Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lone Star Beer, Hill Country BBQ and Super Friulan Red in Austin, Texas

Alessandra Dorigo at J.Mueller's in Austin
If you spend enough time on the wine trail, eventually the circle of life brings you back around. So it was this week as I headed to Austin to meet up with Moxy Castro and Alessandra Dorigo. “You might have heard of Alessandra’s family. They make wine in Friuli,” was Moxy’s comment to me. Sure enough, not only had I heard of them, but sold the wine in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Even went to visit the family once in Buttrio in 1990.

So when I came across Moxy and Alessandra in Austin this week, I pulled out a photo I took (below) of a younger Alessandra with her parents, Girolamo and Rosetta. “I remember you,” Alessandra said. It was a night more than one of us remembered.

(L-R) Girolamo, Lizanne, Alessandra and Rosetta in Grado - 1990
Now she works for another Friulan winery and Conte Brandolini, who has Venetian roots. Our day centered on the staples of northeastern Italy, Merlot and Pinot Grigio, with a little Cabernet Franc for extra measure.

But the moment we all will remember was lunch. Austin in September can be wonderful. The weather is not too warm, and the Hill country BBQ is some of the best in the world. We headed over to the J. Mueller trailer where Texas BBQ icon John Mueller stokes the fires. He was handing out cool bottles of Lone Star beer to make the wait (20 minutes, nothing like the line at Franklin) seem less painful. But we also had wine to go with the succulent fatty brisket and the fabulous "porchetta" shoulder.

Along the way we ran into one of our colleagues, Nick Picciandra, who was enjoying the BBQ with a bottle of Produttori Barbaresco Paje 2005. That’s pretty much Austin in a nutshell.

Later on we resumed our day of selling wine, meeting up with star sommelier Scott Ota, who is an out of the closet Italophile. It’s folks like Nick and Scott who give me hope for the future I have been dreaming about for a long time.

And that’s pretty much all I have for now. The wine world is small. The little ones grow up. They carry on. Thank the good Lord.

In other news…

There has been a little flurry of activity in the blogosphere about "truffled" oil. I have only one way I like to see truffles and oil together ( picture, above). I agree with some of my friends that truffle oil is an abomination. Yesterday I was in a restaurant and the waiter brought a beautiful pile of mozzarella and tomatoes, laced with the insidious and obnoxious interloper. I asked him why he or the restaurant he worked in uses the toxic stuff. His reply? “I don’t know it’s toxic. People like it.”

People like it? Not Italian people? Not people who like Italian food? Jeez, I’d love truffle oil to be on the ballot in November. I’d be campaigning against it 24/7. I friggin' hate the stuff and anyone who does like it had better watch themselves around me.

So there I’ve said it. I am an extremist when it comes to certain opinions. Fortunately I lean more towards food and wine than other more volatile arenas this time of the year.

Long week, with a long weekend of work. See you in a few days.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
Real Time Analytics