Aviary Wine Bar and Kitchen just re-opened after a remodel and extensive over-haul with expanded kitchen and seating. Marco Fiorilo, owner, and Alex Bell, beverage director, come on the show to talk about how they are connecting with the Austin public. Their wine list tries to bring guests out of their comfort zones, experiment with new wines, and learn a little something new (wines from Macedonia?). Plus, they have just launched the Aviary Wine School which features humorous and enticing themed classes for every level, such as Skin on Skin (Orange wine class). We couldn't talk about it on the show, but their prices are really good, too! Check them out!
On today's show, I'm joined by Austin wine industry veterans, Karen Dante and John Duncan. Karen is wine buyer at King Liquors on Burnet and John is an independent distributor sales agent representing several portfolios. They have witnessed the Austin wine scene evolve since the 90s, and both have unique perspectives on how Austin is changing and what to expect for 2018! Spoiler alert: they don't think I'm going to have my wishes of desert wines explode in popularity.
Tune in and see how your tastes match up!
Steve Warner, President and CEO of the Washington State Wine Commission, comes on the show to talk about where the Washington State wine industry is at in 2018. Over 900 wineries, 55,000 acres, and a lot of high quality wine! Steve, comes from such a privileged perspective of knowing and representing the image of ALL wineries. We get into what the particular regions are all about, and how their branding themselves, comparing the uniqueness of the state's growing conditions to those of other iconic regions, and so much more!
Stuart Thomajan, owner of the Chameleon Group, and Sterling Ridings, Chef and Partner, come on the show to talk about the highly anticipated opening of Guild. The Chameleon group is responsible for the Austin dining hot spots Swift's Attic and Wu Chow, and with early March as the slated opening date, Guild will fill the niche of top-notch seafood. Chef Ridings gets to spread his wings and break boundaries, and the seafood friendly wine list and extensive cold bar will quickly become an Austin staple!
More info: www.guildaustin.com
On the first episode of 2018, we catch up with Maddie Richards, Sales Director, of Rotie Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. We talk about what makes Washington State unique and such a good value, and the relatively new AVA (wine region) of the Rocks of Milton-Freewater. Rotie was started by geologist Sean Boyd in 2007 with the first year of fruit coming from their estate vineyard in 2013. But, they're already making waves with their Rhone blends that reference the various styles coming from the Rhone, France. Check out all the good stuff here!
Managing Editor of StarChefs, Will Blunt, and Steven Dilley, featured Sommelier and owner of Bufalina Pizzaria, come on the show to talk about the upcoming Rising Stars awards on Dec 13th. We talk all about the Cava and Caviar reception, the challenges of pairing wines with 18 different dishes from all the featured chefs and culinary innovators, and what it means for a national publication to be highlighting the food scene of Austin and San Antonio! Proceeds go to the Austin Food and Wine Alliance!
Check out more info: www.starchefs.com/risingstars
Federico Lombardo di Monte Iato runs the Sicilian winery Firriato. He comes on the show to talk about how far Sicily has from its recent history of supplying bulk wine to Northern Italy and France. I learned a ton from Federico, from the various zones of western Sicily and even the island of Favagnana to the mountain wines of Etna. If you can't bask in under the Sicilian Sun, may as well listen to this podcast and dream about it!
Olive and Anthony Hamilton Russell, owners of South African wineries Ashbourne, Hamilton Russell, and Southern Right, come on the show to talk about their little nook of the Cape South Region called Hemel-en-Aarde. They are pushing the boundaries of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, understanding their vineyards and soils, and garnering attention world-wide to put South African Pinot and Chard on the map. We also have insightful conversation around Pinotage, Sauvignon Blanc, and so much more. Check it out!
I welcome sommeliers Rania Zayyat and Chris Kelly on the show to field Thanksgiving wine questions from the Austin public and beyond. Rania and Chris have tons of experience in top Austin restaurants and breakdown their classic turkey pairings as well as some non-traditional ones that might bring us out of our comfort zone. How does smoking vs deep frying vs roasting a turkey change the pairing? Check out the show for their commentary, and here are some producers and wines that they recommend:
Rania and Chris's consulting company: www.vintelwine.com
Wine recommendations we talk about: Riesling- A.J. Adam, Julian Haart, Fritz Haag, Willi Schaefer.
Gewürztraminer: Domaine Ostertag and Domaine Weinbach from Alsace
Moscato d'Asti: La Spinetta 'Bricco Quaglia'
Bugey-Cerdon: Patrick Bottex, sparkling red (delish)
Piedmont: GD Vajra Rosso & Langhe Nebbiolo, Roagna Dolcetto d'Alba
Northern Rhone: Andrea Calek 'Babiole', Franck Balthazar, Hervé Souhaut Syrah and Gamay
Texas Wines: William Chris Pét-Nat, Doug Lewis Tempranillo, Cruz de Comal, Calais Roussanne
Vin de Liquor: Macvin du Jura: Jean-François Ganevat & François Rousset-Martin
On this week's show, we talk Prosecco with Alessandro Samogin from Borgoluce in the Valdobbiadene. He grew up on the property and his wife is now the winemaker; they grow all their food for the restaurant and estate as well as produce all their electricity on site. What a crazy operation! We talk about how Valdobbiadene is unique and special, how Glera is king for them, and how there is now becoming awareness of the Rive (similar to cru). And, so much more!
Messina Hof, founded in 1977, is currently making 90 different wines from 33 varieties, wow! Paul and Karen Bonarigo, second generation owners, come on the podcast to talk about the evolution of Texas wine, the history and future of Messina Hof, and so much more. Check it out!
We're continuing to interview Texas winemakers who are innovating and raising the bar in celebration of October being Texas Wine Month. Doug Lewis of Lewis Wines is certainly positioned in the vanguard and has his finger on the pulse of what is really going both in the Hill Country and the High Plains. I always enjoy chatting with Doug, and I'm sure you're enjoy listening!
Continuing to feature Texas wineries during Texas Wine Month, we welcome on Jennifer McInnis, general manager of Bending Branch Winery. We have a great conversation about some of the varieties that Bending Branch champions, Tannat and Picpoul at the top of the list. They also use some innovative winemaking techniques, such as Cryo-maceration and Flash Detente. Check out what it's all about!
As continued coverage of Texas Wine Month, we catch up with Ben Calais at his winery in the Hill Country. This was a great conversation about this year's harvest, his focus on the Bordeaux varieties, how Ben is coaxing the most flavor out of his grapes, and so much more! Ben has a cool thing going on in his underground cellar, selling only direct to consumer, and cultivating a strong following! Santé!
We kick off our coverage of October as Texas Wine Month with January Wiese, Executive Director of the Hill Country Wineries Association. Then, we hear from Lewis Dickson, and how he is producing some magical 100% Estate wines from his vineyard in Canyon Lake, just west of New Braunfels. Lewis is a staunch proponent of natural or "hands off" winemaking, never adding yeast, sulfites, enzymes, or anything. We learn about the path he's taken to focusing on the two Texas hybrid grapes, Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish, and how wine should be the whole film, not just a snapshot.