vineyard, but different blocks within the vineyard that are planted to each individual clone. Each of the first six wines was produced with individual clones only, and the final glass was the finished product blended from ALL the wines at different percentages of each clone.

These clones included; Clone 777, Clone 114, Clone 115 Pommard, Wadenville Clone 2A, and Clone 667.

Clone Tasting Seminar
Clone Tasting Seminar

As you can see from the chart above, different clones add different color, aromas, texture, tannins, and acid

Now for the wine geek that I admit to be, this was a fascinating seminar that highlighted the way the different pinot noir clones can taste, smell, and feel in the mouth, simply by blending different clones together. Blending the right clones together for the perfect pinot noir is an art, and should be considered such!

So…what is a clone?

A clone is a group of identical genes, cells, or organisms derived from one single ancestor.

Grapevine clones are those that have been propagated and grown from cuttings from one single “mother vine,” and were found to have an interesting or superior qualities.

Calwineries has a great explanation of why this is important here: Calwineries

Basiclly all 6 of the clone pinot noir were very nice wines on their own, and especially the 777 and the 114 clones were representative (to me) of what comes to my mind when I think “Russian River Pinot Noir”. But the way Davis Bynum winemaker blended the 2012 Jane’s Vineyard together was outstanding (see tasting notes below).

Davis Bynum has been making Pinot Noir in the Russian River valley for over 40 years. In fact, Davis was the first to produce a single vineyard Pinot Noir from RRV. The vintage was 1973, and the grapes were from Joe Rochioli’s now prized vineyard. In 2007 Davis sold to the Klein Family but he stays on as support. Now Davis Bynum is under the infamous Rodney Strong label.

2012 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Profile:  Bright med red in color. Aroma of oak (vanilla), cola, bing cherry, and cocoa. Med light body. In the mouth it is clean, delicate, and fresh, but with definite earthy and slight mushroom notes as well (possibly from clone 115?). Bright Cherry and Cocoa notes seem to change dramaticlly on the tongue, and a nice long oaky finish. This wine retails for $35 and is a strong buy from me. Great Russian River Pinot Noir at sub <$50 is difficult to find.

This is an elegant wine with med tannins and complexity that is the very reason I believe Russian River makes some of the best pinot noir made in the world!

2012 Davis Bynum Jane's Vineyard Pinot Noir
2012 Davis Bynum Jane’s Vineyard Pinot Noir

Well done gentleman, and thank you Sonoma County Tourism, Rodney Strong Wine Estates, and Davis Bynum Winery for this informative and entertaining event!

Thank you for reading my post. I would ask that you please leave a comment with your thoughts.

Terry Hill is the Texas Wineaux!

A blessed Holiday Season to all my Wineauxs!

Santas' Toast to you!
Santas’ Toast to you!

Dylan’s Ghost Wines

“I hold a beast, an angel and a madman in me…
and my effort is their self-expression.”
-Dylan Thomas-

Dylan's Ghost Wines
Dylan’s Ghost Wines

I haven’t been this excited about a wine shipment in some time as when I got the notification the Dylan’s Ghost shipment was FINNALY being shipped!

I have known about the winemaker Aaron Potts for many years. In fact he was recently named one of Food & Wines “Winemakers of the Year for 2012”.

When I read that Joseph Carr was producing a few cases of very select wines in the Staggs Leap District in Napa Valley with Aaron, I had to check it out! Joseph started this project 3-years ago, and Dylan’s Ghost Winery has recently released it’s first wines in very small lots.

Aaron Potts has worked with the true legends in Bordeaux including Michael Rolland. He was Winemaker for Château Troplong Mondot and Château La Tour Figeac Grand Cru Classé St. Emilion. In 2001 he returned to Napa to become the Winemaker at St. Clement and later in 2004 as GM and Winemaker at Quintessa. I love his thoughts on winemaking;

“I think I’m looking for what existed in Napa before the late ’90s,” he says. “All these artificially concentrated, superfruity wines are a bit boring. I’ve tasted so many great, older Napa wines, and I always wonder, why aren’t we making these wines anymore?”

Dylan’s Ghost “Angel”
Rosé  Napa Valley 2013

Dylans Ghost Angel

  • Cuvee: 100% Cabernet Franc
  • Appellation: Napa Valley; Oak Knoll District, with clay soils underlaid by gravel
  • Wine Facts:
    Alco-hol: 13.3%
• TA: 0.66 g/100ml
• pH: 3.33. Bottling Date: January 24, 2013

  • Production: 200 cases

Beautiful bright Salmon Pink in the glass. The  nose of fresh strawberry and floral are the first to jump from the glass. First impression is this will be a slightly sweet Rosé, but NOTHING could be farther from the truth. You understand this immedeatly upon the first sip and swirl in your mouth; this is no wimpy Cali Rosé!

This is a bone dry, acidic, even slightly tannic wine very reminiscent of the Rosé of Tavel, France!

Rose in glass
Rose in glass

Notes of Strawberry, watermelon, spices (cloves?), and minerals dominate. This wine coats your mouth and lingers on long after you have swallowed, making you quickly glance to the glass to make sure there is more to enjoy. This is a perfect wine for the hot weather in Texas. And, as this wine reminds me so much of the Tavel Rosé, it should be very food friendly! BBQ’s, Picnics, or simply sitting on the patio is perfect.

These wine s retail (while it lasts) for $25 for the Angel and $50 each for the Hell Hollow and The Beast This is a steal at that price! Go to:  dylansghostwinery.com for more details. These wine s will NOT be available in stores.

2010 Hell Hollow

Deep Crimson in the glass. Blackberry, Black Cherry,  Hibiscus, cedar, plus a slight old leather & olive on the nose.

Full bodied with medium tannins  after an 1:45 decant. This bottle will benefit from a year or two on its side. In fact, I bet this wine will age effortlessly for 10-15 years. Acidity is damn near perfect.

The palate boasts black fruits, vanilla,  nutmeg, floral, and a spicy black pepper that lingers on and on after you swallow. This is a quality wine.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Cabernet Franc. The rustic nature of the Stags Leap / Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon is mellowed and refined by the Cab Franc nicely.

Terry Hill is the Texas Wineaux