New GTR

•May 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment
I can't wait.

I can't wait.

Sorry for the lack of updates/posts. A new Good Taste Report will surface this Fall. Please feel free to email any press releases, etc.

Thanks for your patience!

Cheers.
-gtr

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Austin Wine Distributors Poll

•April 23, 2009 • 3 Comments

With Southern Wine and Spirits hitting Texas, I was curious to see what GTR readers, that were familiar with wine distribution in the Austin area, thought about distributors overall. Obviously, there are other distributors in the Austin area, but I chose these as the “more knowns”. Please take time to vote. Thanks in advance.

Broadbent Selections Tasting

•April 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A truly warm experience, I recently had the pleasure of hanging out with wine importer Bartholomew Broadbent and Broadbent Selections. The day began with a vertical tasting of Serge Hochar’s Chateau Musar at the Driskill Hotel, reaching back to the ’60s (which I’ll write about separately), followed by a Broadbent Selections Portfolio tasting in the ballroom, siptalk and Ephraim Owens at Vino Vino, Dale Watson at the Continental Club, and the Greyhounds at the Continental Gallery. Talk about great wine, folks, music, and dancing…

Spearheaded in Texas by Riley Gerber of Grape Nutz Wine, the quality of Broadbent’s wines and the sincere people surrounding them is stellar. The Broadbent Selections label gets a GTR Stamp-On-the-Head! Every single wine below is solid and worth buying. The genuine and true people behind the juice remind you what is special and unique about the wine business and how fortunate we are to be in it.

Below is my quick “take” on the wines I tried at the portfolio tasting. I didn’t get a chance to try Dragon’s Hollow, though I wanted to. Both the Musar and portfolio tastings were very well executed. I don’t know why most of these types of portfolio tastings in the industry aren’t more like this. An easy-to-follow, alphabetical note guide that truly goes in order of the wineries? This is a routine procedure, but it is rarely done well. It makes for a much friendlier rhythm, which makes buyers more excited about actually buying… Hats off to Broadbent, Gerber, Virtuoso, the Driskill Hotel, and the wineries.

My order preference.

1. ’02 Louis Guntrum Riesling Auslese Oppenheimer Sacktrager $32 A +9 **** 042009

2. ‘nv Ferreira Tawny Port 20yr. Duque Braganca $69 A+ -5 *****

3. ‘nv Broadbent Madeira Malmsey 10yr. $43 A -2 ****

4. ‘nv Delbeck Brut Heritage $60 A +9 ***

5. ‘04 Guntram Eiswein Penguin Silvaner(or Ries?) (375ml) $59 A +5 ***

6. ’06 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional $100 A -34 ****

7. ’05 Quinta do Crasto Donna Maria Teresa $150 A -36 ***

8. ’07 Machherndl Chard $(?) tl26 A **

9. ’06 Quinta do Crasto Riserva Old Vines $40 A -4 ***

10. ’04 Vilafonte Series M $49 A +13 ***

11. ‘nv Broadbent Madeira Rsv 5yr $23 A -1 ***

12. ‘nv Delbeck Brut Heritage Rose $80 A- -24 **

13. ’04 Vilafonte Series C $67 A -3 ***

14. ‘nv Broadbent Port Auction Rsv $22 A +2 **

15. ’06 Louis Guntrum Riesling Niersteiner Bergkirche Kab $22 A- +2 **

16. ’98 Musar Rouge $50 A- -3 **

17. ’04 Warwick Three Cape Ladies $25 A- -1 **

18. ’02 Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande $19 A- +7 **

19. ’07 Warwick Cab Sauv First Lady $(?) tl24 A- **

20. ’06 Warwick Pinotage Old Bush Vines $20 A +4 **

21. ’08 Weinert Carascal White $14 A- +2 **

22. ’08 Machherndl Grun Velt Steinwand Smaragd $23 A- -1 ***

23. ’06 Warwick Shiraz $20 A- +7 **

24. ’07 Machherndl Grun Velt Steinwand Smaragd $23 A- -4 **

25. ’07 Machherndl Grun Velt Kollmutz Federspeil $19 A- +3 ***

26. ’08 Machherndl Grun Velt Kollmutzt Federspeil $19 A- -1 **

27. ’05 Pago de Larrainzar Red $60 A- -33 *

28. ’07 Quinta do Crasto White $22 A- -3 **

29. ’08 Warwick Sauv Blc $20 A- +3 **

30. ’03 Weinert Malbec $23 A- -4 **

31. ‘nv Ferreira White Port $17 A- +9 **

32. ’04 Musar Cuvee Blanc $19 A- -3 **

33. ’07 Quinta do Crasto Red $20 B+ -4 *

34. ’06 Louis Guntrum Riesling Dry $14 B+ -1 **

35. ‘nv Montsarra Cava $19 B+ -2 **

36. ’08 Spy Valley Sauv Blc $19 B+ -3 **

37. ’05 Weinert Carascal Red $14 B+ +1 *

38. ’07 Spy Valley Riesling $20 A- -4 *

39. ’07 Aresti Merlot $10 A- +3 **

40. ’07 Louis Guntrum Riesling $14 B -5 *

41. ’06 Casa Ferreirinha Esteva $14 B+ = *

42. ’07 Spy Valley Gewurz $20 B+ -5 *

43. ’08 Aresti Carmenere $10 A- +6 **

44. ’07 Aresti Cab Sauv $10 B+ +5 **

45. ’07 Aresti Pinot Noir $10 B+ +4 *

46. ’07 Aresti Gewurz LH 375ml $15 B+ +4 *

47. ’08 Aresti Gewurz $10 B+ +1 *

48. ’08 Aresti Sauv Blc $10 B -1 **

49. ‘nv Broadbent Vinho Verde (’07) $10 A- -1 ***

……………………..

……………………..

WINERY INFO

(Aresti)

(Bodega Weinert)

(Delback, Port, Madeira, Dragon’s, Hollow)

(Ferreira, Casa Ferreirinha)

(Louis Guntrum)

(Machherndl)

(Montsarra Cava)

(Chateau Musar)

(Quinta do Crasto)

(Pago de Larrainzar)

(Spy Valley)

(Vilafonte)

(Warwick)

Free-for-All for Six (4/09)

•April 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Brenham Around the Corner

Brenham Around the Corner

Not blind tasting. Chateau Randle.

My order preference.

1.  ’90 Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico 13.5% $375 A+ -150 **** 041409

—a no brick baby/Pwrfl, dense/blk chry, cassis/Pomerolesque, somehow

2.  ’63 Nieport Colheita 20% $400 A+ -200 ****

—alive & kickin’/just about perfect/swt almond, hazelnut, toffee & caramel

3.  ’77 Dow’s 20% $175 A = ***

—at peak/blueberry, boysenberry, blk pepper, & lingering mocha

4.  ’86 Gaja Sori San Lorenzo 13% $300 A- -140 ***

—crimson/autumn mulch/thin prune/lil past, but still strong

5.  ’00 Fontodi Sorbo 14% $50 A +14 ***

—muscular blk cherry/damp earth, truffles, grandpa’s old leather wallet

6.  ’01 Viader Napa 14% $75 A- -43 *

—light smoked plum and lead/approachable last stop

7.  ’06 Juan Gil Monastrell Jumilla 14.8% $16 B+ = *

—great background music/wood, blackberries, graphite, ripe youth

8.  ’08 Mourgues du Gres Costieres Nimes Galets Roses 13.5%

—light, friendly, & fresh strawberries/raspberry

9.  ’06 Grape Creek Bellisimo 13.5%

—overpriced, but drinkable Califruit TX wine

10. ’97 Fontodi Sorbo 13.5% $65 C -40 corked

La Condesa Austin

•April 16, 2009 • 3 Comments

“Welcome to the Modern Museum of Mexican Street Food”

Following the street food trend of taking traditional dishes and executing them in a modern fashion, La Condesa has created a mania in Austin’s warehouse district. This little sister of the Dallas Victory Park original tries to distance itself from the older, big-haired, sibling; the menu and vibe are very different.

From the cut cinder blocks on the bar wall to the framed steel windows and shrub landscape, this is cool clever modern. Playa de Carmen, anyone? A leg-tease peak into the glassed stairway that leads to the “pretty people” Malverde tequila bar upstairs leaves you wondering if you’ll make it up to Heaven. Though the kitchen towels for napkins and the soundboard ceiling tiles dilute the scene a bit, the tiles do seem to help with the noise. The front row view of the Spaceballs’ Star Destroyer (City Hall) out one window and Teuscher Chocolatier out the other will remind you that Austin is going through a metamorphosis and you are sitting in the center of it. La Condesa is unique for Austin.

There is a serious amount of attention that goes into the flavor of most dishes.

The yellowfin Tuna Tostada is the perfect warm-up exercise, with pickled cucumber, chipotle mayo, and crispy shallots. We might only suggest that they capitalize MAYONAISE on the menu. Though the Mango y Jicama with Shrimp salad is a hit, you might want to wear a bathing suit to wade in the serrano dressing. The Cochinita Pibil Berkshire pork is meticulously tender and you can taste the charcoal. The nonpareil Camarones Al Pastor’s achiote-guajillo chile and grilled pineapple hold a delightfully smoky and sweet balance, though some might say the pineapple is a bit much. Favorite treat is probably the Hongos y Huitlacoche, with wild mushrooms, huitlacoche, oaxaca cheese, epazote (Mexican wormseed seasoning), and truffle oil. Everyone should order this.

There is a heat theme that carries through most of the dishes, almost like there is an over-compensation to prove there is flavor. The ketchup based Vuelve a La Vida “Come Back to Life” ceviche, with the traditional 2 packets of soda crackers on the side, is longing for a plastic kid’s Luby’s bib, a milkshake straw, and most importantly…for seafood. The Acapulco ceviche is a safer bet.

Outside of the bar area, service needs to step it up. On one visit, the waiter had visited our table 4 times and hadn’t noticed that we were all out of water. There were only 2 other tables in the restaurant. Maybe they have to run “out” for water because the dishwasher seems to have issues, too. Not sure if it was intended as hip modern art, but the plates at our table had leftovers from previous guests stuck to it. Service needs to step it up.

The service seems to be stronger in the bar. Lana, the welcoming, spicy, comfortably-informed, bartender believes in what La Condesa is doing and the excitement is contagious. The spirits menu has over 70 tequilas and 10 mezcals, including tequila flights. There are several house specialty cocktails we recommend including the “El Cubico”, “El Guillermo”, and “Alma Blanca”. In place of a margarita, the El Cubico is whole leaf tobacco-infused Sauza Hornitos reposado, Navan vanilla liqueur, lemon, grilled pineapple juice, mescal essence, volcanic saffron-infused salt rim. Can we get an ashtray for this drink? The 4 main infused salt rims drive the cocktails home. The wine list is fairly playful (for Austin) with about 25 wines, ranging from $26 to $80 a bottle. Red or white Sangria is available by the glass or pitcher. On a different dirty dish visit, a Caipirinha glass arrived with a heavy shade of lipstick rim that didn’t match my outfit. After pointing it out to the waitress(who did offer to bring another one, though we were leaving), she didn’t take it off of the bill. Every visit there has been some dishwashing discrepancy.

Ignore the wobbly tables (2 of 3 visits), dirty dishes (which is worse… the fact that the dishes are dirty when they arrive at your table or the fact that the staff doesn’t notice/care?), misplaced dining chairs, imaginary empty water glasses at your table, and you’ve got a hit on your hands. Though not worth the hype, it is probably worth taking the afternoon off from work to take siesta with friends in the bar!

La Condesa Comida y Tequila

Trockenbeerenauslese Elysium Factorie

•March 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment
Happy Orchestra

Happy TBA Orchestra

In transcendental preference.

1. ‘01 Robert Weil Riesling TBA Kiedrich Grafenberg (375ml) $175 A+ -25 *****

—Holy Cow Genius! / return-to-church wine! / tropical yemen, earl grey, spicy peach

2. ‘96 Darting Scheurebe TBA Durkheimer Fronhof 7.5% (375ml) $112 A+ -30 *****

—The first kiss that mattered / dense / clove, creamy, over-ripe peaches

3. ‘02 Alois Kracher Scheurebe #5 TBA Zwischen Den Seen (375ml) $68 A+ +9 ****

—Junior Wells standing on a harpsichord! / sage, cinnamon-honey in a bear hug

4. ‘92 Muller-Catoir Rieslaner TBA Mussbacher Eselshaut (375ml) $122 A+ -42 ****

—smoked bacon-fat, psycho-rich, perfect peach & apricot balance

5. ‘96 Pra Recioto Soave 13.5% (375ml) $68 A -24 **

—lost a lil viscosity, but brilliant nonetheless / lemon, lime, and light potpourri spice

A Greek Nut Afternoon Pairing

•March 17, 2009 • Leave a Comment
My Sunny Almond

My Sunny Almond

An afternoon delight.

Almonds and the search for wine-clapping compliments. Classics and the unknown. Friendly with so many sippers.

Years ago, a friend used to force 3 raw almonds down me a day. It can’t go unsaid without pointing out the evolution from that experience to my over-the-top addiction to Fino Restaurant’s fried anchovy-stuffed olives as an accompaniment to the following concert.

Sweet and bitter.

Sweet – Delicate and slightly sweet. The ones you know. The ones you want. The ones below. Rogue Bitter – More for flavor extracts and orgeat syrup.

What better way to spend the afternoon than in the company of whole, broke, raw, marcona, roasted, and smoked almonds to see who plays best with which wine. Pulling out the exit ramps from the ship of almondland, the chance encounter of the perfect pairing came to the following light. The winners of the tasting all tickled for more!

Beer, with its low acid – ale or pilsner (cheater. is this wine?)

Chard in general, but especially Chablis

Northern Rhone Syrah, especially Cote-Rotie with smoked almonds

Madeira on the richer side, Bual or Malmsey

Port, vintage or tawny. Couldn’t make ruby twinkle.

Sauternes, Barsac, Monbazillac

Sherry, fino or manzanilla, but the fat side works, too

Muscat, Vin Santo

and the king of most partnerships …Champagne.

Calcium, fiber, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin E never hurt nobody. Well… there was that one time.