Friday, December 24, 2010

Searching for wine? There's an app for that....

Need a little help choosing a wine? Check out some of these apps to make your decision a little easier!

Wine Spector VINTAGECHART+: This app is designed to quickly select a great bottle of wine from a reliable vintage. Plus, it's free to download!

Hello Vino: Great for the beginner wine consumer, this app offers recommendations of wine to pair with food, wine gifts and suggestions based on personal taste preferences.

Wine Snob: This app allows the user to track and rate the wines you drink, while also suggesting wines you might like. Bonus - letting the user choose from tasting words.

DRYNC: For the more advanced wine consumer, this app allows you to keep track of wines you've drunk, the wines you own and wines you'd like to add to your cellar. If there is a wine that you've been coveting, it also allows you to the opportunity to purchase it.

Hopefully we've made wine shopping a little easier for you this holiday season! Have a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Top 10 Wine Stories of 2010 (according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine)

It has been an exciting year here at The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas. We've thrown some great wine and food events, enjoyed delicious food, plus continued our mission of supporting education by awarding outstanding Chefs and Sommeliers with scholarships.

The staff found the article below  featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine (article shortened) interesting and made us wonder - what does 2011 hold? Let us know what you think.

Top 10 Wine Stories of 2010:
1) The “new normal.” Continuing to scramble the game board in the face of ongoing economic uncertainty, fewer consumers are willing to pay luxury prices, with predictable results on sales at every tier. In the U.S. market, the “sweet spot” of $12 to $15 slipped to $9 to $12 in 2009, and has remained. Anything over $20 is a tough sell.

2) Changing of the guard. Winery executives and owners are trying to figure out if they’re going to stay in the game or sell out, especially family businesses wondering if the next generation is going to take things on.

3) European wine flexes its marketing muscle. The European Union followed up the market reforms it instituted in 2008 with the promised funding: over a four-year period, well over 828 million euros ($1.16 billion) to support the marketing of European wine.

4) Continued export growth for Argentina and Chile. Argentinean Malbec has been the hot wine of the year. 

5) Climate change. France is dry, Portugal is hot and California is cold: six consecutive years of chilly vintages with 2010 being the coldest ever or nearly so.

6) Green wines.

7) Exchange rate fluctuations.

8) Oversupply. Wine in oversupply in various parts of the world and price segments are making this a buyer’s market, but at a time when consumers struggle for a sense of economic security.

9) Ch√Ęteau Lafite-Rothschild in Asia. Vintages of this iconic winery have become an outsized status symbol above and beyond the other first growths in Asia, the most visible symbol of the way the bottomless pockets of Asia’s elites have vaulted the prices for Bordeaux 2009 top growths into the stratosphere.

10) State sales of alcoholic beverages. At least four states are considering an end to their state-run liquor stores, but if Washington State is typical, no change will happen soon.

To read the full article, please click here.

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Austin's Growing Food Scene

It's an extra exciting time for the food scene of Austin with great new restaurants that have recently opened and will be opening in the coming weeks.

Last week's opening of the W Hotel dominated the news - including coverage of their restaurant, Trace. Trace is a contemporary, sophisticated restaurant featuring an American menu created by Chef Paul Hargrove and Pastry Chef Janina Amezuca.

Soleil, the newest expansion by The Oasis is gathering a lot of attention - including an article featured in The New York Times by Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly. Chef Robert Del Grande has put together Mediterranean menu with a large raw bar.

Curious to what's been building on West 6th? The new addition to the neighborhood is Haddingtons, an American tavern that is sure to fit in perfectly. Haddingtons is a project of Michael Polumbo of Mulberry, with Chef Zack Northcutt also involved.

We were lucky to have a sneak peek and private tour of Chef David Bull's new projects: the an upscale restaurant, Congress and casual spot Second at Congress both located on the ground floor of the Austonian. The interior of the restaurants is stunning, with a creative use of textures and recycled products.

We can't forget The Backspace, Vince Young's Steakhouse and recently HopDoddy. Check back as we're sure to be visiting them all very soon!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Backspace Opening Sunday


Backspace is sure to be the new “hot” space off 6th Street. Local favorite Chef Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside is opening a new pizza and small plate restaurant. The WFFT staff were invited to sample the new menu last night and we can assure you, Chef Shawn Cirkiel has created another hit.

The menu is broken down into the following sections: antipasti, carne, formaggi, insalate, pizze, add-ons and dolci (translation: appetizers, meats, cheeses, salads, pizzas, add-ons and dessert). The cozy, quaint spaces features a long center bar for seating as well as bench seating along the walls. Behind the bar the beautiful brick wood-fired pizza oven is used for creating the delicious pizzas such as Bianca (arugula, mozzarella, ricotta, pecarino) or the tasty combination of fennel sausage, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, garlic and parmesan. We can’t even begin to tell you about the homemade pizza crust….wow.

Antipasti plates include swiss chard with apples, raisins and garlic, braised cardoons (described to us as “celery on steroids”) with carrot, white wine and olive oil or lamb meatballs with stewed tomatoes, bread crumbs and peccarino romano. If you’re looking for something even smaller to sample, they offer meats and cheeses including prosciutto, mortadella, coppa, gorgonzola (so creamy and delicious!), robiola, and piave vecchio. Are you hungry yet?

Their wine menu features 10 white wines, 6 sparklings, 3 roses and 24 reds ranging from $7 a glass to bottles starting at $24. Be sure to check out Backspace opening this Sunday - www.thebackspace-austin.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Eat Local Week

Eat Local Week, is a fundraising week long event for Edible Austin, celebrating the abundance of local food and to raise money for Urban Roots, a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and to increase the access of healthy food in Austin. This season farm interns have raised over 25,136 pounds of produce —donating 40% of that to hunger relief and selling 60% at farmers' markets and farm stands run by the farm interns.

We suggest supporting two of our Community Partners, who are participating in Eat Local Week - Uchi and Uchiko.
Eat Local Week ends December 11, 2010.