98 López de Heredia rosé and a gordita at Fonda San Miguel, anyone?

fonda san miguel

As much as Tracie P and I LOVE Austin’s Fonda San Miguel (a restaurant considered by many, and rightly so, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the U.S.), it would be untrue for me to say that we are fans of its wine list (dominated by new world Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay). But when we cozied up at the bar the other night for one of our favorite guilty-pleasure dinners, we were thrilled to find the 1999 López de Heredia Viña Gravonia (white) on the by-the-glass list and the 1998 Viña Tondonia Rosado Gran Reserva by the bottle. That gordita paired brilliantly with the acidity and fruit in this gently oxidative wine.

fonda san miguel

I couldn’t resist posting this photo Tracie P snapped that night. You can see the beautiful stained glass in the ceiling reflecting in the wine.

And on the subject of the 1998 Rosado, you can also find it by the bottle at a happy-hour price (too obscene to report here!) over on Josh Loving’s list at Fino, from 5-7 p.m. My advice? Run don’t walk…

In other Spanish-speaking news…


Tracie P and I attended a fascinating lecture and presentation by our friend George O. Jackson Jr. at the University of Texas Ransom Center the other night.

George O. (as he is known) has been traveling in and photographing folk culture in Guerrero, Mexico for 20 years. These images are from the jaguar dances and competitions performed by Indian tribes there as an offering to G-d.


The pain the participants endure in the dances, George O. explained, is one of the ways they offer sacrifice to their vision of the Judeo-Christian G-d in return for their bountiful rain.

His photos are not yet entirely available for viewing online, but you can see some of them here, from a previous exhibition. Truly fascinating stuff and simply thrilling images…

Happy Friday, ya’ll… I sure am ready to get my weekend on!

Amphora-aged Primitivo, pozoles and old Rioja, and a Texas wine I liked

Above: This week, Tracie B and I attended our first holiday party of the year at the home of Texas “natural treasure,” author, radio personality, blogger and all-around delightful host, Mary Gordon Spence.

Man, has it been a crazy week — between work, Tignanello triage, the new Amarone DOCG, and the holidays upon us!

Above: Everyone who knows me knows that I rarely eat sweets. But homemade flan? Mary Gordon found my weakness!

Tracie B and I are headed to La Jolla for the weekend, a good thing since snow is expected today in Central Texas!

I’m working on my “interesting wines coming out of Tuscany these days” post and I received a lot of great recommendations from a bunch of Italian wine professionals and bloggers. Thank you, all. I’ll post them next week.

Above: George O brought this bottle of what I’m guessing is a dried-grape red wine from the Texas Hill Country made by Tony Coturri at the La Cruz de Comal winery. It was a great pairing for the flan.

If you haven’t seen it already, please check out this wonderful post authored by Franco (and translated by yours truly) on the amphora wines made by Vittorio Pichierri in Sava (Manduria, Apulia). Amphora wine is all the rage these days. Gravner started making wine in amphora in the late 1990s? Pichierri has been aging his wines in interred amphora since the 1970s and beyond (he uses an ancient format called capasone).

Above: We were joined by the inimitable Bill Head, whose tall Texas tales alone are worth the price of admission (seated next to Tracie B), his lovely SO Patricia, and George O. Jackson (right), photographer and author of a photo collection I am dying to see, Essence of Mexico 1990-2002, images of folklore he captured traveling through rural Mexico.

Dinner at Mary Gordon’s was just the excuse I’d been waiting for to open some older López de Heredia that a client gave me. The 1990 Tondonia white was stunning, as was the 1991 Bosconia. We opened both bottles as we sat in Mary Gordon’s living room and munched on jícama and chips and salsa: I couldn’t help but think about how great these oxidative wines are with food. The 2000 Bosconia Reserva was great with Mary Gordon’s excellent pozoles.

The conversation turned from tales of larger-than-life Charlie Wilson from Bill’s years in Washington to Mary Gordon’s memories of working for President Lyndon B. Johnson, to George O’s adventures in rural Mexico. I spent the whole evening on the edge of my seat. Maybe it’s because I live here now but it always impresses me how Texas often finds itself at the center of the American collective consciousness and American iconography.

Thanks again, Mary Gordon, for such a wonderful evening! And happy holidays to all ya’ll!