Did you ever need to chill down a bottle of wine quickly? If you have not visited Texas in July I am sure you have heard… it is warm (no hot!) in Texas during the summer months. I understand many of our close friends drink red wine year round and rarely consume white wines. Unless we are grilling steaks or smoking a brisket, Margie and I drink white or chilled rose wine almost exclusively during the warm summer months.
I am a “red wine in winter & white or rose wine in summer” kind of guy!
Picture this: One of our close friends call to ask if it is ok to “drop-by” to say hello and catch up with us. They know they are always welcome, and we ALWAYS have great wine at our home. Even though I have 3 wine fridges with one dedicated to white wines only that is set at 45-F, it seems the bottle of white wine I want to drink is not in the white wine fridge. Or we have one in the white wine fridge to open and pour, but that is only 4 glasses per bottle so we need another bottle chilled quickly!
Here is the solution: Wet a dish towel with water until it is wet but not dripping. Wrap it around the bottle of wine. Then put the wrapped bottle in the freezer. In10-15 minutes your bottle of wine will chill to a perfect 42-45 degrees and good to pour!
Why this works: The freezer alone will chill wine. But the wetness of the towel conducts and holds the coldness better, therefore it will chill the wine inside quicker!
I hope you enjoy this quick tip to chill wine. I will be adding this feature from time to time to assist you in enjoying your wine even more. So stop by often for new content!
Thank you for reading the ramblings of the Texas Wineaux, and please leave a comment below!
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.
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 Bistrofor an extended lunch. Once in a while we get invited to join in on a great experience such as this incredible Wine Pairing 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.
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!
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.
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 2013Burt 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.
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.
Although the Wine Country is a great getaway and incredibly beautiful; 2 days in California Wine Country is just not enough. Especially if you are half a continent away from California in Dallas, Texas and you spend much of your valuable time in an airport, on an airplane, or trying to get a rental car!
My beautiful wife Margie was going to be in Oakland and Sacramento on business back in March, so I decided that would be the PERFECT excuse to take a day off and spend the weekend together in my personal Mecca; Napa and Sonoma! So I set up a few appointments for winery visits on the first day day and left the last day wide open to do whatever came to mind.
You can imagine I have a multitude of connections in the wine industry, and get offers to visit and write about my experiences on a regular basis. So I could have scheduled 4-5 winery visits per day and had every minute of our two days booked.But I really needed a nice relaxing and romantic weekend with my beautiful wife more than I needed to visit new wineries.
Margie is a Director of a large hair care products distributor, and lots of travel is just part of her job description. And the beginning of a New Year always brings on even more travel (to get the New Year started), so she has been away from home more than usual. Spending really quality time with each other was very high on our list.
SO…I only scheduled TWO (yes you read right, two) winery visits for the trip!
I flew into Oakland on Thursday, landing about Noon and rented a convertible Mustang. I then drove “topless” to Sacramento to pick Margie up at her hotel. She had just finished meeting with her clients in the early afternoon, and they were begging her to go to happy hour to celebrate a successful meeting. She politely said no, offering that I was picking her up and we were going to Wine Country for a fun weekend!
My wife is absolutely my best friend in the world, and we have an incredible marriage. We have so much fun together, sometimes doing absolutly nothing but making the best of our time making each other laugh.
I am a lucky man indeed!
The first night we decided to head over to Healdsburg for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in Sonoma Valley; BarnDiva. Located on Center Street in Healdsburg, it is an eclectic blend of different modern and old barn decor, with an ever changing menu. The bar scene is terrific and hip at night, and the Patio and area out back is calm, artistic, and relaxing during the day. The food is always creative, delicious, and ever changing according to the season. If you go you have to try the goat cheese croquettes with Wildflower Honey and Lavender is is incredible!!!
We enjoyed a perfect 2009 Simmonet-Febvre Vaillons 1ér Cru Chabliswith our dinner that was outstanding.
The next morning I had a 9:30 appointment with Jeff Mangahas, Winemaker at the legendary Williams Selyem Wineryin Russian River, Sonoma Valley. Jeff was gracious and accommodating with his time. You can read more and the actual interview with Jeff in my previous post in March. It is times like these that I dearly love what I do, as I feel very humbled to have had this opportunity to interview and spend time just visiting and talking wine with Jeff. We loved the behind the scenes stories as well that can only be told by the winemaker!
Our next appointment wasn’t until 2:30 but it was across the mountain range in St Helena, Napa Valley. For those of you that have driven from Santa Rosa to Napa Valley know there is a mountain range between the two valleys. So as the crow flies it isn’t that far. But to drive you have 2 choices;
1. Go south on Hwy 101 and go around Southern Sonoma down and come up along the highway 121 to Scenic Hwy 29 where all the wineries are located just North of the City of Napa (BORING).
2. From Santa Rosa in Sonoma Valley head east along Calistoga Road, across the mountains to Petrified Forest Road to Calistoga. This is the scenic route! If you can ALWAYS take this route because it is so beautiful and so “Northern California”.
Calistoga, CA is a beautiful place to stay, taste wine, have lunch or dinner, shop, and just spend time! We had about 2 hours to kill before our next appointment at Fantesca, so we stopped and had lunch outside at Calistoga Kitchenon Cedar St. Very quaint and full of character. Great food, and we were so impressed with the owner and Chef Rick Wankel. Margie and I split a terrific BLT with duck egg and it was incredible! The bacon was localy sourced thick cut, smoked to perfection, and very meaty! We split a County Line Mixed Green Salad, and enjoyed a bottle of 2012 Cakebread Cellars Napa Chardonnay (that matched perfectly) and we were in heaven! The owner Rick explained his food is ingredients driven, featuring local growers, purveyors, and wines. If you are in the area I highly suggest a visit and tell them the Terry Hill the Texas Wineaux sent you!
When I took my Sommelier class at Texas Sommelier Conference(TEXSOM) many years ago, Master Sommelier DLynn Proctorassisted in our instructions and blind tastings, and I have kept contact with him over the years. You may know DLynn from the movie “SOMM”.Dlynn had suggested a few wineries to vist that were “unknown gems” in Napa. I chose Fantesca Winery from his suggestion and it was terrific. Fantesca was an extremely interesting story.
Susan and Duane Hoff were working for Best Buy, and decided they wanted to be in the wine business. So they bought 53 acres with 10 planted to vines in Napa Valley. The property was originally part of Caroline Bale’s dowry when she married Charles Krug, and the vineyards dated back to the 1860’s. After Phylloxera epidemic of the 1900’s and then Prohibition in the 1920’s the vineyard was allowed to go back to native forest for more than 70 years! The vineyard was replanted in 1997 with only 10 acres.
Susan Hoff is the real heart and soul of Fantesca, and she recruited the legendary winemaker Heidi Barrettto be the Winemaker. If you are not familiar with Heidi Barrett; she gained legendary status at Dalle Valle by creating powerful Cabs including the famous “Maya” cult cab that received two perfect 100-pt scores from Robert Parker. She then was hired by Screaming Eagle and AGAIN received two perfect 100-pt scores from Parker! This is a legendary name in Napa and she married well too. You may know Heidi’s husband Bo Barrettand Father-in-Law Jim Barrettof Chateau Montelena and the famousJudgment of Paris and the movie Bottle Shock.
We had a personal tasting of available wines, a barrel tasting, and a tour of the facilities including the Cave. The Cave was an old silver mine in Spring Mountain, and it holds the barrels for aging at a perfect 58-F.
The 2012 King Richard Reserve Russian River Pinot Noir and the 2012 Russian River Sonoma County Chardonnay were all that was available for tasting, and both were quite impressive. We left with few bottles of each, and we are looking forward to sharing these incredible Heidi Barrett wines soon! I will have tasting notes at that time.
Next stop was the iconic and legendary Chateau Montelena!I This is the historic winery that bested the French Burgundy in the famous Judgement of Paris! I have been all over Sonoma and Napa Valley and never visited in the past, so a quick visit of the beautiful property so full of history was a “must stop”. We strolled around the beautiful grounds longer than we did tasting wine because I know how incredible these Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are already because Margie and I often drink them at home.
We headed South on Hwy 29, and even though I knew it was getting late in the day I always have to stop at one of my favorite wineries; Peju Province Wineryin the mecca for Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford. We stopped in for a quick tasting! Then back in the car to visit my very special friend Carrie at Napa Valley Wine and Cigarin the city of Napa!
Stopping to see Carrie is ALWAYS a MUST STOP for me when in Napa!
She is such a sweetheart, and she has an absolutely phenomenal selection of wines and cigars for all your hedonistic needs. If you tell her I sent you and ask very nicely, she will take you to the back room and the “special stash” of wines. I have bought some great wines from her over the years because she is on everyone’s wine lists, and has the wines in stock when no one else does!
Looking for a Harlan Estates or Screaming Eagle? She has it! How about a Dalle Valle or Saxum’s James Berry Vineyard? She has it!
Pick up a great stogie while you are there too!
We were exhausted after a long day in paradise, so we had a simple dinner and an early night getting ready for the next day!
Check back soon for Day-2 where we have NO SCHEDULE and we improvise the entire day!
I am revisiting a tasting and review of Dylan’s Ghost wines from June of 2014. Joseph Carris 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
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!