Above: I paid less than $100 “on premise” for this 2003 Barolo Villero by Brovia at a restaurant in Houston. Unbelievable.
The Houston food and wine scene continues to amaze me. In part because of how disappointing, uninformed, and naive it can be at times. In part because of the unbridled talent and the extreme value that you find there in the most unlikely places.
A few weeks ago, I had a superb bottle of wine from one of my favorite producers, the 2003 Barolo Villero by Brovia, one of the few growers who released their crus from the 2003 vintage. The wine was simply stunning.
But the most incredible thing about the experience was that I paid less than retail for it. Even more more unbelievable was how difficult it was to navigate the restaurant’s tablet-based wine list, out of date and poorly organized.
There are some Houston restaurateurs and wine professionals who never seem to leave the Houston bubble and they sadly remain unaware of what’s going on in the world beyond.
And then there’s my friend and client Tony.
Above: Tony Vallone is one of the most dynamic Italian restaurateurs in the country imho. I’m so proud to call him my friend and client.
In the words of one Houston food critic, he’s the dude who “virtually defined” fine dining in Houston over the last four decades (his first Tony’s opened in 1965).
I’ve enjoyed some amazing meals in his restaurants and I’m excited to share the news that he and I will be speaking at a Sicilian Regional Cuisine dinner on June 26 at his Tony’s casual restaurant Ciao Bello.
Tony’s half Sicilian and half Neapolitan and he travels to Italy every year (he just got back from a trip to Chicago for the Fancy Food festival, Sicily, and Paris).
I’ve spoken about Italian wine at a number of dinners in Tony’s restaurants but we’ve never presented together. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
Above: Tracey Brandt of Donkey & Goat recently came to Austin to present her family’s wines.
Another event I’d like to bring to your attention is a wine dinner at Sotto in Los Angeles where I co-curate the wine list.
I’m super bummed that I won’t be able to be there (I’m grounded until Baby P 2013 gets here in mid-July).
But I highly recommend the dinner and the wines to you. Donkey & Goat is one of the Parzen family’s official wines: we drink them regularly at home, mamma Judy (my mom) drinks them in La Jolla (the rosé is her favorite), and Rev. B (my father-in-law) loves him some Donkey & Goat Helluva Pinot Noir.
I’m very proud that we feature the wines at Sotto.
That’s all the news that fits today… Have a great weekend, yall! Buon weekend!