A shout-out is destined this morning to sommelier Chris McFall (above) who recently launched my new favorite Houston wine list at Doris Metropolitan, an Israeli steakhouse that came to our city via New Orleans.
The program is predictably focused on France and California. But it also features a healthy smattering of wines from Italy, Germany, Austria, and Spain, and even a couple of gems from Greece. The pricing is extremely user-friendly with a wide range of options, including an excellent bottle of old school Touraine Sauvignon Blanc for just $35 (!!!).
Across the board, the list covers all the bases, from the big spender to the enohipster: while not pulling corks on hefty bottles of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon the other night, Chris poured us a 2015 Comando G El Tamboril, a spontaneously fermented and large-cask aged blend of Garnacha Blanca and Garnacha Gris from Spain (wow! what a wine!).
But the thing that takes his program over the top is his impressive skill as sommelier and the extremely high caliber of service that he offers.
There are a lot of great wine lists in Houston, truly great libraries of often rare and compelling wines. But there’s not a lot of personality when it comes to the higher-end programs like this one. The only true game in town is Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, where nearly every one of the sommeliers is on track to become a Master Sommelier and where Chris worked and studied for a number of years before relocating back to his native Austin.
I love the programs at Vinology, Camerata, and Rabelais, where the attire is casual and the vibe is low key. But Chris’ new program represents — in my view and on my palate — the only list where you have a confluence of personality, vision, inclusion, diversity, and world-class service (yes, people, corks should only be presented when on a mini-tray and never placed on the table!).
A few colleagues met me there last night (my second visit in a week) and Chris poured us a taste of the superb Campogrande Cinqueterre Rosso (below), a field blend of Bonamico, Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo. This bottle hit on all cylinders: reasonable priced, hipster appeal, and utterly delicious.
Chris, thank you for bringing your chops and your wonderful selection to Houston. Mazel tov!
Riomaggiore? More than just American tourists. Viticulture is tough in the CT but there are a couple of really good winemakers.