A bratty sparkling Barbera for the summer of 09

Above: The inimitable Michael Housewright (right) with his Italian business partner Antonello Losito. Michael’s new wine bar and shop Block 7 in Houston is on the cutting edge of wine sales and marketing and has already proved a success in highly competitive market.

This dude knows what he’s doing. Michael Housewright’s aggressive pricing at the newly opened Block 7 in Houston is like nothing I’ve ever seen. Every bottle on his list can be ordered by the glass (at market price), by the bottle (at a competitive retail price), or by the case (with case discount) in which case you can open a bottle and drink it in the restaurant/wine bar.

Above: 07 Barbera Vivace (i.e., slightly sparkling) by Roagna Igino (not the other Roagna, producer of old-school Nebbiolo) is competing with Bisson Ciliegiolo as my official favorite wine of the summer of 09.

When Tracie B, her childhood friend Talina, and I dined there the other night, Michael turned me on to a vivace (i.e., slightly sparkling) Barbera by Clò di Roagna Igino. The proprietary name birichina means brat in Italian, in other words, someone who is excessively vivace. Served slightly chilled, the acidity and fruit in this wine was awesome with my burger and fries. We also shared a bottle of Produttori del Barbaresco 2005 Barbaresco with another party: the price was too alluring to resist.

In other news…

Budweiser (well actually Shiner Bock) instead of Barbera tomorrow night: I’m playing my first Austin gig tomorrow at the Broken Spoke with this guy. Not exactly the summer of 1969 (more like the summer of 2009) but I’m stoked to break out my Tele at the Spoke.

My new favorite cocktail, an aperitivo for a Manic Monday

Above: Lately, I’ve been drinking my Campari and Soda with a splash of orange juice. I’m sure this recipe has a name: does anyone know it? Photo by Tracie B.

It’s already been one helluva Monday morning and I’m still working on getting to the bottom of what happened over at Decanter.com on Friday.

I sure wish it were Sunday: yesterday Tracie B and I found ourselves in Houston where we had dined Saturday night at the newly opened winebar Block 7 (look for a post later this week) and we stayed overnight at the St. Regis (thanks to my nimble hand at Priceline).

Above: Tracie B and I love to photograph everything we eat and drink. The bartender at the St. Regis had fun with us and took this photo. She mixed our drinks perfectly to order.

It was fun to wake up to room service and swimming and we had great Mexican food for lunch with Tracie B’s childhood friend Talina at La Mexicana (highly recommended, super family friendly and just all around delicious).

Above: My eyes weren’t bigger than my stomach at La Mexicana. I couldn’t help but order à la carte: from 12 o’clock clockwise, 1 taco al pastor, 1 taco de carnitas (available only on weekends), 1 flauta (which I dipped liberally in creamy guacamole), and 1 cheese enchilada drowning in ranchero sauce.

Man, I wish it were Sunday. That was my fun day…