Love balls & unicorns in the Groover’s Paradise @emmajanzen

“Enchiladas and barbeque, oh baby whatcha gonna do?” sang the legendary father of Tex-Mex music Doug Sahm. The line comes from the title track of his 1974 release, “Groover’s Paradise,” an ode to the River City — Austin, Texas.

Today, in keeping with a long-running tradition of musician-friendly victuals, Austin has become the sui generis trailer park eatery capital of the world.

A few months ago, I visited the East Side Drive-In park (above) with liquid editor for our city’s paper of record, The Austin American-Statesman, Emma Janzen and her beau Zach Rose.

She posted this account of a wine tasting and pairing that I conducted for them.

What do loved balls and unicorns have to do with all of this? Watch the video and you’ll see…

Thanks again Emma and Zach! :)

An orange wine ante litteram

The Latin expression ante litteram means literally before the letter, in other words, before the written word. I’ve recently had the opportunity to taste what I consider (and others are free to disagree) an “an orange wine ante litteram, id est, an orange wine that was created before the expression or notion of “orange wine” existed: the 1999 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo by Edoardo Valentini. We opened a bottle on Monday at the Orange Wine dinner at Vino Vino in Austin. This wine, made by Valentini himself (as my colleague John Paine pointed out), was fresh and bright, with youthful, powerful tannic structure, nuanced floral notes on the nose, and rich fruit flavor in the mouth. A wine, we agreed, still has many years ahead of it. Truly one of the greatest white wines I’ve ever tasted…

I wasn’t the only one who dug the Valentini and the other wines on Monday night: so did Michael Barnes, social columnist for the Austin American Statesman, who weighed in with this ambrosial post

Do Bianchi live at Austin360.com today

Above: Sunday evening found me and Tracie B tattered by the rain and mud at the Austin City Limits musical festival but warm and happy at the dinner table of the inimitable Bill Head — Austinite bon vivant and all-around good fellow. Bill made a wonderful ragù alla bolognese and so I brought along a bottle of Lini Lambrusco (in this case, Lambrusco di Sorbara). As restaurateur Danny Meyer likes to say, “if it grows with it, it goes with it.”

If you happen to find yourself near a computer this afternoon at 3 p.m. (Texas time), please check out a live chat that I will be doing today with Austin American-Statesman social columnist Michael Barnes at Out and About (Austin360.com).

Above: We were also joined Sunday night by Austin natural treasure Mary Gordon Spence (to Bill’s left), writer, humorist, and radio personality, who had many wonderful tales to tell of her recent trip to Italy, and University of Texas professor of government David Edwards.

We’ll be chatting about the series of classes on Italian wine I’m teaching every Tuesday at The Austin Wine Merchant beginning this evening.

Tonight’s class is sold out and the others are filling up quickly but there is still some space available. My favorite session is Italian Wine and Civilization (Tuesday, November 10), where we read a passage from Italian literature or history, and then taste a wine in some way pertinent to the text. Did you know that Niccolò Machiavelli was a winemaker, for example?

In other news…

Tracie B and I braved the rain and mud at this year’s Austin City Limits festival on Sunday. We didn’t stay long but did get to catch the B52s’s set, which couldn’t be anything other than super fun, and we also enjoyed super-shiny sisters-and-brother bluegrass/country act Jypsi (below). Jypsi was a little slick for my taste but man can they play!

Just over a year ago, I came to Austin for the second time to visit with Tracie B. Do you remember? Here’s a little post from the archive. We recreated the Austin City Limits photo op this year, except for this time sans mustache! ;-)