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Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category

Upcoming Fall Wine Dinners

Posted on: September 28th, 2012 by fcasio No Comments

By Jason Sherman

Brennan’s will be hosting a few wine dinners in coming months, each with a different focus on certain varietals. For Pinot Noir and Chardonnay lovers, Domaine Serene will be in town October 4 to share some back vintage wines from their own cellar in Oregon along with some new favorites. Founded in 1989 by Ken and Grace Evenstad, Domaine Serene will be starting its 23rd harvest any day now (literally). The winery production includes 95% Pinot Noir with small amounts of Chardonnay and Syrah…both of which will be poured for the dinner. As always, Chef Danny Trace and I have put together an adventrous menu to compliment the wines perfectly. I even spoke with Danny into making rattlesnake chili. This will be one of the smallest and most intimate wine dinners I’ve done at Brennan’s, so get your tickets fast!!!

Early November will bring Jones Family Vineyards from Napa Valley to Brennan’s. For those who convet great Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc, this dinner is for you. Established in 1996, the winery sits on a hillside between Calistoga and St. Helen in the northern  Napa Valley. This hillside exposure and location provide the ideal combination of soil and climate for the development of world-class Cabernet. Vineyard manager David Abreu (Colgin, Staglin, Araujo) and winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown (Outpost, Revana) have worked together to produce three outstanding wines; a Cabernet, a Cabernet blend called “The Sisters”, and one of the best Sauvignon Blancs I have ever had. I will be pouring from a few magnums, and maybe even some half bottles, for the dinner.

Texas Wine

Posted on: May 25th, 2012 by jsherman No Comments
Jason in and around California

Jason in and around California

Texans are proud of everything they do…how they talk, what they eat, and even what they drink. Unknown to many of us, a handful of wineries and vineyards in Northern California are either owned or operated by Texans (many of them Houstonians). A large amount of these wines are scattered across the Brennan’s wine list, and numerous others around town.

One of the more well known Houstonians to be involved in the wine industry is Lee Hudson. Located in Carneros, Hudson Vineyards has been farming and selling fruit to Failla, Kistler, Arietta, Plumpjack, Ramey and Patz and Hall for years…with most bottling their own “Hudson” label. Lee also makes his own chardonnay (that you HAVE to try), syrah and red blend he calls “Pick Up Sticks” under the Hudson Vineyards name.


Dr. Madaiah Revana, a Houston Cardiologist, now has two wineries…one in St. Helena of the Napa Valley, and one in the Red Hills of Dundee, Oregon. His Napa Cabernet is made under the guidance of Thomas Brown (who also makes Outpost, Rivers-Marie, Wallis Estate) and has become a quick cult favorite. Alexana, his Oregon property, is producing some of the best Pinot Noirs and Rieslings in the state. Lynn Penner-Ash, of Penner-Ash fame, has been making these wines since its inaugural vintage.

Michael and Anne Stewart of Houston have been making some great wines out of both Sonoma and Napa for years as well.  After purchasing vineyards in 2000, they employed the help of winemaker Paul Hobbs and put out one of the best pinot noirs to come out of Russian River Valley.

Many other wineries like Palmaz, Laetitia and Fog Crest have ties to Texas, and Houston, and make stand out wines year in and year out. Most of these wines can be enjoyed at Brennan’s, but also look for them at other locally owned restaurant and wine bars.



Duckhorn Wine Dinner

Posted on: February 29th, 2012 by fcasio No Comments

Thanksgiving and Wine

Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by jsherman 2 Comments

Forget the idea that THE Thanksgiving meal has to have the perfect pairings to go with it. This plan is not only counterproductive, but  just plain difficult. If your Thanksgiving meal is anything like those of my family, anything and everything ends up on the table.

The best plan of attack is diversity and balance. The two things I always remember are pairing sweet with sweet, and making the most of the bridge ingredients (bacon, stuffing, etc.). The wine you serve should be as sweet as the plate sitting next to it. Late harvest Chardonnays and numerous Rieslings pair well with many classic Thanksgiving dishes such as sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Pie and Quail Crepe

Brennan's Bandera Quail & Chanterelle Mushroom Crepe and Cardamom Spiced Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients such as bacon, lemon, mushrooms and tomatoes will surely be plentiful, so stick with a nice Pinot Noir, Syrah or even Grenache with a mushroom or bacon stuffing. Syrah is definitely one of my favorite wines to have at Thanksgiving.

Try a Chardonnay with a lemon butter sauce or a lemon and thyme accented side dish. These ingredients might not be the focus of any dish, but serve as a great way to sneak a good wine pairing in. Two of my favorite wineries are linked below…you will find great Chardonnays, Pinot Noir and some of the best Syrahs made in the U.S.

www.FaillaWines.com          www.CopainWines.com


Celebrity Chef Tour Recap

Posted on: October 10th, 2011 by fcasio No Comments

In case you missed it, here are the highlights from the Celebrity Chef Tour featuring our very own, Commander’s Palace family of restaurants:

Brennan’s of Houston: Danny Trace   —   Commander’s Palace: Tory McPhail

Cafe Adelaide: Chris Lusk  —    Bistro Alex: Roland Soza

“Compressed” Oyster & Caviar – Chef Tory

Fresh Gulf Coast oysters “compressed” in crushed citrus & champagne with pickled cucumber, fennel, red pepper, Prosecco and Cajun ghost pepper caviar

Conspire Sauvignon Blanc

Butternut Squash Consomme – Chef Chris

Housemade goats cheese and goat andouille dumpling

Failla Viognier

Braised Oxtail & Foie Gras Terrine – Chef Roland

Oak Hollow farm greens and duck cracklin biscuit with Hudson Valley foie gras & cranberry vinaigrette

Chateau Ste Michelle Austral GSM

Bone Marrow Roasted Flounder – Chef Tory

Fire roasted Gulf flounder stuffed with wild shrimp & blue crab over fricassee of tasso and autumn mushroom with a rich seafood & white truffle broth

Domaine Serene Everstand Reserve Pinot Noir

Cafe Brulot Gilled Antelope Chop – Chef Danny

Broken Arrow Ranch Nilgai Antelope, baby mustard green custard, roasted black garlic & elk sausage with Froberg’s Farm purple hull peas and a Hill Country black cherry & jalapeno jelly

Paraduxx Zinfandel/Cabernet Franc Blend

Louisiana Fix Gateau de Sirop – Chef Chris

Green & Black’s white chocolate, Creole cream cheese mousse and buttermilk caramel

Grgich Hills “Violetta” Dessert Wine

Our boys who made it all happen!

For more images of the evening, please visit our Photo Album on our website.

California Viognier

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by fcasio 1 Comment

By: Jason Sherman

As the year rolls on and seasons change, my mind, and tastes, usually start to gravitate to red wine. But this year I am still stuck on white wine for the time being…and one white wine in particular, Viognier.

One of the most underrated and under appreciated wines around, Viognier is truly a white wine for everyone. Its roots go back to France, with stories of Romans taking the varietal up the Rhone river and planting it where they landed. Nearly extinct as early as the 1960’s, viognier is now common not only France but also Australia and California.

California viognier is quickly becoming a mainstay on many wine lists, including mine here at Brennan’s. Known for its floral aroma — a mix of honeysuckle, lychee nuts, peaches and apricots — viognier smells like a muscat or Riesling on steroids. Color and aroma would suggest a sweet wine, but viognier is mostly dry and fruit forward in nature, offering flavors of almond, peach, ripe pears and spice. With its ability to pair well with such a variety of foods, viognier is definitely a wine you should seek out and try…at least until it cools down and red wine is king again.


FUN FACT: Viognier is a genetic cousin of Nebbiolo (which is used to make Barolo and Barbaresco).