Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gala at the Fairmont Hotel #DalChildrenThr

Saturday evening before we left for Sonoma, we attended a benefit for Dallas Children's Theater at the Fairmont Dallas. Carol J. Bufford (amazing) was the guest singer at this Cabaret Gala. Because Clampitt Paper is a contributor, we got pretty good seats at a table near the front of the Venetian Room.  
Before the show we attended a cocktail gathering outside the Venetian Room in the lobby and guess who I ran into!

 The Cat in the Hat is on stage now until October 27. It is a must see for little ones! I taught first grade for 12 years and Dr. Seuss was always in my reading lessons. In fact, he has a lot to teach adults as well in my opinion!

After the cocktail hour, we were ushered into the Venetian room where the beautiful tables were adorned with desserts and champagnes, wines, and gifts bags for each attendee. Sweet! Guess who was standing at the door greeting the guests!!!!

Ruth Buzzi-famous actress/comedian on Rowen and Martin's Laugh-In in the 60's. Well, I was very young then, but I do remember her! She was born in Westerly, Rhode Island where Don and I stayed last weekend. Small world!

Anyway, I'm getting to the wines we had that evening. At the cocktail hour, I had a 2011 Acacia Unoaked Chardonnay ($15). Acacia was one of the first California Wineries to establish a reputation for vineyard designated Pinot Noir based on purchasing grapes. Today the winery produces highly-styled wines from single vineyards. It continues to honor the principle that only true reserves are those that undeniably express a distinctive vineyard. This wine is light and crisp, with notes of pear and apple. Easy to drink!

One wine we had in May was a 2011 NIght Harvest Chardonnay ($6) by R. H. Philips in Napa Valley, more specifically Esparto, CA. I could only find one page of a website about this winery, but it's listed in the Napa Valley wine list. Good luck finding it!

I've also had a nice Sauvignon Blanc in the hotel bar one evening after we had dinner. It was a 2011Terre di Gioia Grave del Friuli ($40) a family production of small quantity from the northern hills of italy - bright & lean. Very nice!

I've included the front and back label so you can read the description of the land where this was grown. Sounds romantic! We must make it to Italy!


Sharing Chardonnays and Cabernets! #4 #fearingsdallas #joelgott #RedMareWines

When Don Clampitt asks me where my favorite place to eat is, I always say Fearings! He's taken me there several times and I love it every time. I love downtown Dallas, the Ritz-Carlton is beautiful, and Fearings is a place to enjoy that special occasion with someone you love! 

This is my favorite place to sit in Fearings!
I don't always take pictures of the wines we drink there, but I have two that I'd like to share, and one other Cabernet that I had at my daughter's home in Beaumont this past summer.

Don and I keep crossing paths with Dean lately. I ran into the dry cleaners off Lovers Lane not too long ago, and there was Dean. Don jumped out of the car and ran into the dry cleaners with a bottle of wine for him. It's not too often that a chef/restaurant owner/famous guy goes to pick up his cleaning and comes out with a bottle of wine.

We had had the 2012 Wine Label Competition judge's dinner at Fearings back in the Spring of 2012 and Dean was one of the judges himself. What a wonderful time we had in his private room right off the main dining room! The food was fabulous and the paper menus were very elegant. So a year later, Dean finally gets his bottle of Paper the cleaners!

Last week I was driving into the parking lot of Tom Thumb on University and Inwood and there's Dean and his son! It's just meant to be that Fearings is my favorite place to eat!

So what did we have at Fearings besides fabulous food, an exceptional wait staff, a gorgeous patio, and a beautiful dining room?

2009 Red Mare Cabernet Sauvignon ($46 avg.)  from Napa Valley. "This wine is a ruby color with aromas of cherry, blackberry, raspberry and oak. It's somewhat balanced and has flavours of cherry, blackberry, raspberry, black currant and cedar with a full body. Round texture - Very nice now and will get much better." It should cost way more than it does.

I ordered a 2011 Joel Gott Unoaked Chardonnay ($17)-Monterrey, Napa, and Sonoma! Vines from all three appellations complement each other. I loved this Chardonnay!

The other Gott wine I wanted to share was one I bought in a little town in Southeast Texas that has just been able to have a liquor store in the last few months. I was visiting my two precious, youngest granddaughters, Rayleigh and Adelyn. We cooked one night and wanted a Cabernet Sauvignon that would go with stuffed bell peppers. 

We found a 2010 Joel Gott "815" Cabernet Sauvignon ($18) and it was simply delicious! I would definitely buy this again! "This wine has aromas of plum, raspberry and cherry cola with hints of anise, cocoa, leather and dried herbs. Bright acidity on the front of the palate leads to a complex mid-palate and soft tannins on the finish. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon."

 Minus the cheese, but ready to bake!

Our dessert! An angel food cake, sliced in crosswise layers, filled with a lemon curd, cream cheese filling, with layers of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries! Yummy!


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Doce' Lunas Restaurant and Antiques #KundeEstate

On our June trip to Kenwood, we barely made it into town by dark and the closing of many restaurants. We had made a reservation close to the VRBO home we rented and arrived there just about 20 minutes before closing. Luckily they let us in and fed us (reluctantly).

The waitress took our orders and the chef got busy preparing his last meals of the evening! (I think he had already cleaned up the kitchen and removed his apron!) Seriously! 

We had a great time and enjoyed the first time any of us had been together on a wine trip to Sonoma. With three couples, you know there was going to be some serious wine intake by some people. And it was the first night of the five-day wine trip! Here's what we had that evening:

2012 Mont-Pellier Viognier ($6) from Napa, CA- It is a light to medium body and dry with a creamy texture-crisp and clean with hints of vanilla and fruit. It's won gold medals in wine competitions. I thought it was good. (3 out of 5 stars). Yes, that is right-just $6.

2009 Kunde Cabernet Sauvignon ($24) cellared and bottled by Kunde Family Estate right in Kenwood where we were eating and staying! But we never made it to their winery! That's another trip! I posted a pic of the back label so you can read the description of the wine. I loved it. It can be found on the internet, but is sold out on their website.

The other Cabernet we ordered was a 2010 Rock Hollow from Paso Robles ($17). Flavors of cherry and raspberry lead to hints of tobacco, cedar, and black olive with a soft finish. So good! 


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

#AbacusDallas 2 #RoundPond Buehler Vineyards #Darioushwinery

Abacus Restaurant in Dallas is a wonderful place to dine on contemporary global cuisine or unwind at The Bar. Chef Rathbun's talent in the restaurant business is known world-wide which makes Abacus or any of his other restaurants a desired reservation for any and all occasions. I love their lobster-scallion shooters as an appetizer while waiting to be seated. 

We ate there one evening this summer and I'll share with you the wines we had. The first was a Round Pond Estate 2012 Rutherford-Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($24). "The hallmark white peach is accompanied by apricot, citrus zest and a confectionery meringue. The palate is very persistent, dominated by a fresh and bright entry, with a great acid pop that lingers with the taster for over a minute. Flavors of honeydew melon, lemon grass, and kiwi play well together to finish off this wine." 

Also pictured is a 2011 Buehler Vineyards Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley ($16). "The  Russian River Chardonnay displays abundant floral/ stone fruit aromas lightly accented by toasty, graham cracker sur-lie qualities.  The mouthfeel is creamy and full but the natural acidity of the Russian River fruit carries this velvet textured package to a long, clean finish."

Both of these wines are amazing.

Don had a glass of 2011 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon which I cannot find on the internet anywhere, even on their website. I uploaded a pic of a similar bottle. This wine is outstanding and is very expensive by the bottle (well I think it is)! 

Some of their wines are $95 and some are $225. You form your own opinion. But it's excellent! We drive by the estate all the time when we are in Sonoma, but Don says he's been there. He prefers small wineries and I don't blame him. I've come to appreciate the same thing. A little known winery can really surprise you. It's like finding a diamond in the rough!


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sharing Chardonnays and Cabernets! #3 #NewtonVineyard #DALcontemporary

I've decided to include Cabernets in these Chardonnay posts. One reason is that we are likely to order one of both, so it's only fitting that I mention the Cab too! In May, we attended Bespoke at the Dallas Contemporary. This is an annual event held to support contemporary art, learning and the Dallas community. If you click on Bespoke, you can read all about it, see some of the amazing pieces that were auctioned that night, read about the caterers, and the entire event. It was fabulous with the most unique entertainment of lyrical dancers that roamed among the crowd posing in unique positions or just standing as still as a statue.

One of the wines served was  2011 Newton "Red Label" Chardonnay from Napa County ($25). 

This wine has fruit notes from melon to green apple, with fresh fig and pear and hints of vanilla. I really enjoyed it! 

The Cabernet Sauvignon that we enjoyed was a 2010 Terrazas de los Andes Reserva  ($19-20) from Mendoza, Argentina. Winemaker's notes-"Very intense, dark red with violet shades. Intense and complex. Notes of rich red fruit together with spices, red pepper and rosemary combine harmoniously with vanilla and caramel nuances. Rounded with a great structure and concentration. The sweet tannins portray a smooth, vivacious wine with a full body, whilst the fruit and spices display an intensely aromatic bouquet." I thought it was very good, one that I would buy to drink at home.

We enjoyed the night with silent and live auctions, old friends and new aquaintances, and wonderful contemporary art!

Enjoy these two wines!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sharing Chardonnays #2 #CakebreadCellars #Coppola_Wines #simplynakedwines #CasaMarinaKW #SunsetKeyWestin

This summer we vacationed in Key West for a few days and we had three Chardonnays in three different places on the island. One was at our resort, Casa Marina, a premier place to escape. This hotel is listed in the National Register for Historic Places and has hosted many tycoons, dignitaries, artists, and tourists like us since the 1920's! It's simply beautiful in an elegant way- a nice "house by the sea"!

In the lobby of this resort, there is a small bar (not the only one though), to relax and grab a coffee, beer, or wine. One evening before we left to go to a restaurant, we tried a 2010 Francis Ford Coppola Votre Sante', a California Chardonnay ($14). If you look at the label, you will see it says a "Burgundian-style wine" from a California grape. To the winemaker, this means a wine that has a little higher acidity which helps with the aging process, and also a little lower alcohol-a wine that pairs extremely well with food. This wine was named in honor of Francis Ford Coppola's grandmother who would always say before toasting "A' votre sante' meaning to your health!" The winemaker's notes are so poetic, I didn't even try to describe it myself!

One night we ate dinner at the Sun-Sun, an outside restaurant on the beach. It was the middle of July and the weather was beautiful. Casa Marina has over 1,000 feet of beach front property with a restaurant, a beach side massage tent, places to play outdoor sports, have weddings, relax in hammocks, and two swimming pools with an open bar in between the two! With dinner I ordered a 2010 Cakebread Chardonnay ($40) from Napa Valley, a wine with a light straw color, lightly buttery (I don't like a lot of buttery taste), creamy and citrusy, and a spicy taste. A fabulous wine that I will definitely have again.

Our last night in Key West we rode the ferry to Sunset Key, a Westin property on a secluded 27-acre island across from Key West. It's quite the tropical paradise for the sophisticated traveler. We ate at Latitudes, the only restaurant on the island. 

Of course, I think we all had seafood and one of the wines I tried was a Simply Naked Chardonnay. I never saw the bottle, but found one on the website along with tasting notes. This wine is crisp, fresh, and fruit forward. Citrusy and pear notes, with flavors of melon, fig and a touch of honey according to the winemaker. I would drink it again for sure!

Key West is a fun place to visit! I think one day I'd like to try out that secluded island for sure! The water is a gorgeous turquoise blue anywhere you look in the keys. A true paradise right in our own backyard! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sharing Chardonnays! #DiggsTacoShop #dreaming_tree

The other day I was perusing my wine journal I began about six months ago, and realized I've tasted several Chardonnays in those months. I realize a lot of people love Chardonnays and some don't. So if you are one that loves this white wine, then you'll want to keep reading. I will also feature the restaurant in which I tasted the wine. By tasted, I mean "had a glass or two". Now, Don will sometimes order a Chardonnay different than me and let me decide which one I truly want to drink. He knows what I like and then sometimes I totally confuse him by the decision I make! 

Diggs Taco Shop in the Park Cities (Dallas) has the best tacos in town (I think). I order the same thing every time I eat there-one braised free-range chicken taco and one shredded beef taco with cilantro rice and black beans. Their chips and salsa are to die for and the hamburger is sooo delicious! With that order I always ask for a Chardonnay!

This is a 2011 Dreaming Tree Chardonnay, Central Coast ($15). Winemaker's notes-"the fruit jumps out of the glass and reminds you of roasted pear or baked apple pie. Big fruit and brown spices that are backed by a distinct Central Coast citrus note. The entry coats your mouth with these great flavors. Easy to enjoy, this wine will bring the coastal wine adventure right to your home. Delicious on a warm summer night with grilled seafood, seafood-and-chicken paella, fresh fava bean salad, or buttered radishes and smoked salt. 

Check out Diggs and Dreaming Tree Chardonnay! Both great choices!

Monday, October 14, 2013

#MothDallas also known as Meddlesome Moth

Meddlesome Moth on Oak Lawn has to be about the coolest place to eat and their food is amazingly unique. Small plates to share, healthy foods-what more can you ask for! Beer! That's right-they are known for their beer selections and although I don't drink the stuff, I can respect those who do. 

Now their wine list isn't very long, but who cares-after eating their food and having a few glasses of wine-I'm good! Here's what we've had recently at the Moth!

The bottle on the left is a Eberle 2011 Viognier Mill Road Vineyard ($23) from Paso Robles. 90 points, very highly recommended, won lots of awards. 

The bottle in the middle is a 2011 Cordier Bourgogne Blanc Vieilles Vignes ($23) from France. He is one of the hottest winemakers in Burgundy. Check out the You Tube if you speak French. I don't! Deliciously well balanced, medium light yellow gold, full mouth, good fruit, gentle finish. 

The bottle on the right is a Melville 2010 Chardonnay Verna's Vineyard ($23). "Boasting a bright yellow gold hue, fresh aromas of pineapple rind, dried cilantro, sourdough, and lemon meringue spring from the glass. Other notes of almond skin, key lime, honeycomb, and fresh ricotta drift in the background. The palate is bright and vibrant while ending round and complete-winemaker's notes!"

Mid September, we all went down to the Moth for a late night dinner, and I had the following wines- 
2010 Valle las Nencias Malbec Reserve Mendoza ($15). 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.  "The 2010 Malbec Reserve has a floral nose with crushed violets infusing the creme de cassis fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent tannins, fine acidity and an insistent grip on the minerally finish. Again, this is a thoughtfully crafted Malbec that is harmonious and complex."  


The last wine I had there that night ( and mind you I am not the only person drinking these wines) was a 2010 Windsor Sonoma Chardonnay ($25) from the Russian River Valley. 

Meddlesome Moth (such a fun name) is a cool, hip place. GO check it out for yourself for lunch, dinner, or whatever! You'll love it!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Remembering Our Wine Dinner at #jimmysfoodstore #dallas

I get regular emails from Jimmy's Food Store located at Bryan and Fitzhugh letting me know of events such as wine dinners. This is one mailing list you should be on because these monthly wine dinners are so much fun and the food is amazing. 

We went to one of these dinners about a year ago and had the best time. Upon arrival, you check in and as soon as everyone else has, you shuffle to the back room behind the meat counters. This room makes you feel as though you are in an Italian bistro somewhere back in time. Tables are dressed with dishes and wine glasses galore. Foods such as cheeses and meats, fruits and olives, along with unique crackers and breads are in the center of the tables. Wines are sitting around the room and you hear someone speaking in Italian, which is probably the visiting winemaker.

Introductions are made and the tastings begin! No one at the tables knows who they are sitting with unless you brought another couple with you. In our case, we knew no one. But as the night goes by, you become fast friends.

Il Feuduccio  Winery was the guest winery for that evening. What a story they told about  the vineyards and living on family tradition and innovation. Their website can give you more information plus there's a gallery of photos of this beautiful estate.

One of the wines we tasted was a Pecorino made from that grape which is an ancient grape dating back before the 1800's. It is a white grape producing a light straw yellow color wine with aromas of green apple, lime, flowers, melon and mint. It tasted of ripe fruits and honey.

The bottle on your right is a Montepulciano D' Abruzzo Fonte Venna. This is the winery's calling card wine, the one you meet first! Venna is a stream that runs through the appellation providing local farmers sustenance for centuries. "This wine is an intense ruby color, with an elegant and fruity bouquet. It has spiciness and good body on the palate."

Another wine we tasted that night was a Cerasuolo D' Abruzzo. This wine is their first rose' and it was excellent. As you can see the bottle is empty! The color was a cherry red, the aroma pleasing fine, fruity and intense, the taste was dry, pleasing with a pleasant almond finish. I love almonds!

Here's the bottle of wine we won that night and some pretty happy people! By the way, these wines were very reasonable ($-20's).

Enjoy your wines tonight, whatever they may be!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

#RexsSeafood #OrinSwift #BurgessCellars #AmiciCellars #GaineyVineyard #MessengerWines1 #ConsilienceWine

After returning from Rhode Island, I began to think about seafood continuously, which also reminded me of a favorite place to eat not too far from where we live. If you crave seafood such as I do, you have to check out Rex's Seafood on Lovers Lane. It's casual dining, no stuffiness, and the best seafood market in my opinion. You name it, they have it with just about any letter of the alphabet. Fish, shellfish, lobster scallops, crabmeat, crawfish, sauces and marinades, soups and stocks, and dips and salads! Whew!

 I especially love the way they display the specials of the day or what they are featuring in the way of vegetable sides, oysters, and wines on a colorful chalkboard.

We eat there pretty often, so much that one of the owners always comes by the table to visit. They especially love Cullum, Don's son, who loves the oysters! And he even scores free desserts sometimes!

Speaking of wines, we have had several that we love. I've never had the same wine while dining there and I like that because it gives me a chance to try several kinds of wines that I've never heard of. 

This is a 2011 Mannequin ($30) by Orin Swift from Rutherford, CA. It is a white blend of Chardonnay, Viognier, Semilon, Muscat and Marsanne. The label is very unique as is the wine. With so many grapes from so many locations, they strive to blend with perfection. Nice job guys!

The next wine is a 2008 Vintage Burgess Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($38). It is supposedly the best Napa Cab some people have tasted. Why the low price? The owners have priced their wine according to the time they bought they land back in 1972. This wine is bold, aromatic, and deeply flavored. One you'll enjoy!

 Another Cabernet Sauvignon we've had at Rex's is a 2010 Olema ($23) from Sonoma bottled by Amici Cellars. This is a blend of 93% Cab and 7% Merlot, which gives it a velvety touch. Very nice wine!

The next wine is a white wine from Napa called The Messenger White Wine Number One ($16) produced and bottled by Art+Farm Wine in Ukiah, CA. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, and Reisling. "If you have the confidence to taste something original, you will be rewarded with each sip." I certainly was!

Another Chardonnay I tried one evening was a 2009 Gainey Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills($22) from Santa Ynez, CA. This wine is dry, crisp and refreshing. It opens with a lemon curd and vanilla oak aroma, with flavors of pineapple, creme brûlée, and pear. Very good!

One wine I've had there is a 2011 Borgo Conventi Pinot Grigio  ($11) from Italy. "This is a medium-bodied, dry, juicy, white wine with white pear, honeysuckle, green melon and minerality"-winemaker's notes. I loved it!

The last wine I'll share is a 2011 Consilience Grenache Blanc ($28) from Santa Barbara, CA. They named it after the wine dog, Mambo. It opens up beautifully in the glass. Loved this!

 Well, that's all from Rex's Seafood! Looks like we need to head out the door for more seafood soon! Enjoy!