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Cheryl Hunt
July 2, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

July 2024 Wine Club Wines

Charles de Fère ‘Cuvée Jean-Louis’ Brut Blanc de Blancs NV – France (Gold)

As confusing as a wine with two names might be, this offering is pure and true. Jean-Louis Denois has been the winemaker of Charles de Fère, a sparkling house in Fère-en-Tardenois, northeast of Reims (the unofficial capital of Champagne) since 1980. Denois hails from a Champagne winegrowing family, and he wanted to open a boutique winery that made exceptional sparkling wines based on “five generations of savoir-faire and skills.” Using white grapes that could include Airen, native to Spain; Ugni Blanc, also known as Trebbiano and widely used in Cognac; and Durello, originally from Italy; as well as Chardonnay, this sparkling is the Every Person’s Champagne. With searing but balanced acidity and pleasant bubbles, it conveys pear, apple, citrus, and apricot, plus a creamy sensation from 3 months’ lees aging. For the perfect meal, pair a glass with Oysters on the Half Shell from Frilly’s Bayou Kitchen.

OC & CO French Rosé – Languedoc-Roussillon, FR (Gold)

It is hard to go wrong with a rosé in the summer, especially if you are poolside. This blend is crafted from Grenache, Syrah, and Cinsault, varieties that are commonly found in the Rhône Valley and south of France. The OC & CO is even branded as a “French” rosé, in case there was any doubts about its origins! Due to almost unlimited sunshine in this Mediterranean climate, the grapes were harvested early in the cool of the morning to preserve aromatics as much as possible. After destemming, the varieties were vinified separately in stainless steel, thus ensuring that the fruit flavors will be maintained. Three months’ lees aging with gentle stirring adds to the body of the wine. Technical information aside, this is a delicious wine, brimming with strawberry, raspberry, citrus and tropical flavors like mango. A Niçoise salad would make an excellent accompaniment.

Edge of the Lake Vineyards ‘Freedom White’ – Texas High Plains (Gold)

Dr. Fred Cummings, a practicing OB-GYN in Denton, was determined that he would leave his children a legacy; thus, he opened the Edge of the Lake Vineyards on thirteen acres of lake-front property on the northside of Ray Roberts in Valley View. Memories of his own grandmother Ruby cultivating produce in her garden propelled him to grow something of his own, and in 2010, he planted grapes on the south end of the property. After some trial and error, mainly Spanish grapes flourish on the estate with some other fruit sourced from the Texas High Plains. Dr. Cummings, his son Chris McIntosh, and vineyard master Greg Davis all went through the Grayson College Viticulture and Enology program, and now the winery is producing internationally award-winning wines! The ‘Freedom White,’ a blend of 66% Viognier and 34% Albariño, is a medium-plus bodied wine with aromas of rose and honeysuckle plus flavors of blood orange, peach, and citrus zest. A plate of Chicken Satay from Thai Ochoa will taste delicious alongside the ‘Freedom White.’

Parajes del Valle Monastrell – Jumilla, SP (Platinum)

María Jóver started her journey at the famed Vega Sicilia before joining Parajes del Valle as head winemaker. Jumilla presents harsh conditions—limited rainfall, stringent irrigation restrictions, and bush-trained vines in stony soils that require special care. Amidst mountains and dry riverbeds, called ramblas, they experience cold winters and very hot summers (like Texas hot). Parajes del Valle believes in minimal intervention and respect for the land, so the wines that Jóver produces are unique and unlike other Spanish wines you have tasted. This Monastrell, which we know as Mourvèdre, is fruit-forward and lighter-bodied than a typical Mourvèdre. With characteristics of cherry, raspberry, redcurrant, pomegranate, blueberry, and “herbs of the mountain,” the Parajes del Valle is enchanting with a chill, making it a wonderful summertime red wine. It has a lingering finish and is well-suited to an immense platter of paella.

Toad Hollow Merlot – Mendocino County, CA (Gold)

It’s hard to imagine a personality as big as Robin Williams’, but apparently his older brother Todd was larger than life as well. Todd, affectionately known as Dr. ‘Toad’ Williams, was a wine aficionado who just wanted to make wine less snobby and more fun. In fact, their mission is to “produce quality wines that are delicious, interesting and accessible. We’re an amusing and friendly bunch and believe drinking wine should be as FUN as the whimsical art on our wine labels.” Todd teamed up with wine legend Rodney Strong in 1994 to open a small boutique winery, and it has been family-owned and operated ever since. With violet on the nose, red and blue fruits zing the palate, including plum, cherry, and blueberry, followed by a cool mint and a hint of dark chocolate. Savor this 100% Merlot masterpiece alongside the Veggie Quiche at The Chestnut Tree.

Frey Biodynamic Field Blend – Mendocino County, CA (Gold)

Frey Vineyards is the first organic and biodynamic winery in the United States, founded in 1980. The Frey family has been instrumental in setting the standards for what these terms mean, through active lobbying, taking site trips, and co-drafting guidelines with various farming groups. By the end of the decade, the National Organic Project was approved by the USDA, of which the Frey family helped to construct. They have continued to push the boundaries of natural winemaking and will open a brand new, state-of-the-art, carbon-neutral tasting room next year. In line with their sustainability priorities, this Field Blend is an amalgamation of estate organic grapes and what they term a “rustic red.” With cranberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, and cacao, this is one dynamic wine. It will drink beautifully with the Mediterranean board, filled with grilled veggies, from Barley and Board.

Cantine Colosi Nero d’Avola – Sicily, IT (Platinum)

Nero d’Avola, an ancient grape, is an arid-tolerant, heat-loving variety almost exclusive to the Aeolian islands, including Sicily; vines there are head-trained low to the ground to ward off high winds. Locally, Nero d’Avola is called Calabrese, and it is a full-bodied red that can be compared to Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon. The term ‘heroic viticulture’ can be applied to Cantine Colosi: their vines are terraced by hand on small plots of calcareous and volcanic stone walls, a difficult and hard-to-navigate operation with a payoff of beautiful wines that express terroir. On their webpage, they identify wine as “light, perfume, warmth,” which is a poetic way of saying their products are truly special. Inky in the glass, the Colosi presents dark cherry, blackberry, black plum, prunes, and pepper. A go-to dish to enjoy with the Colosi would be Spaghetti Marinara from Napoli’s Italian.

Tapiz ‘Alta Collection’ Malbec – Uco Valley, ARG (Platinum)

The Tapiz ‘Alta Collection’ Malbec is another offering from Patricia Ortiz, a name we have seen before. She is the president of both Fincas Patagónicas and Bodegas de Argentina, and Wine Enthusiast named her as Wine Executive of the Year in 2023. We have previously had her Zolo line on the club, and it’s exciting to branch out and put the elegant Tapiz on. The viticultural pedigree of this wine is outstanding: Fabian Valenzuela, who has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, and legendary Claude Berrouet of Petrus fame collaborated to make this high-elevation Malbec. At first sniff, there’s violet among other floral aromas, and then the fruit takes hold, from plum to blackberry to raspberry on the palate, morphing into vanilla and oak. Order a bowl of the Spicy Beef Soup from Korean fusion restaurant The Taste to relish with this Malbec.

Clay Shannon ‘The David’ Red Blend – Lake County, CA (Platinum)

The name Clay Shannon might conjure up several different associations: maverick spirit (Buck Shack is one of his brands), champion for sustainability, and/or winemaking guru. His philosophy is to grow the best fruit possible, but “wanted to do it in a way that made us happy living there’; the ‘there’ in that quotation is Lake County, which is about two hours north of Napa. He has transformed 1000 acres of his estate into a regenerative organic farming system he calls Project Ovis. Assorted animals roam his property, from including ducks, geese, deer, raccoons, quail, golden eagles, bald eagles, wild turkey, chipmunks and bobcats. In his words, “the western spirit is still alive” on his estate. This red blend, affectionately named ‘The David’ after Shannon’s late grandfather, is composed of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Petite Sirah. Raspberry, black currant, black cherry, cacao, sage, and dark chocolate coalesce to form a thirst-quenching, lingering sensation on the palate. Imbibe with the Mesquite Grilled Steak from Prairie House in Cross Roads and feel the bliss take hold!

Time Posted: Jul 2, 2024 at 7:49 AM Permalink to July 2024 Wine Club Wines Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
June 9, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

June 2024 Wine Club Wines

Messina Hof Muscat Canelli – Texas High Plains (Gold)

Our friends at Messina Hof have crafted a wonderful wine from the Muscat Canelli grape, also known as Muscat á Petits Grains in France or South Africa’s Hanepoot (what a great name!). While you might automatically assume this is going to be a sugar bomb, it’s surprising how well-balanced it is in the glass, with floral aromas and prominent apricot, peach, and tangerine notes emerging well before the 9 g/L of residual sugar hits the palate. The fruit counteracts the sweetness, making this a thirst-quenching porch pounder. No other Texas winery grows more Muscat Canelli grapes than Messina Hof, and along with other Texas wineries we have featured, Messina Hof is a preeminent presence in pushing our state’s wine industry forward. Currently, Texas is in 11th position nationwide, just after Virginia, for wine production. Give it a little more time, and Texas will be way up there with California! Pour yourself a glass and savor it with a lovely seasonal salad from Greenhouse.

J. Bäumer Riesling – Rhein, GER (Gold)

The perfect food wine, especially when the cuisine is spicy or hot, Riesling is often an underappreciated variety. Germany’s signature grape, it was vastly popular in the 1850s, and it became almost as renowned (and expensive) as Champagne and Bordeaux. However, there was so much devastation to Germany’s vineyards during both world wars that Riesling fell out of favor. Always a favorite among connoisseurs and sommeliers due to its versatility, many now acknowledge Riesling’s primacy. A mid-to-late ripening grape, it can retain some (or a lot of) sugar, so it is the winemaker’s choice whether to cultivate it dry or keep some sweetness. The J. Bäumer Riesling has some observable residual sugar (RS) and would be described as “halbtrocken,” or off-dry. This wine’s naturally high acidity balances the RS, making it pleasant and not overwhelmingly saccharine, and  this Riesling conveys fruits like lime, apple, kumquat (a small citrusy fruit from China), and honeydew. It would be a shame to not pair this with your favorite dish from Thai Square.

Nals Margreid 'Galea' Schiava – Alto Adige, IT (Platinum)

Schiava is a grape that is home to the Alto Adige region, an area that borders Austria to its north and has some German influence (Schiava is also called Vernatsch locally and Trollinger in Germany). The clusters themselves are very large, pyramid-shaped bunches with large, dark blue grapes, and they are trellised using a pergola system, which protects the grapes from sunburn (!) and mild hail. An interesting fact about the Schiava grape is that the leaves turn bright yellow in autumn, which is very unusual for red grapes. The Nals Margreid ‘Galea’ is a light, chillable red that would please Pinot Noir and Gamay lovers alike. With extra strawberry on the nose, but surprisingly dry at just 1.7 g/L of residual sugar, a sip also conveys raspberry, pomegranate, some almond, and a kiss of spice from its time spent in wood. This wine would match so well with many foods, but treat yourself to a glass alongside a Falafel Vegan Wrap from Fatima’s Grill.

Palafox Pionero Tinto – Baja California, MEX (Platinum)

Eighty percent of the wine from Mexico is made in Baja California. Unlike the stringent rules of France, Italy, Spain, and even California, Mexico does not have aging requirements and grape percentages governing their viticulture. Thus, Mexican vintners are concocting the best combinations that convey ripeness of fruit, acidity, and body. An emerging star on the Mexican wine scene, Aldo Cesar Palafox founded his estate in 1997, in Valle de la Grulla, 25 miles south of the town of Ensenada. He uses only estate fruit and practices sustainable farming. Despite very warm days, the grapes at Palafox are encased by morning fogs and cool sea breezes, which slow down the ripening process, developing more complex flavors. This tinto, a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Merlot, is both juicy and well-structured and has little residual sugar. A fragrant nose gives way to blackberry and black cherry, plus subtle caramel, vanilla, black pepper, and tobacco. Order some beef fajitas from La Laguna Meat Market & Kitchen and pop open a bottle of the Palafox Pionero Tinto!

Château Courac Côtes du Rhône – Côtes du Rhône, FR (Platinum)

From the southern Rhône comes this delicious red blend consisting of 55% Syrah, 30% Grenache, and 15% old vine Carignan. The Château Courac was partially sourced from the village of Laudun, which was promoted to Cru status in 2023. The viticultural legacy of the estate has been in place since 1941 when the Arnaud family settled in Tresques, which is on the right bank of the Rhône River. Right bank Rhônes are usually very concentrated and fruit-forward as there are cool nights, sandy soils, and longer hang times for the ripening grapes. Frédéric and Joséphine Arnaud have been the winemakers since 1995, and their style brings a masterful elegance to the wines. With violet on the nose, raspberry and red plum flavors transform into darker fruits and spice. At just 2 g/L of residual sugar, the wine is a balance of fruit and earthiness. Enjoy it with the Linda Lou, a chicken sandwich platter from Cartwright’s Ranch House.

Sadler’s Well Cabernet Sauvignon – Paso Robles, CA (Gold)

The name ‘Sadler’s Well’ is an allusion to Richard Sadler who, in 1683, opened a theater (then called a ‘Musick House’) in London. Two men, who were digging a garden on Sadler’s property, struck something that they mistook for buried treasure, but alas, it was a well. But this well was not ordinary; it had iron-rich mineral water that was believed to have health benefits, which Mr. Sadler then turned into his own treasure. He claimed that drinking from his well would heal a multitude of illnesses, and aristocrats and emissaries from around the country came to drink from Sadler’s well and go to his theater. Vintner partners Bill Leigon and Billy Spear were inspired by Sadler’s success and decided to name this Paso Cab in his honor. It will entice you with ripe blackberry, cassis, baking spices, toasty oak, and some tertiary leather notes. With a touch of residual sugar, it is well-balanced but juicy. It deserves a proper hamburger like the Double Trouble from RG Burgers and Grill.

Quivira Zinfandel – Dry Creek Valley, CA (Platinum)

Quivira Vineyards has produced a bit of a catch-22: winemaker Hugh Chappelle believes in ‘vin sauvage’ (wild wine) or doing little to influence the finished grape juice, in line with a brand that focuses on sustainable and organic farming. But on the other hand, there is this juicy, brambly Zinfandel with a touch of Petite Sirah, making it a luscious and almost sinful Zin. A combination of American, Hungarian, and French oak also contributes to the luxurious nature of the Quivira. With just a touch of residual sugar, raspberry, cherry, blackberry, and marionberry take over your senses, punched by some white pepper, nutmeg, and dried herbs. A wild boar on the label is an example of the unique ecosystem to this part of Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma Co., but is also a perfect food (sorry, not sorry!) with California Zinfandels. Relish a glass of the Quivira alongside a three-meat BBQ Plate (with some pork, of course) from Brisket Burger.

Cataclysm Red Blend – Columbia Valley, WA (Gold)

Born from the idea that cataclysmic events, like the ice age floods that blanketed and later carved out the valleys of the Pacific Northwest, Cataclysm Wine Company has embraced the idea “things don’t always go to plan” and that “great upheaval is an opportunity for a new beginning.” Brilliant in branding, this mostly Bordeaux blend of 40% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Syrah spotlights fruit first. Awarded a gold by the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, 90 points by James Suckling, and 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, this wine is certain to please. Furthermore, Cataclysm partners with the disaster relief organization “All Hands and Hearts,” and every bottle sold contributes to their cause. This red blend charms with chocolate and dark berries, gratifying the palate with stewed cherries, fig, cassis, blueberry, and vanilla. A well-rounded wine with no significant residual sugar, the Cataclysm will hold up to earthy foods and creamy cheeses, so the Stuffed Mushroom dish from Graffiti Pasta will be an awesome accompaniment. 

Time Posted: Jun 9, 2024 at 6:50 AM Permalink to June 2024 Wine Club Wines Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
May 13, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

Our Wine List Based on Geography

We our proud of our robust wine list, and as it stands right now, we feature 20 different geographical locations with an assortment of wine styles and methods. Of course, our menu changes monthly with the addition of at least eight new wines, and it often gets updated weekly as we add on specialty wines (of which Steve will pour two in his blind tasting on Friday, May 17) or we say goodbye to wines we can no longer get (Sangue di Guida, we are still pining for you; it should come back in any day, as we have been told).

But if you have ever wondered exactly where our wine list stands, here is an up-to-date pie chart. If you do the math, yes, all these percentages add up to 103%--just know some of our locations only showcase one wine, like the delicious Serbian Pet Nat we have on our sparkling section right now or the yummy Saperavi from Georgia that was on the club a couple of months ago. Technically these account for less than 1% each, but the pie chart is the pie chart, and this is how it turned out!

If you have any questions or requests, let Cheryl or Steve know! 

Time Posted: May 13, 2024 at 5:20 AM Permalink to Our Wine List Based on Geography Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
May 2, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

May 2024 Wine Club Wines

Bonny Doon ‘Le Cigare’ Orange – Central Coast, CA (Gold)

One of the original Rhône Rangers, Randall Grahm is a fascinating winemaker. Early on, he sought to propagate Burgundy varieties in the tiny hamlet of Boony Doon, CA, but to no avail; later, re realized that Rhône grapes would work much better, and he set out to create his own version of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Grahm is also a bit obsessed with aliens and spaceships (the cursor on the Bonny Doon website *is* an alien face!), and the label on ‘Le Cigare’ Orange depicts a spacecraft over a vineyard. Ask your server about the story because the other plot point to mention is that this is an orange wine! A similar process to making rosés, orange wines come from extended skin contact with white wine grapes. That contact results in a bit of tannin and structure, something usually absent in white wines. This orange, a blend of Grenache Blanc, Pinot Gris, Grenache Gris, Orange Muscat, and Chenin Blanc, is a perfect spring porch pounder. Aromas of tangerine blossom envelop the wine, evolving into peach, apricot, and other citrus notes. It pairs well with the Feta Cheese Appetizer from Yummy’s.

Lange ‘Classique’ Chardonnay – Willamette Valley, OR (Platinum)

Don and Wendy Lange left Santa Barbera and moved to Willamette Valley in 1987 after trying fantastic Oregon wines from both Dick Erath and Eyrie Vineyards; they were convinced that Oregon could be a top-notch producer (and it certainly is!). Similar to Randall Grahm, the Langes wanted to replicate Burgundy, specifically the Côte d’Or, in their Dundee Hills vineyards, and they actually have had great success. Their mission is about “focused wines that express nuanced fruit, structure, balance, and texture.” This ‘Classique’ Chardonnay is a beautiful expression of the grape, flaunting its yellow fruit and its steely nature. Aromas show lemon zest and apple, while the palate opens with Anjou pear and creamy melon, finishing with a flinty minerality. There is a subtle touch of oak on this wine from time spent in neutral French barrels. A fun, hedonistic pairing would be the elevated Elote dish from 940 Kitchen and Cocktails, their rendition of Mexican street corn.

Leda Truffle Hunter’ Barbera d’Asti – Piedmont, IT (Gold)

Wines that feature animals on their labels have become somewhat synonymous with mass produced brands, but not this one! Leda is so named after a family pet, a Lagotto Romagnolo, which is a canine species that hails from Romagna in Italy. Winemaker Luca Bosio grew up with Leda, a faithful companion to the family for 15 years and a champion truffle hunter. Her commemoration on this Barbera makes sense because it highlights everything that the Italian grape does well, with its easy-drinking nature and its fruity core. Mulberry, cherry, and raspberry emerge first when tasted, giving way to a hint of chocolate and spice. This wine would pair brilliantly with so many tomato-based dishes, but it would be exciting to pair it with something creamy as well, like the Loaded Crispy Potatoes from Picone.

Piñol ‘Ludovicus’ Garnacha – Terra Alta, SP (Platinum)

Terra Alta, in the larger Catalunya region of Spain, is southwest of Priorat, one of Spain’s two prestigious Denominacións de Origen Calificada (DOCa) and is about 45 miles west of Barcelona. Although Terra Alta was established as a DO in 1985, the ancient Romans most likely introduced viticulture to the area, planting vines along what would later be called the Roman Road, which meandered from the north of Spain all the way to the southwest. Thus, the name ‘Ludovicus’ was given to this wine, to honor the Roman impact on Terra Alta. ‘Ludovicus’ was also the name of several Holy Roman Emperors, and in the medieval times, the Knights Templar cultivated grapes there. While this wine may not be holy, it is both fun and powerful. This wine appeals with aromas of raspberry and cherry and some candied rose. The fruits are balanced by some pepper, spice, and a mineral finish. Garnacha, the primary red grape of both Priorat and Terra Alta, is celebrated in this glass, and a dish of Pulled Pork Nachos from Rooster’s Roadhouse will certainly be a nice accompaniment.

Woop Woop Shiraz – South Australia (Gold)

Woop Woop was established by two viticultural virtuosos, Ben Riggs and Tony Parkinson, who founded some of the most esteemed, high-end McLaren Vale wineries. Their objective with the Woop Woop line is to create top-quality wines with rigorous standards, low yields, and minimal intervention at prices that don’t break the bank. The term ‘woop woop’ is slang for “way out there,” and this offering is a celebration of how Australia took Shiraz to the next level. The style of this wine is primed for all-year-round consumption, made with just a small amount of oak aging. The outcome is a juicy concoction with lots of blackberry, cassis, and blueberry with additional notes of licorice and smoky undertones. You don’t have to go too far out to get an incredible BLT, a lovely partner for this wine; head to the Dive Bar and Restaurant, grab an order to go, and delight in the Woop Woop Shiraz!

Come and Drink It Red Blend – Texas (Gold)

This wine is so Texas, so big and bold, that there is a general attitude of refusing to be conventional (i.e., there is such minimal information on this brand or wine, we are just going to take it at face value)! The nod to the instantly recognizable “Come and Take It” slogan and cannon from the Battle of Gonzales lets you know that this is not a cerebral, frou-frou beverage. The winemaker characterizes this Red Blend as a wine that is ready to drink now with “lush fruits, balanced acidity, and a hint of oak.” Flavor profiles include black cherry, blackcurrant, vanilla, mocha, and baking spice. A proprietary blend, this is a wine that “drinks easy” and is best enjoyed “sitting around the fire with friends and enjoying some tunes.” So stop overanalyzing this uncomplicated wine, and pair it with ooey, gooey S’mores as you sit back in your camp chair and take in the vastness of the beautiful Texas sky.

Waterkloof  ‘Circle of Life’ Red Blend – Stellenbosch, SA (Platinum)

In their own convoluted words, the ‘Circle of Life’ line “is an all-embracing description by taste of the estate’s defining sense of origin and nature’s ongoing cycle found in its amphitheatre of biodynamic vineyards.” Waterkloof stocks their vineyards with chickens, sheep, and workhorses to better practice sustainable farming, and instead of using chemicals, their soils are kept healthy through the use of plant extracts, fungi, and bacteria. The blends of ‘Circle of Life’ change from year to year, showcasing the varieties that performed the best in the various slopes and soils of the vineyard. This particular vintage consists of 39% Merlot, 31% Shiraz, and 30% Petit Verdot. Each grape contributes something unique to the overall product: juiciness from the Merlot, spiciness from the Shiraz, and fresh fruit from the Petit Verdot. Sour cherries and plum emerge first, followed by herbal notes and graphite, rounded out by a spicy finish. Meat-based dishes will pair nicely, but you should try this wine with the French Onion Soup at a newly opened French-American bistro, L’Amitié, open through lunch service.

Château Auguste Bordeaux Blend – Bordeaux, FR (Platinum)

Château Auguste is a 74-acre Bordeaux Superieur estate located on the Right Bank within the Entre-Deux-Mers appellation. The region is known for sandy and gravelly soils along with limestone, making it incredibly fertile for early-ripening varieties like Merlot. Almost 2000 years ago, Romans planted grapes in Bordeaux, and monks further developed the area during the Middle Ages. And one more historic note—you can see a glimpse of Napoleon on the label holding a glass of wine. Napoleon III instituted the Bordeaux Classification of 1855, a ranking system that designated Premier Cru vineyards and created extra-stringent guidelines. While not from a Premier Cru, this wine is pleasurable and quaffable; the estate practices organic farming it has been recorded that winemaker Damien Landouar plays music to the vines twice a day! Composed of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, it sings with blackberry, blueberry, dark plum, blackcurrant, anise, and some cedar. Savor a glass with a Brisket Burger with Cheese from the Munchie’s Food Truck.

Time Posted: May 2, 2024 at 5:31 AM Permalink to May 2024 Wine Club Wines Permalink
Steve Severance
April 22, 2024 | Steve Severance

Thin Line Film Festival

Thin Line Fest starts Wednesday! This year's festival is jam packed with high-level content. We've got 60 documentaries including 22 Texas Premieres. Most films will be followed by a QA with the filmmaker(s). There are 85 bands across 7 stages with as diverse a lineup as we've ever had. And Thin Line Photo continues to grow with 2 downtown galleries featuring 175 printed works from 48 photographers. Plus the return of Denton Makers Fest on Saturday with 100 art and maker vendors on the Denton Square.  

As always, General Admission to the festival is completely free. Reserve your wristband at and then check-in at a festival venue. Once you've got your wristband you get full access to all festival programming! If you want an elevated experience, reserve a VIP wristband. You will get priority access to all venues and access to the festival Green Room where we will be serving up food and beverages throughout the fest!  New this year is the Daily VIP. You can now buy VIP privileges for any day (or days) you wish. That means you can do General Admission Wed-Fri but then on Saturday upgrade to VIP! Explore all the options by visiting the link below.

Steve's has three nights of live music in conjunction with Thinline. Thursday - Saturday, join us at 7:30 for some great music.


Time Posted: Apr 22, 2024 at 2:40 PM Permalink to Thin Line Film Festival Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
April 19, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

Ah, the Smell of It All!

April’s wine club focus is on the aromas that accompany wines. Beginners always ask if there is actually strawberry or green apple in a wine, and this makes sense—how aromas get in wine is a complicated process. Of course, science is the answer, and even more specifically, organic chemistry is why. There are volatile compounds, of which there are somewhere between 800 to over 1000, many of them resulting from the fermentation process. They can also occur during grape ripening or maturation as well as through aging of the wine, whether in a vessel like oak, concrete, or stainless steel and through bottle aging. A few volatile compounds account for the majority of aromas in wine. Terpenes result in rose or citrus smells, like in the Château Boisson Bordeaux Blanc or the Becker ‘Saigné’ Rosé we have on our April wine club. Vanillan, which is an aldehyde, derives from oak aging and can be noted in the Bodegas Muriel Rioja Reserva and the Mill Keeper Red, platinum wines on our April club. Ketones offer up floral notes in red wines, like the violet and hyacinth aromas of Viticcio ‘Ferraio’ Toscana Rosso, also on our April platinum club. Mercaptans can smell like passionfruit or gooseberry in Sauvignon Blancs or blackcurrant in red wines, like the Agramont Graciano (man, you really need to try all the wines on the club this month!). You have also heard of pyrazines, green bellpepper hints often seen in Cab and Cab Franc, and phenols which are derived from oak aging. To make all of this make a little more sense, be sure to request the aroma kits that can accompany your tasting this month (no chemical compounds discussed!). And after all this analytical nuance, be sure to grab yourself a glass or bottle the next time you are at Steve’s!

Time Posted: Apr 19, 2024 at 9:39 AM Permalink to Ah, the Smell of It All! Permalink
Steve Severance
April 18, 2024 | Steve Severance

Best of Denton

Steve's has been honored with Best of Denton awards over the years and we hope to continue that success with your help.

Visit the Denton RC Best of Denton site and nominate us in three major categories:
Bar and Night Life
Best of the Best
It's always an honor to be recognized by our friends in the community, and we hope that you feel we have earned that recognition through our efforts to make Steve's a great place to visit when you are in need of a fun and relaxed experience.
Thanks for your support!


Time Posted: Apr 18, 2024 at 6:03 AM Permalink to Best of Denton Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
April 4, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

April Wine Club Wines

Château Boisson Bordeaux Blanc – Cadillac, FR (Gold)

Sauvignon Blanc has become almost synonymous with New Zealand, but it certainly has its origins as an Old-World wine. This Bordeaux Blanc, a blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Sauvignon Gris, wakes you up and reminds you that France planted these grapes long before anyone else did. In fact, farmers found these vines growing wild like weeds, and thus the name ‘sauvage’ stuck. Simply called ‘Sauvignon’ on the label, the Château Boisson is a sensory experience in what both grapes do so well. Sauv Gris is a pink-skinned mutation of Sauv Blanc (yes, gris does mean gray, but the grapes are actually a lovely pink-blush hue), and together, they bring tangy, bright acidity and a bit of creaminess from lees aging. With a floral note, this wine also offers aromas and flavors of grapefruit, citrus, honeydew melon, and a hint of tropicality. Grab some oysters from Shuck Me and polish them down with a glass (or three) of this Château Boisson.

Becker Vineyards ‘Saigné’ Rosé – Texas (Gold)

Known for their lavender fields, as seen on the label, almost as much as their wine, Becker Vineyards is a gorgeous venue in the Texas Hill Country, especially in the spring. Having established the winery in 1992, Richard and Bunny Becker’s first harvest was in 1995; in 2024, they are a 100,000 case-per-year powerhouse. Ladybird Johnson was a huge fan of their Chardonnay, and the Beckers were the first in Texas to grow Viognier; however, they devote more acreage to red grapes. This particular wine was made using the saignée method, where part of the red grape juice is ‘bled off’ and earmarked for rosé. A fascinating blend of Counoise, Merlot, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Barbera, and Syrah, it is dry and multi-layered. The rosé boasts aromatics of candied watermelon, strawberry, and citrus blossom, while red fruits, lemon peel and white pepper tingle your tastebuds. It would pair so nicely with a strawberry salad topped with some goat cheese (or whatever you fancy) from Salata.

Bodegas Agronavarra ‘Agramont’ Graciano – Navarra, SP (Gold)

The Spanish grape Graciano is normally used as a blending grape because it is notoriously difficult to cultivate. It succumbs to mildew in the vineyard, and it is a late-ripening variety that results in very low yields. However, when all the conditions are right for Graciano to thrive, it is a highly perfumed and black-skinned grape that offers up something different than other Spanish tintos. Grown throughout northern Spain, specifically in the Rioja region and Ribera del Duero, Graciano loves the heat. The ‘Agramont’ is from Rioja’s next-door neighbor, Murchante, in Navarra. Coming in at 97 points at the Decanter World Wine Awards, it is both a crowd-pleaser and a cerebral pour. Fragrantly herbal, with aromatics of mulberry, blackcurrant, and tobacco, the palate lingers long with a spice-filled finish. Sharp cheeses and spicy foods will shine with this wine, so a serving of Cheese and Salsa’s Wisconsin Cheese Curds would be an excellent accompaniment.

Viticcio ‘Ferraio’ Toscana Rosso – Tuscany, IT (Platinum) 

Picturesque and dreamy, the vines of Viticcio recline among the olive trees and rolling hills of Tuscany. With respect for the land, the winery has been totally organic since 2013 and also engages in biodynamic practices. The Viticcio brand offers their ‘Ferraio’ label, which is an homage to the artisanal craftsmanship of blacksmiths, who are indispensable on Tuscan farms. An obvious comparison can be made to the winemaker who frets and sweats to make the perfect concoction. In this case, it is a blend of 40% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 10% Petit Verdot. What has been forged is a lovely, sapid red that can be drunk now or cellared. Incredibly floral on the nose, this rosso also offers dark fruits like blackberry, blackcurrant, and plum. This wine would soar with the Lamb Curry from Sangham Indian Restaurant.

Zorzal ‘Terroir Único’ Malbec – Mendoza, ARG (Gold)

While many Malbecs are made in Mendoza, what makes this wine even more special is that the vines are planted in Gualtallary, in the county of Tupungato, an area 4400 feet above sea level in the Uco Valley; this region is also impacted by the moderating influence of the Las Tunas River. Soils made up of the thousands-of-years-old shells and bones of sea creatures (scientifically known as calcareous soils) and the powerful Zonda wind all play a part in making this ‘Terrior Único’ Malbec. The two pillars that Zorzal holds steadfast when crafting delicious wines are (1) having maximum respect for the terroir and (2) displaying minimal intervention in winemaking, and this wine certainly is no exception. Zorzal uses native yeasts in the fermentation process, and this wine is aged in concrete to maintain Malbec’s fruity characteristics. Aromas of cherry and blueberry coalesce with delectable dark chocolate. The wine is rounded out by an earthiness along with a tinge of minerality and flint. Enjoy a glass with Argentina’s national dish, Carne Asada tacos, which you can have locally from El Taco H.

Bodegas Muriel Rioja Reserva – Rioja Alavesa, SP (Platinum)

Bodegas Muriel has been fashioning elegant and complex Rioja wines since 1982. Julián Murúa Entrena established the winery after learning all that he could from his father, the founder of Bodegas Murúa in 1926. The brand ‘Muriel’ comes from a combining of several names: Murúa, Rioja, and the town of Elciego (it made sense to them!). Rioja is only one of two Denominacións de Origen Calificada (DOCa) in Spain, and there are extremely stringent rules enforced on wine preparation and aging. As this is a Reserva wine, which can only be made in the most exceptional of years, it must undergo a minimum of three years of aging: at least one year in oak and the rest in the bottle. Entrena chose to use a mixture of French and American oak for a multi-layered flavor. Needless to say, the Muriel Rioja Reserva is robust and luxurious. Ripe red fruits, vanilla, baking spice, and coffee are evident on the nose, and a lengthy finish dances around the palate. A spicy dish can hold up to such a formidable wine, like Pork Bulgogi from The Taste, a small restaurant known for their Korean Barbecue.

The Mill Keeper Red Blend – California (Platinum)

The Mill Keeper brand is an offering from Tom Gamble, who has vineyards in all of Napa Valley’s best locations: Oakville, Yountville, Mt. Veeder, and Rutherford. What makes The Mill Keeper special is that it sponsors causes that Gamble believes in, like the National Park Conservation Association, and as seen on the Red Blend label, the Bale Grist Mill. He has dedicated The Mill Keeper in honor of the pioneers and visionaries of the 1800s who gave back to the land and built this country with their hands. A blend of 55% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Petit Verdot, this is a luscious wine from Gamble’s California farms. Dark fruits like blackberry, black cherry, and plum engage the olfactory senses, while cocoa, oak, and spice pleasingly remain on the palate. Cartwright’s Ranch House has what you need to match with this wine, the Classic Sizzle Burger.

Y. Rousseau ‘Son of a Butcher’ Red Blend – Clarksburg, CA (Platinum)

Yannick Rousseau hails from the southwest of France, where grapes like Tannat and Colombard, not as well known as other French international varieties, thrive. In his own words, Rousseau utilizes “his own alchemical process to create and elevate edge-bending wines.” He moved to Napa Valley and met his Texas-born wife, Susan, there. Together, they decided to found Y. Rousseau Wines to showcase their “discriminating artisanship.” Always considering his roots (or ‘racines’ in French), Rousseau used a photograph of his 10-year-old father standing in front of his grandfather’s butcher shop as the label for this wine. He calls himself an “SOB” (son of a butcher!) and has named several wines in honor of his family. This red blend, a complex assemblage of 30% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Sirah, is juicy and deep. At first whiff, this wine smells like backed blackberry pie wrapped up with anise, dried herbs, coffee, and sweet spices. The taste is just as pleasing. Grab some wet naps, order the rib plate from Clara’s Kitchen, and delight in a delicious glass of ‘Son of a Butcher.’

Bonus Pour: DaCosta 10-Year-Old Tawny Port – Porto, POR

This is not a wine to take home as part of your club (unless you want to purchase a bottle!), but it is an amazing way to end this scent-worthy tasting!

Time Posted: Apr 4, 2024 at 5:37 PM Permalink to April Wine Club Wines Permalink
Steve Severance
March 14, 2024 | Steve Severance

The Legendary Clarence Johnson III

Time Posted: Mar 14, 2024 at 12:29 PM Permalink to The Legendary Clarence Johnson III Permalink
Cheryl Hunt
February 29, 2024 | Cheryl Hunt

March 2024 Wine Club Wines

Lewis Wines Chenin Blanc – Texas High Plains (Platinum)

Co-owners and winemakers Doug Lewis and Duncan McNabb established Lewis Wines in 2010 after both working in the wine industry in the Hill Country. Lewis is a Texas winery through and through, sourcing 100% Texas grapes from their estate as well as the High Plains. They seek to “remain invisible in the cellar, producing age-worthy wines that showcase the vintage, vineyard, and farming.” For this wine, they partnered with the Philips Vineyard in the High Plains to craft a Chenin Blanc that allows the grape to sing without much winemaking wizardry. Fermented in stainless steel and aged on the lees for seven months, this style of Chenin Blanc, a medium yellow in the glass, is bone-dry and has aromas of pear and apple which evolve into ginger, honey, tangerine, and minerality on the palate. Enjoying the Lewis with your favorite seafood platter from Hoochie’s will make your day.

Bourgeois ‘Le Vert Galant’ Rosé – Coteaux du Vendômois – FR (Gold)

The ‘Le Vert Galant’ depicts a king on its label. That is Henri IV, who ruled France from 1589 to 1610. His nickname was the “Green Gallant,” due to his, umm, affection towards the fairer sex (in other words, he was a vigorous man). But he also fell in love with an indigenous grape to the Loire Valley, Pineau d’Aunis. During the battle for Vendômois, he drank a lot of it; thus, his Royal Greenness is honored on this rosé. Skin contact of 36 hours developed both the coppery-salmon hue and the multiple layers of this wine. Considered a “very terroir-sensitive grape,” Pineau d’Aunis reflects the Coteaux du Vendômois with its herby garrigue-like aromas and its red berry and tropical fruit flavors. A perfect wine to pair with sushi and sashimi, try it with your preferred dish from Koji Sushi (they also serve cooked food!).

Pike Road Pinot Noir – Willamette, OR (Platinum)

There really is a Pike Road, which runs adjacent to the Pike Road vineyards, meanders through lowland farms and deep into the Oregon Coast Range Mountains. From their website: “Our family's vineyards sit overlooking this captivating valley of hazelnut orchards and dairy farms, wheat fields and tree nurseries: Oregon’s bounty in the valleys.” The winemakers source fruit only from these local farms, including their own estate, living their mission of supporting small, family-owned businesses. Pike Road claims that Willamette Valley is the best place to grow New World Pinots, a result you can taste in your glass. Clear ruby in color, the wine offers cherry compote, strawberry, red plum, a touch of cola, and spice. Partaking a meal of the Stuffed Mushrooms from Graffiti Pasta alongside a glass of the Pike Road Pinot would be a glorious way to cap off your evening.

Kavaklidere ‘Yakut’ Red Blend – Ankara, TUR (Gold) 

Founded in 1929, Kavaklidere Wines Inc. is one of the oldest and largest wine producers in all of Turkey. This red blend uses indigenous grapes, the noble grapes of the high elevation Anatolia region, Öküzgözü and Bo─čazkere. Bo─čazkere has strong tannins and structure, while Öküzgözü creates bright, fruit-driven wines (sounds similar to the relationship between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). As a blend, these two grapes make a medium (plus)-bodied wine that is age-worthy. The wine benefits from some oak aging to help soften the tannins. Ruby-hued in the glass, it beguiles you with notes of cherry and raspberry which give way to anise and some vanilla on the back of the palate. Upon researching this wine, over and over the phrase “Yakut is the legendary wine of Turkey” would appear, so appreciate this legend with the Linguine Carbonara from Fera’s Pasta and Pizza.

El Capricho Tannat – Durazno – URU (Gold)

Tannat, the most planted grape in Uruguay, has roots in the southwest of France, near Madiran, close to the border of Spain.  It was brought to Uruguay by Basque immigrants in the 19th century. Considered one of the most heart-healthy varieties due to its high levels of antioxidants and resveratrol, Tannat is usually a lushly colored grape with extra-thick skins and more seeds than average (closer to 5 when most grapes have 2-3). Due to its thick skins, it is a low-maintenance grape to grow; generally, it is less likely to be infected by pests, mold, fungus, and even cold fluctuations and frost. This underrated grape deserves some of our love and attention! The El Capricho, with a crafty fox on the label and a ruby color with a pinkish rim, imparts a unique herby-citrus-floral aroma, and once tasted, it bestows cherry, fig, and black tea flavors. The El Capricho deserves a spicy dish, like the Jumping Beef entrée from Andaman.

Luchi Primitivo – Puglia, IT (Gold) 

Wine guru Jancis Robinson calls the story behind Primitivo a “romantic thriller, a mystery I have been following over the past 30 years.” The tale, known as the ‘Zinquest,’ is alluring because Zinfandel was the most planted California grape until the second half of the 20th century when Cabernet usurped it. It wasn’t until the 1990s when DNA profiling suggested it was identical to the Primitivo grape grown in Puglia. As we have come to learn, Italian immigrants brought Primitivo cuttings when they moved to the United States. During this genetic analysis, it was also proven that Primitivo/Zinfandel are the same as a near extinct ancient Croatian variety internationally known as Tribidrag (but locally called Crljenak Kaštelanski). All in all, the grape is as bold as it is fascinating. The Luchi, deep ruby with salmon glints, emanates notes of cherry, dark plum, chocolate, spice, and smoke. While barbecue is always a good match, let’s honor its Mediterranean heritage by pairing a glass of Luchi with the Beef Kebabs from Layalina.

Monte Zovo Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore – Veneto, IT (Platinum)

Valpolicella wines are nice, but by adding a little oomph, winemakers can make them transcendental. The Monte Zovo is just that: it incorporates ‘Superiore’ grapes, which means the winemaker had to follow more stringent rules than just the average wine. The Monte Zovo also uses the Ripasso technique; wines that use Ripasso (or second pass) are often called “Baby Amarones.” Such wines are made by adding the pressed grape skins from Amarone, a very robust, high-end wine, to Valpolicella juice, which then undergoes a second fermentation. The result is a more flavorful wine, with added body and structure. Intense red with garnet highlights, the Monte Zovo reveals violet and geranium notes on the nose. When tasted, black cherry and cassis pop and then meld into a luscious layer of dark fruits, vanilla, and cinnamon. Delight your senses by pairing this with the Arincini, which are fried risotto balls with fennel sausage, from Osteria Il Muro (if you can get in!).

Lyeth Estate Meritage – Sonoma County (Platinum)

Chip Lyeth was an adventurous person who turned his love of wine into his vocation. Following a trip to Bordeaux in 1972, he ditched his full-time job as a banker, studied viticulture at UC Davis, and bought land in Alexander Valley. His first Bordeaux-style blends were released in 1982 to critical acclaim. His near obsession with Bordeaux varietals won over several other amenable winemakers who also wanted to honor these prestigious grapes by founding the Meritage Association, whose mission became to create blends of at least two Bordeaux noble varieties, all grown in California. Furthermore, the Meritage signature denotes that only the highest quality grapes from a vintage will go into each bottle. This Lyeth Estate Meritage, brilliant garnet in the glass, blends Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot into this delectable offering. Layered ripe red and dark fruits on the palate transform into mocha, baking spice, and cedar on the finish. Relish this unique Sonoma County blend with Vitello Matrigiana, a breaded veal dish served with brandy pepper sauce and mushrooms, from Giuseppe’s Italian.


Time Posted: Feb 29, 2024 at 10:49 AM Permalink to March 2024 Wine Club Wines Permalink