Sunday, July 31, 2016

Taste of Bordeaux "In Celebration of Wine" Day 1-2

April 12, 2016
We began our trip with a two night stay in Paris, the magical "City of Light". We enjoyed a panoramic daytime and nighttime tour of the city's top sights, such as the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, and the Louvre just to name a few.

The Eiffel Tower
Louvre's iconic glass pyramid
Montmartre, Sacre-Coeur Basilica
We spent time walking the streets of Paris, shopping the fabulous boutiques and eating the wonderful foods outside at quaint French bistros. We toured many chateaus, churches, and wineries. A high speed train took us to Bordeaux, the capital of Aquitaine in Southwestern France. It is one of the world's undisputed wine capitals.  We boarded our river cruise chip, AmaDolce by AmaWaterways. That's where all the wine tasting begins and I will share with you the cities we toured and the wines we tasted. 

After boarding our ship that we would take us on the cruise for the next 7 nights, we met in the lounge to meet all the staff and guests. We were served these wines.

2012 Château Dubois Gramont Bordeaux $12
2015 Château Belle Cure Bordeaux $11

We only went to one Starbucks the whole two weeks! Check out the adorable cups and notice the pain au chocolat. I had a least one every day! Yes, I paid for it!
Day 2 will be on the La Garonne, April 15-16.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

2016 Clampitt Paper Judges Wine Dinner at Oak #OakDallas

 This year, Clampitt Paper held its 5th Wine Label Competition and opened it 
up to all of the markets where Clampitt Paper has a presence (DFW, Austin, 
Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma). Coinciding with the 75th Anniversary,
Don thought 2016 would make the perfect year for the best Wine Label Competition ever!
Don developed his passion for great wine many years ago. He traveled to the California Wine Country and in talking with wine maker and making friends, he found a was to combine two of his passions-paper and wine.

In 2003, Clampitt Paper held its first ever Clampitt Wine Label Competition, inviting graphic designers and artists in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to submit a unique design for the first ever Clampitt Family Wine. After much support and participation from the design and print community in their first competition, Don decided to continue holding the competition.

2006, 2009, and 2003 Winner Labels

2012 Wine Label Winner-We used this for our wedding gifts!

Before the winner was revealed, the judges and important friends and family attended a fabulous meal at Oak Dallas

Private room for the event

Champagne, cocktails, and the most delicious hors d'oeuvres were passed to all the guests. Executive Chef, Joel Harrington came out to greet us all and tell about his experiences in cooking and running Oak. 

We had several wines introduced to us by our friend and sommelier, Aaron Benson, who was also one of the guest judges. Each one of these wines were amazingly delicious!

2012 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District Napa Valley.
The 2013 is $126, so I'm guessing this is $110!

2010 E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage, Rhone, France
This is a Syrah ranging from $24 to $35.

2013 Pinot Noir, Thea's Selection, Lemelson Vineyards, Carlton, Oregon in the Willamette Valley $30

2013 Ramey Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, Healdsburg, California $40

2014 Argyros Santorini Assyrtiko $22
Assyrtiko is an indigenous grape variety from Santorini, Greece.  It is a dry white wine that is the second most desired wine from the region.

2013 Acumen Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $40?
The website does not show it's available. 

We had a wonderful time with everyone and now here's the winner of this year's wine label contest!

Vintage Max (That's Don's dad) by Brian McAdams. He gets to travel to Sebastopol with us this November to bottle the wine! Woohoo!

Moondance Cellars, here we come!

Vickie and Don Clampitt @ Oak

Friday, July 22, 2016

New York Trip/National Stationary Show

Early May 2016 took us to New York for a weekend trip mainly for paper reasons, but not for Gayle and I. Meredith and Don attended a stationary show at the Javits Center. They said the show was fabulous and worth attending for sure. Hopefully they both obtained some great information, made many new connections, and possibly some future business with some of the exhibitors they met. 
While they were busy with paper, Gayle and I were busy window shopping and walking to burn off what we would eat later in the evenings. 

The first night we all dined at Balthazar's, a fabulous French restaurant in Soho.

Here are the French wines we had that evening!

2012 Clos de la Cure, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru $40

2011 Chateau Moulin de Tricot Margaux $40

The next day we saw a Broadway musical that was a blast from the past. When I was very young I loved Carole King and still do today!

That evening we dined at Gemma at the Bowery Hotel. Fabulous Italian food and wine.

2013 Domaine des Captives, Cuvée des Oliviers Rosé $25

2013 Simčič Cabernet Sauvignon from Italy $12

2011 Fattoria di Basciano I Pini from Italy $31
This is mainly Shiraz, Merlot, and Cabernet.

And last but not least is my favorite-2014 Soris Venezia Giulia Chardonnay from Italy $23

We had a fabulous Italian meal! The best one I think in NYC!

Some last minute shopping in Saks Fifth Avenue!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mother's Day 2016 DCC

Mother's Day this year took us to the Dallas Country Club, my favorite place to hangout on a lazy day like this. We had already attended church the night before, which left us an open spot to attend the feasts of all feasts at the club. We had a 10:00 reservation for brunch for Don's stepmom and me.

I think we were the first people to arrive because later there wouldn't be a photo like this! I didn't take photos of the buffet. This page would be too long. Here is the wine we had, which was a surprise to us all.

2014 Sonoma-Cutrer, exclusive to Dallas Country Club $100
This Private Select is a single barrel chosen for its exquisite Les Pierres fruit characteristics. This exclusive wine is specially crafted by their winemakers to express the distinctive qualities of unfined, unfiltered Chardonnay that captures the essence of Sonoma-Cutrer. 

The food and beverage director/general manager of the club, Marc Moulinet, gave it to us at the buffet to try for a "Mother's Day" gift! Sweet! And it was a wonderful pairing with our meal. Thank you DCC for purchasing this private select Chardonnay for the club. We really appreciate the choice you made!

Peonies at our house!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Avril Taylor Wine Dinner #austin_pitzer

This past April, after returning from France, we had the pleasure of an invitation to a wine dinner hosted at Mercat Bistro by Avril Taylor Wines.

First of all, I love Mercat Bistro, not only because it is a French bistro, but because their food and wines are fabulous. Not to mention the romantic location downtown in the Vickery Park area on Harwood.

The outside dining is just as wonderful as the inside and live music is always there on Tuesday evenings.

Domaine Carneros Sparkling Wine

We were greeted by family members that Don has known for a long time.

And a glass of sparkling wine!

2011 Avril Taylor Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $52
2014 Number Thirteen Chardonnay, Napa Valley $38

Those attending the dinner were the first to taste their new vintages not yet released!

2009 Avril Taylor Cabernet Sauvignon, NapaValley $52

Don and Dennie

Thank you for inviting us to this lovely wine dinner. Your wine is amazing and your family is precious!

Please link to any of their wines to order them. They are totally worth it! 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Rancho Loma in Talpa, Texas

In the middle of nowhere, there is a secret getaway from the Metroplex that I found out about in a travel magazine that we get twice a year! I thought it would be a fun surprise for Don's birthday and our anniversary to take a short weekend trip. So this past February 14 we drove west to Coleman, Texas. About three miles out of this tiny town we arrived at

As I recall there are only five rooms, one being a king. That would be the one on the end where all the narrow rectangular windows are. The owners are Robert and Laurie. He was a photographer in Dallas, and she was the chef when we were there. That was her last weekend to prepare meals for the guests. They now have a chef.

The kitchen where the fabulous food is prepared for the small group of people. They are always booked either for dinner or overnight guests. So call way ahead to get a reservation.

The rooms are small, simple, sleek, and clean. 

The "restaurant" on the property!

The pool out back of the house above!

Thank you to these birds we had amazing eggs the next morning!

We brought our own wine, but Robert let us try this Texas Zinfandel!

We enjoyed our time away from the city and work!