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Bubbles for New Year’s Eve

Posted on: December 27th, 2016 by fcasio

By: Marcus GausepohlNew Year's Eve

I often say Champagne was my first love. It is what I first got excited aboutin wine. For a long time I thought about Champagne as this romantic faraway place (because it’s on the other side of the world from me)  where the juice of the Gods is made. When I made the trip across the ocean it was that place except really cold, rainy and dreary while I was there. After visiting some classic producers I made my way to the village of Les Mesnil Sur Oger. I was lucky enough to find myselfin the cellar of Pierre Peters. The wine maker Rudolph Peters sat down with me and tasted for the 3 hours. We opened his family wines going back to 1970’s, it was incredible.

When I made the trip across the ocean it was that place except really cold, rainy and dreary while I was there. After visiting some classic producers I made my way to the village of Les Mesnil Sur Oger. I was lucky enough to find myself in the cellar of Pierre Peters. The wine maker Rudolph Peters sat down with me and tasted for the 3 hours. We opened his family wines going back to 1970’s, it was incredible.

Every time I feel the need to drink something a little epic, I open a bottle of his Cuvee Speciale LES CHETILLONS Blanc de Blanc-Grand Cru. It is a powerful and complex wine that gives aromatics of apricot, honey, white flower. Like all great wine, it seems to taste better with good company!

 

Fiddlehead Cellars Wine Dinner 3/11/2015

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by fcasio

Any Pinot Noir Lovers Out There?

Speaker Kathy Joseph, Proprietor & Winemaker

Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the pure essence of two distinguished grape varietals – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Her intent was to incorporate European beauty by working with grapes grown in the right place and wines managed with respect in the cellar.

She was one of the first to plant grapes in Santa Barbara County.

Today, Kathy is recognized as a pioneer among women winemakers. She inspired the director of “Sideways” enough to highlight her wine in the movie. The Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc was also a favorite among the crew.

At Fiddlehead, Kathy annually produces only 5,000 cases of wine, with personal interest in each grape cluster, each barrel of wine and every bottle that finds its way to your table.

Cost: $ 120 (plus tax & gratuity)

Reception: 6:30 p.m.,

Passed Horsd’oeuvres & 2013 Pick Fiddle Rose, Santa Rita Hills, California

Dinner: 7:00 p.m.

Presented Menu:

Diver Scallop and Caviar
Louisiana sweets, Alligator pear, Covey Rise greens, hearts of palm, and Petrossian caviar
2011 Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Ynez Valley, California

Sweet Breads & Breaux Bridge Crawfish
Homestead goat cheese grits, Morel mushrooms, melted leeks and English peas with sauce Acadian
2011 Oldville Reserve Pinot Noir, Oregon

Buffalo Bayou Honey Roasted Duck
Duck egg fried rice, duck cracklin, and Huckleberry duck sauce
2010 “728-Fiddlestix” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California

44 Farm Beef Belly Ravioli
Forever braised Texas beef, root vegetable confetti, Trotter stewed Collard greens and Hickory smoked Oxtail jus
2010 Lollapalooza Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California

Froberg Strawberry Jubilee
Strawberry & Creole cream cheese cannoli, strawberry ice cream in waffle cone and strawberry dark chocolate moon pie
Coffee Service

To purchase tickets, please visit our Fiddlehead Cellars Wine Dinner Event site HERE.

Sip-Sational News with the Coravin

Posted on: December 3rd, 2013 by fcasio 1 Comment
Jason Sherman Brennan's of Houston Wine Guy

Jason Sherman Brennan’s of Houston Wine Guy

A word from our Wine Guy / Wine Director, Jason Sherman:

“So who has heard the latest buzz in the wine world? If you read any current magazine, or ask any sommelier you might know, he / she will say the Coravin. “Intended” to be for the wine collectors to test wines from their own collection without breaking the seal, or having to consume the whole bottle, this device is now in the hands of many sommeliers around the world…including mine. Like many, I wanted to utilize this system of wine preservation to pour something unique by our fall / wine menu (think osso bucco, lamb chops, venison).

Dominus is one of the most age-worthy cabernet based blends made in our country…fitting that its owned and operated by the French Moueix family of Bordeaux. Try a 3-ounce glass of $25, or a full glass for $50.”

Keep an eye out for more exciting wines to be poured from the Coravin in coming months, including Gaja, Patz and Hall, Bruno Giacosa and Ogier.

Crawfish Reigns Supreme on Brennan’s 7-7-7 Happy Hour Menu

Posted on: June 4th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Republished from Houston Press

Crawfish Reigns Supreme on Brennan’s 7-7-7 Happy Hour Menu

By Mai Pham Tue., Jun. 4 2013 at 6:00 AM

 

Brennanscrawfish.jpg
Photos by Mai Pham
During happy hour, this $7 crawfish enchilada is fantastic

Brennan’s of Houston may not come up in conversation as a go-to place for happy hour, but it should. During happy hour, which takes place in their Courtyard Bar, Brennan’s offers a 7-7-7 menu that includes seven cocktails, seven wines, and seven appetizers, all for just $7.

And the great thing about it? Unlike other restaurants where happy hour only happens during odd hours and only on weekdays, Brennan’s 7-7-7 is offered daily from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. — plenty of time for you to relax, unwind, and get happy.

 

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The bar area is well appointed with attractive chairs

Three of my friends and I stopped in on a random Friday evening around 5 p.m., and were greeted enthusiastically when we arrived. Right inside the door, Brennan’s famous house-made butterscotch pralines were piled up on a plate to welcome us as well.

The bar area was lightly occupied at that time, so we got our pick of where to sit, choosing a four-top table by the window, where we started off with cocktails, including a Tom Collins, made of Segram’s gin, club soda, and fresh lemon and lime; a Deep Eddy Daly made of Deep Eddy Sweet Tea and lemonade; and a Smoky Mary, the Brennan’s version of bloody Mary made with smoked Poblano pepper infused Svedka vodka.

For food, we literally tried everything on the menu. I’m told the menu changes seasonally, but right now, all the happy hour offerings are crawfish themed, which means we had Crawfish Remoulade, BBQ Crawfish, Crawfish and Andouille Empanadas, Crawfish Boudin, Crawfish and Corn Fritters, Crawfish Enchilada, and Crawfish and Tasso Waffles.

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Yep, that’s a waffle underneath all that crawfish

When they came out, the tapas-sized portions were all delicious, though some stood out more than others. My favorite out of all of them was the Crawfish enchilada, which I ordered a second order of because I didn’t feel like one shared bite was enough.

The Crawfish and Corn Fritters were fun and lighthearted, crispy fried balls pierced with skewers and served a dark piri piri sauce. My friends quite enjoyed the rich Crawfish and Tasso Waffles, which were full of flavor due to the sweet sugarcane smoked tasso. The Crawfish Boudin was also a hit, and went surprisingly well with the kimchi and crackers that it came with.

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If you love boudin, you’ll love this crawfish and andoille version

We ordered a second round of drinks while feasting on the huge, well-priced spread, but saved room for dessert, which is one of those things you just have to save room for if you go to Brennan’s.

The chef decided to show us what their dessert was all about and brought out a sampling of some of their desserts: strawberry shortcake, pecan pie, two types of bread pudding, chocolate mousse cake, and key lime pie. My girlfriend’s eyes grew as big as saucers and she had to hold her hands underneath her legs while I took pictures. “Can I eat yet?” she asked impatiently before starting to do some heavy damage to the spread before us.

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The dessert spread. Worth. Every. Calorie!

That was before a smiling server wheeled a cart over to our table and started preparing bananas foster table-side. The smell and the sizzle of the dessert was almost my undoing as we watched him perform an elaborate, fire-enhanced culinary mini-show . Talk about decadent. And mouthwatering. And absolutely positively unbelievably amazing!

 

Texas Wine of the Month: May 2013

Posted on: May 31st, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Republished from Texas Monthly.

Wed May 29, 2013 2:15 pm

Inwood Estates takes a Chardonnay grape and blends it with the less well known Spanish Palomino grape commonly used in Sherry to create a white wine that balances crisp acidity with bold fruit and complexity.

The Wine:
Inwood Estates Palomino-Chardonnay Blend 2010

The Grape:
This is a blend of about sixty percent Palomino and forty percent Chardonnay. Palomino, native to Spain, is widely used to produce sherry in the southern part of the country. This is a contrast to Chardonnay, which is planted all over the world and responsible for the great whites of Montrachet, Chablis, and some of the best sparkling wines made in Champagne.

Who Likes It:
Jason Sherman, an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is the Wine Director for Brennan’s of Houston . Prior to Brennan’s, Sherman was a sommelier at Morton’s Steakhouse, but was lured from the more corporate feel of a national steakhouse to a restaurant with more than forty years of history as a Louisiana-inspired, family-owned operation. “I feel very blessed to work for a company with such a great legacy of sommeliers and chefs in this city,” Sherman said.

Why He Likes It:
“While most great wines from Texas source fruit from the Panhandle area, the majority of the fruit used for this wine is sourced from Hunt County, right outside the Dallas area. It’s proof that great wines can come from all over our large state. It’s also a big, rich, full-bodied white wine, and we all know Texans love ‘em as full-bodied as possible.”

Suggested Pairings:
“With its rich flavors of hazelnut, spice and crisp golden apples, this wine would pair well with fish, like our pecan-crusted redfish. Another great pairing would be to go down to your local farmer’s market and get some honey and cow’s milk cheese.”

On Down the Road:
“I am constantly impressed at how well-made some of the wines [in Texas] are, from Duchman Family Winery Vermentino to Becker Vineyards Viognier , and how much better they get every year. I think Texas wine has a long road ahead, but it’s on the right track. The use of purchased grapes from California has caused some confusion with the public on what’s really Texas wine and what is not, but lower price points and esoteric varietals leave room for trying new things.”

Note from the Winemaker:
Dan Gatlin has been making wine in Texas since the early eighties. As one of the pioneers of Texas wine, Gatlin’s devoted research to making premium-quality wine has garnered him a reputation for being a top Texas winemaker. The Palomino-Chardonnay is a special blend he’s been making for some time because of his belief in making good Chardonnay in Texas—a grape that hasn’t always been successful across the board. Gatlin has recently added a single-variety Chardonnay to his portfolio with all of the grapes for this wine being sourced from within Dallas County that yields a crisp, minerality that many might find mimics a more French white Burgundy in style.

“The world of white wines tends to break down into three categories. First, there are high perfume whites such as Riesling, Muscats, Gewurtztraminer and Viognier. Second, there are high pyrazine or ‘grassy’ wines like Sauvignon Blanc. Third, there are more neutral whites like Chardonnay,” Gatlin said. “Reviewing the stats for wine sales across America, there is almost total domination by Chardonnay and the next runner up is far, far behind. My 35 years of experience in the wine industry tells me that people will drink perfumed or grassy whites for a while, but they always return to more neutral whites in the end.”

“The choices for neutral white grapes are shockingly few,” Gatlin continued. “After Chardonnay, Palomino turns out to be one of the very few, truly neutral grapes in the universe of choices. I have found that the Palomino is a perfect blend for Chardonnay with denser body and honeyed, tropical nuances, with an overall neutral finish. The Palomino-Chardonnay fills a very unique, but widely sought-after market demand.”

“The problem is the extremely low yield of the Palomino in Texas. At about one-sixth of the yield it takes to be economically feasible, it is hard to justify any increased plantings. We work very hard for less than two barrels of wine each summer.”

Availability: Due to low production quantities mentioned above, this wine has limited availability but can be ordered online through the winery.

Price: $80

Revana Wine Dinner

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

revana

By Jason Sherman

After a year or two of putting off a wine dinner with local Cardiologist, Dr. Revana, we finally got him in the books. For those not familiar with his wines, he has wineries in both Napa Valley and Willamette Valley (Oregon).

The Napa Valley winery is now lead by the talented Thomas Rivers Brown (Heidi Barret made the wine there previously), who has worked at such wineries as Turley, Schrader and Outpost, while the Oregon operation is headed by Lynn Penner-Ash, of Penner-Ash fame.

Dr. Revana will be in attendance to talk about both wineries, as well as some new releases and some old friends. We will be pouring the new vintage of Willamette Valley Riesling and pinot gris, alongside two pinot noirs—a single vineyard Alexana Dundee Hills 2010, and a 2008 Sitar, a small production wine made at Alexana Winery by Tony Rynders, formerly of Domaine Serene.

Lastly, we will be enjoying the 2009 Revana Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley. These wines are very hard to get and some I have saved for this occasion for a few years. Chef Danny and I have worked hard to prepare a great menu and hope to see you there.

Revana Wine Dinner at Brennan’sDate: May 21, 2013
Time: 6:30 – 9:30
Price: $145 plus tax & gratuity
Tickets required

To purchase tickets to this event and see the menu, follow the link to the Revana Wine Dinner event page>>>

 

Freeman Wine Dinner

Posted on: April 3rd, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Freeman WineryA Message from the Wine Guy

April brings Ken Freeman of Freeman Wines to Brennan’s for an intimate wine dinner. A few tickets remain for this great opportunity to both meet Ken and try the wines. We will be pouring pinot noir from the great vintages of 2007 and 2009, along with some current vintage pinot noir and chardonnay. Ken gets fruit for his wines from some of the best vineyards in California, including Charles Heintzand Keefer Ranch. If you like the wines of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast, or just want to become more familiar with them, here is your chance!

Jason Sherman, Wine Director / Wine Guy

5 Wines to Enjoy from Jason Sherman

Posted on: February 15th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

REPUBLISHED: from Vine Sleuth.

5 Wines to Enjoy from Jason Sherman

Feb15

 

Jason Sherman 5 Wines

In addition to serving as the Sommelier at Brennan’s in Houston, TX, Jason is taking part in the Guest Sommelier series at Phil’s Wine Lounge next Wednesday, February 20.

Jason was interested in wine at a young age and, in college, he was already collecting wine and selling wine at auctions. He earned his level I Sommelier certificate at the age of 21 and hasn’t looked back. Well, except for that short period when he gave corporate America a try, only to run back to the world of wine and restaurants.  And Houston is thankful!

Jason has also worked at Morton’s Steakhouse in the Houston Galleria.  He earned his advanced Sommelier certificate in California when he was 26, and he loves to spend as much time as possible in wine country. He hopes to spend more time in Oregon in the near future.

We’re glad to share Jason Sherman’s selection for 5 Wines to Enjoy on VineSleuth Uncorked.

Jason’s 5 Wines to Enjoy

One white wine under $20 and widely available in the US:

  • Dr. Loosen Riesling

I have long been a fan of German Riesling.  They are both great with food and priced great. This is the one I had while I was learning the area, and has all the characteristics  you want in a great Riesling—flavors of apricot and stone fruit, great acidity and striking minerality. This is a great wine to take to Chinatown for spicy Asian food.

One red wine under $20 and widely available in the US:

  • Ridge “Three Valleys” Zinfandel

The entry level Zinfandel from the experts. These guys have been making great Zinfandels in California for decades, and this wine shows off the skills. Made from vines that age between 20 and 60 years old. Full of lush, ripe, dark fruit and cracked black pepper. What else could you want with Texas BBQ?

One splurge (whatever splurge might mean to you):

  • Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf-de-Pape Blanc “Vieilles Vignes”

Hands down one of the best wines made each year in the world. This wine changed my life about 10 years ago. Balanced and beautiful, this wine goes with almost any food. Full of fresh, vibrant fruit with a finish of salted butter, it makes you want more every sip.

And two others of his own choosing (these may be either easy or hard to find):

  • Domaine Hubert Lamy St. Aubin Blanc

This is an exceptional Chardonnay from Burgundy that really shows off the region and the vintage well. It’s a good bridge into Burgundy for many California Chardonnay lovers.

  • Big Table Farm “Whitehawk” Syrah, Santa Barbara

One of the most underrated varietals around, Syrah has found a home in Santa Barbara county. Full of flavor with notes of cured meat, crushed stone, and raspberry pie.  If most people would just give Syrah a chance, they would love it.

Have you enjoyed any of these wines? Do any sound interesting to you? Tell us what you think.

The Courtyard Bar Introduces New 7-7-7 for 2013

Posted on: January 15th, 2013 by fcasio No Comments

Celebrate the Bounty of Oyster Season at One of Houston’s Iconic Restaurants

Brennans Courtyard Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

What: It’s oyster season, Houston, and what better way to celebrate than with the new 7-7-7 Bar Menu at the Courtyard Bar at Brennan’s of Houston. Kicking off this week, The Courtyard Bar is offering a brand new seasonal menu filled with Executive Chef Danny Trace’s oyster dishes that rock.

Houstonians are invited to The Courtyard Bar to take advantage of the 7-7-7 Menu, which features seven inspired cocktails, wines and bar snacks priced at $7 each, available from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.

Cocktail and menu highlights included:

Hot & Juicy Stolichnaya hot jalapeno infused vodka, pinapple juice, fresh lime juice and agave syrup

Pimm’s Cup Pimm’s No. 1, Sprite and a dash of house sour mix

Crispy Oyster BLT Gulf Coast oysters, Lupe’s bacon mousse & Creole mustard glaze

Chili Fried Oysters cracked corn crusted Texas oysters over charred chili corn sauce

Oyster Rockefeller Moderne “not on the half shell” with stewwed greens and Parisian pernod

Oyster Enchilada corn tortilla, pepper jack cheese, fire roasted tomatillo salsa and Cuervo crema fresca

When: Daily from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Where: The Courtyard Bar at Brennan’s of Houston

Cost: The 7-7-7 Menu features cocktails, glasses of wine and noshes for $7

HOUSTON Modern Luxury shares the scoop on where to sip Champagne

Posted on: December 27th, 2012 by fcasio No Comments
Republished from HOUSTON Modern Luxury. Link included at the bottom.

 

Courtesy of HOUSTON Modern Luxury

 

Photo Courtesy of HOUSTON Modern Luxury

The Hit List: Tiny Bubbles, Big Parties!

by Robin Barr Sussman | Houston magazine | December 21, 2012

New Year’s Eve is all about the Champagne, and serious sippers will want a toast with the most. Whether you’re looking to kick back on a patio, indulge in a formal 4-course feast, hit that chic French spot in the ’hood or pop in to clink glasses at midnight, we’ve got the bubbly beat covered!

1. Creole-spiced Brennan’s (3300 Smith St., 713.522.9711) is boss for that special night out and equally Champagne-worthy for ringing in 2013. Its massive ever-changing wine list sports hundreds of global choices including bubbles by-the-glass, half and full bottles in every price range. It’s all here from the stunning Krug Brut ’98 hovering around $900, to the fine Perrier Jouet Grand Brut under $100, or an excellent California sparkler like Domaine Chandon Etoile Rosé. On NYE, choose the full dinner menu or specials like citrus-glazed red snapper and crispy oysters; smoked salmon and asparagus salad; Creole mustard-crusted Colorado Lamb chops; and Veronica’s Meyer Lemon Meringue pie with blueberry coulis.

2. Steak out Brenner’s on the Bayou (One Birdsall St., 713.868.4444) for a romantic vibe that feels like dining in a swanky glass tree house in the woods. In addition to the steak-heavy menu, there will be a special 4-course menu on NYE ($75-$95, $35 extra for wine pairing) which might include sea bass, a duo of duck, or beef tenderloin and a lobster tail. The al fresco Blue Bar overlooking the lush manicured lawns is tented for cold weather and an awesome place to raise a glass from the stellar list of menu choices. Here’s to Krug Grande Cuvée, Louis Roederer Cristal Brut, or Ruinart Blanc de Blanc!

3. Cha Champagne & Wine Bar (810 Waugh Dr., 713.807.0967), Houston’s only Champagne bar, features a solid list of bubbly from all over the world and also proffers obscure finds like Grower Champagne from small independent growers who produce limited quantities. Laurent-Perrier is sponsoring the NYE party here, so expect a vibrant night with the brut, demi sec and rosé flowing. The Matt Wilhelm Quartet jazz band will be on from 9pm-1am, and every guest receives a glass of Champagne for a midnight toast. For noshing, there will be food specials all night including the signature Laurent-Perrier Champagne donut bread pudding. Sin city!

4. At Tony Vallone’s casual yet sleek Ciao Bello (5161 San Felipe St., 713.960.0333), the sparkling wines are carefully hand selected—sometimes by Tony himself. For your celebration, don’t overlook the very special Italian sparklers like ultra-elegant Bellavista, Francicorta metodo classico; the pretty NV Ferrari Brut Rosé; or bright and balanced NV Scarpetta sparkling rosé made with Pinot Noir. For French Champagne, local wine expert Jeremy Parzen recommends: NV Taittinger Brut, a classic with food due to acidity and superb fruit; NV Henriot Brut Soverain, a sommelier fave due to its true Chardonnay expression; or NV Pierre Peters Cuvée de Reserve Grand Cru, a splurge bottle, “one of the most gorgeous and nuanced Champagnes available in Houston today,” he says. New Year’s Eve, swing to the tunes of jazz singer-pianist Louie Carrington, Jr. along with a pre fixe menu ($55).

5. Tres chic Brasserie 19 (1962 W. Gray St., 713.524.1919) is on the cutting edge when it comes to accessible wine and carries an extensive selection of more 40 sparklers perusable via ipad. Nothing goes better with bubbly than the celebratory oyster, which are shucked fresh on site. Seasonal dinner items include roasted rack of lamb with braised lamb belly; cassoulet with duck confit and house-made sausage; and rainbow trout almandine Meuniere with charred cauliflower. Also expect off-the-menu specials for NYE like a lobster surf & turf or cinnamon bread pudding with pumpkin gelato, salted caramel and candied pecans. Reserve ahead and bask in the glittering decorated space, gratis midnight Champagne toast included!

Source: HOUSTON Modern Luxury