Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holiday Wines with Vilma Mazaite of laV

As a renowned sommelier and managing partner at upcoming restaurant laV, we asked Vilma Mazaite to share some fabulous recommendations for wines this holiday season.  From dinner pairings to family gifts, Vilma filled us in on the best wines for celebrating with family and friends.
Many people get so caught up in preparing the holiday dinner that wine pairing becomes an afterthought. For Vilma, holiday dinner is defined by hearty dishes and warming up with a glass of great red wine, such as burgundy or northern Rhône syrah based wines. These wines are lighter and acid driven, pairing wonderfully with an array of dishes. To find the best deal, Vilma recommends trying bourgogne level burgundy from the best producer, which means amazing quality for an even greater price. Domaine Roulot Monthélie, Coche-Dury, and Hubert Lignier all offer entry level wines with quality that will easily exceed your expectations. For a good Rhône try Jamet Côte-Rôtie or Thierry Allemand Cornas to impress your guests.

Choosing the proper wine for holiday gifts can be tricky as well. Because everyone has different tastes, it is better to stay as neutral as possible unless you know specifically what your family/friend prefers. Vilma suggests gifting wine that you love to drink or one that has a story. For a friend's Thanksgiving dinner last year, Vilma gifted a bottle of Hoffstater Shiava from the Alto Adige region of Italy where she had recently traveled. Not only did this wine taste delicious, but it had a unique and interesting story to share.
Vilma also notes that bubbles are a great go-to gift for anyone. Even if they aren't a big fan of drinking champagne, nothing says "let's celebrate" more than the sound of popping open a bottle of bubbly! Champagne can also be great for ringing in the new year, and although it can get a little pricey, it's totally worth spending on. A few favorites that Vilma would love to open this New Year's Eve include:
  • Krug Brut 1988
  • Pol Roger Brut Reserve 1996
  • Egly-Ouriet Brut Prestige Millesime 1999
  • Selosse Substance NV
  • Paul Bara Brut Rose Special Club 2005

In addition to Vilma's great wine advice and suggestions, laV Executive Chef Allison Jenkins shares a holiday dish made with 10/15 onions, which can be purchased at this time of year. laV is an up-and-coming Austin restaurant specializing in French cuisine.

Texas 10/15 Onion and Leek Gratin
6 cups julienned sweet onions
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (wash and dry well)
4 oz unsalted butter
1 ½ cups heacy cream
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 ½ cups grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 T. olive oil

This gratin can be assembled the day before baking. To bake before serving, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt 6 T of the butter in a large heavy pot with a lid. Add the leeks and onions and sprinkle with a little salt. Turn the heat to medium and cover with the lid to let the onions steam, about 5 minutes. Once the onions and leeks have begun to soften, remove the lid and continue to cook until they are translucent. Keep the heat fairly low so they do not color. Add the thyme and season with a little more salt and pepper. Then add the cream and cook 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Transfer to an ovenproof baking dish (or individual dishes) and set aside. 

For the breadcrumb topping, melt the remaining 2 T of butter with the 2 T of olive oil. Combine with the remaining parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.   

Before baking sprinkle the breadcrumb topping over the onion mixture. Bake at 375 until hot all the way through, brown on the top, and bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How our 15th Anniversary = 27 years of Philanthropy

So, how exactly do you cram 27 years of giving in to 15 years? With an explanation  of course!  The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas officially turns 15 years old tomorrow, October 27th, 2012.  You see, according to the IRS, we were formed as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit public foundation on October 27th, 1997 thus making tomorrow our 15 year anniversary.  Pretty cool.

However, we have actually been operating as a philanthropic community donor for over 27 years starting with our first ever Rare and Fine Wine Auction in April of 1985 benefiting KLRU public television.  Over the past 27 years, we have given over $1.50 million back to our community through scholarships, grants and donations including over $800,000 to our original beneficiary, KLRU.  We have also given out over $190,000 in culinary scholarships, $175,000 in grants to underwrite TexSom and $15,000 to Share our Strength and Texas No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger.

Coincidentally, tomorrow will also be my 2 year anniversary with the Foundation so clearly I have not personally witnessed all the good deeds we have done.  However, I am a pretty good forensic investigator and have had a lot of fun learning all the good works we have done from helping eradicate Xylella fastidiosa (Pierce's disease) in our Texas vineyards in partnership with Texas Tech University to sponsoring a TV show about childhood nutrition once called Flapjax and Papi's Kitchen (unfortunately, we were a little too far ahead of our time for the show to succeed).

Of course, we are not about to stop here!  We have selected Dell Children's Medical Center as our 2013 Rare and Fine Wine Auction beneficiary, we are committed to hosting the annual TexSom conference and we are partnering with a group in West Texas to raise money for the South Plains Food Bank and much, much, more.

I have no idea if we will continue for another 27 years or 100 years, but I can tell you that I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far and look forward to the next 15 years with the Foundation.

Marshall Jones
Executive Director

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Texas Wine Month

The Texas Department of Agriculture has named October Texas Wine Month, so what better time to support the many wineries of the Lone Star State? Texas is the fifth largest wine producing state and brings nearly 1 million tourists here each year. The 2012 Texas harvest has been one of the largest grape harvests in state history and has got Texas winemakers and wine enthusiasts alike very excited.

The Wine and Food Foundation is celebrating with a Wine Dinner this coming Monday hosted by Gusto Italian Kitchen + Wine Bar and Duchman Family Winery, which has recently been named "best Texas wine" by the Dallas Morning News. This five-course meal and wine pairing will be accompanied by Duchman Winemaker Dave Reilly and Gusto Chef Julio Cesar Florez.

There are also lots of other ways to get involved in Texas Wine Month and support our local and regional winemakers. Texas Hill Country Wineries offers tastings from 17 Texas Wineries with A Month of Sundays: Barrel and Tank TastingWhile enjoying your pairings, discuss the winemaking process, winery lifestyle and the future of the wine industry in the Texas Hill Country with winemakers and owners. You can also catch the Fredericksburg Food & Wine Fest on Saturday, October 27 to celebrate and indulge in delicious Texas food and 100 different Texas wines.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Open House & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

After settling into our new space, we're ready to show it off and celebrate with you all! Please join us this Thursday, October 4 for the Austin Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of our new Sixth Street office.

The ribbon cutting will be from 1-2 p.m. and will be followed by an Open House until 7 p.m. Snacks and drinks will be served throughout the day, so come hungry! We welcome you all to come celebrate and check out our new office.

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas
2121 East 6th Street, Suite 102
Austin, TX 78702

Thursday, October 4 | 1-7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We've Moved!

We've Moved! 

Come visit The Wine & Food Foundation in our new location on East 6th Street. Right on the southwest corner of East 6th Street and Robert Martinez Boulevard. Please stop in and say "Hi!" and have a glass of wine in our new space in The Sixth Street Villas.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bill Elsey’s Wine Picks for Independence Day!

As the 4th of July is right around the corner, we wanted to find out which wines are the perfect fits for the occasion. We asked the 2011 Texas Sommelier Conference winner, Bill Elsey if he would give some recommendations and we are so excited to try them!

He said to always look for wines that are:
   *Affordable (so you can easily buy multiple bottles!),
   *Go well with traditional BBQ & summer time food,
   *And can appeal to a large crowd

A few of his recommendations include:
Canals & Munné Gran Reserva Cava Spain 2007: a great sparkling wine to serve all day long on the Fourth. It is perfectly balanced with notes of citrus, apple, mineral and toast. It is fresh and with crisp acidity making it easy to serve well chilled outside on the porch on in the back yard. This wine is a great aperitif and goes with just about any food. Retail in the Red Room $21

Cave de Samur "Les Pouches" Loire Valley, France Chenin Blanc 2011: This wine is bone dry and loaded with flavors of key lime, lemon zest, granny smith apple, and chalk. When it is as warm as it has been recently, and will continue to be for the Fourth, this is a wine to help you get through a hot afternoon by the pool. Retail in the Red Room $17

Cantine Barbera "La Bambina" Rosato 2011 Sicily, Italy: Rosés are the most versatile of all wines during the Fourth of July because they offer many of the same qualities that you find in light bodied red wines, while still providing a refreshing character, and you can serve them well chilled. This wine comes from southern Italy and is made from 100% Nero D'Avola grapes - an indigenous variety to the region. Fresh cherries, ripe strawberry and raspberry flavors are prevalent with a beautiful red floral note on the finish. Retail in the Red Room $17

Valdez Sonoma Zinfandel 2009 California - Sonoma Zinfandel is a great go-to option for the full bodied red wine enthusiasts this Fourth. The Jammy, rich, dark fruit character of the wine pairs perfectly with BBQ, Steaks and Burgers. This wine is an exclusive offering only available through the Red Room Lounge and offers tremendous power and depth of flavor for the price. Retail in the Red Room $39

Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Get Your Passports for our 10th Anniversary of Tour de Vin!

It is the 10th Anniversary of one of the Foundation’s premier events!  Tour de Vin is a get-your-passport-stamped style wine and food tasting featuring fine wine from around the world and the best domestic and internationally-inspired cuisine in Central Texas.

This globetrotting culinary showcase highlights 15-20 of Austin’s favorite chefs and 15-20 wineries presenting a cosmopolitan array of samplings which are accompanied by live multi-cultural performances throughout the evening.

The event will be set at the W Hotel in downtown Austin on August 24. 2012 from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Guests can enjoy live music under the stars, and a silent auction featuring rare wines, exceptional restaurant packages and a dazzling array of items. 
Visit our website to get your tickets today!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May Membership Mayhem

May is Membership Mayhem month!  Become a member at any level throughout the month of May and receive one or two FREE* tickets to a Wine 101 class and tasting at Twin Liquors in June.  In addition to this amazing benefit right off the bat, you’ll also receive discounts to premier Foundation events throughout the year, access to members only wine tastings, and more.  But hurry, this offer is only valid while supplies last!  We’ve got 25 seats to give away; they will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.  So join us today!

*Number of free seats depends on member level at which you join.  Enthusiast receives one free seat, all other levels receive two. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

Going Once, Going Twice, SOLD!

With champagne flowing and lively bidding, the 27th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction was certainly a night to remember!  Guests arrived dressed to the nines and began the champagne toasts while perusing the live and silent auction items.  Wines of rare offerings, large formats, and coveted vintages were on display and wine trips and multi-course dinners were sold throughout the night.  A great time was had by all before the special night came to a close.  Drum roll, please…

And we are proud to announce that the foundation raised $260,000 to be used for our good works including culinary scholarships, educational grants, and a gift to The Texas Hunger Initiative and No Kid Hungry to help end childhood hunger in Texas.

We are extremely grateful to our Champagne Reception sponsors H-E-B and Moet Hennessy as well as those who supplied the wines for dinner: Cape Classics, Hahn Family Wines, Moet Hennessy, and Retour Wines.  Many thanks are also in order for The Four Seasons, TexSom sommeliers, our volunteers, auctioneers and spotters, and our Auction Committee, all without whom this night would not be possible!

And of course, thanks to you all for joining us for such a wonderful evening full of friends, fun, and plenty of wine!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Premier Lots for the 27th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction Announced!

After months of scouring the globe for rare, fine, and desirable wines, The 27th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction is nearly upon us, and we've got our hands on some really great lots this year that you won't want to miss.  Among them are large format bottles, collector's wine sets, lavish wine trips, and exclusive wine dinners.  Don't be the last to scout out the details on these premier lots!

Have we piqued your interest?  The night begins with a champagne reception in which all the lots are on display for your perusal.  Following, you'll be treated to a decadent array of salads, entrees and desserts on the buffet, presented by the Four Season's Executive Chef Elmar Prambs.  And we've only just begun!  Then the real fun begins with the boisterous and fast-paced live auction, showcasing nearly 100 auction lots.  Feeling lucky?  Give it a go at the silent auction tables where 50 lots featuring wine, gift cards, experiences and other goodies abound.  And the best part?  It's not too late to reserve your seats for this always fun evening!  Just visit our registration page to join in on the fun!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cowboys + Gauchos Recap

This past weekend, we hosted Cowboys + Gauchos! We couldn’t have asked for a better setting. It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day full of non-stop fun! People began pouring in early in their boots and hats, ready to jump on into all excitement.

Like most guests, my eye was drawn straight to the pit where a delicious variety of meats were on display. There’s nothing like having your meal cooked right in front of you! And the smell! From the moment you stepped on site, the smell of barbecue was intoxicating. Roaming from station to station, there wasn’t one booth without something incredibly tasty. One of my favorites, besides the main attractions (the elk, pig, and goat), was the brisket taco provided by Salt Lick. The meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection. Wrapped up in spicy sauce and a tortilla, I was in heaven!

 The inside of the pavilion was beautiful, filled with sparkling lights, splashes of color, and, of course, the smell of so many amazing wines. Guests were able to sample both Texas and South American wines, while being serenaded by beautiful music. It was the perfect atmosphere to sip on your favorite wine and get swept away in the song.

 But, my absolute favorite part of the event was the S’mores Pit! Out behind the pavilion, there was a table full of chocolates and marshmallows. There were so many different flavors to choose from that it was hard to make just one! So much excitement surrounded the process. People would flock to the station to experience something that would take them back to their childhood days. I went traditional with a roasted vanilla marshmallow and stuck it between two graham crackers with a delicious piece of dark chocolate. It was the perfect treat, topped off with sticky fingers! Cowboys + Gauchos was a wonderful experience full of good food, great wines, and tons of fun! Don’t miss out next year. We are sure to have another rip roarin’ good time!

 -Rachel Reid, intern

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Members Only Syrah Happy Hour

We went out on a limb and hosted our first-ever members only wine tasting last night at Marquee Rents. Well, I guess it wasn’t too risky; who doesn’t like wine tastings?! We were greeted with a beautiful set-up in Marquee’s design center, where colorful linens painted the walls and sparkling stemware awaited our wine. We ended up with about 15 different Syrah/Shiraz to taste along with an abundance of yummy bites from our members and Dagar’s Catering. It was interesting to find that some wines were robustly fruit-forward while others were lighter bodied with a softer finish. Everyone had their own favorites but I personally liked the 2005 Tintara Shiraz McLaren Vale, bursting with blue and black fruit and some layers of mushroom and tabacco.

 I’m already looking forward to our next members only wine tasting, wherever it may take us!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Events Not To Be Missed!

We have two exciting events in the next few weeks and trust us, these are not to be missed! The first is the Tops in Texas event on Tuesday, February 28th. Chefs Josh Watkins, Paul Peterson and Zack Northcutt will go head to head and be judged by Top Chef contestants Tre Wilcox, Arnold Myint as well as Chefs David Bull and Tyson Cole. All ticket proceeds will benefit The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas! VIP tickets are $85 each (just a few left, seriously) and General Admission is $50 each. Click here for more information.

The next upcoming event is Cowboys + Gauchos on Sunday, March 4th at the Salt Lick Pavilion. Starting at high noon, ticket-holders will be welcomed with the sights, sounds and experiences familiar to both the North American Cowboy and the South American Gaucho – the sight of an open fire with the delicious smells of great BBQ. Chow on the grilled fare before washing down your delicious rations with the fine wines from local Texas vineyards and South American wineries, plus a little local brew too! We’ll have live music and family fun activities (did someone say Photo Booth?!?) sponsored by Yelp! that you won’t want to miss. $40 Foundation Members, $50 General Public, $10 ages 13-20.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cowboys + Gauchos

Yee-haw and olé! Cowboys + Gauchos will be returning to its frontier at the Salt Lick Pavilion on Sunday, March 4th.  Come experience the food, wine and culture of the North American Cowboy and South American Gaucho. Starting at high Noon, attendees will be welcomed by the smell of meat cooking on an open fire and the sound of fine wine being uncorked. Delicious cuisine will be provided by the following restaurants: Judge’s Hill Restaurant & Bar, Café Josie, Zocalo Café, Auguste Escoffier, Live Oak Barbecue, Wild Bubba’s, and Mmmpanadas.

Accentuating the flavors of the meal, wine will be provided by the following wineries and distributers: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Duchman Family Winery, Fall Creek Vineyards, Casa Lapostolle, Llano Estacado, McPherson Cellars, Spicewood Vineyards, Terrazas de los Andes and a local brew from Thirsty Planet Brewery.

To sweeten the hearts of even the most rugged cowboys and gauchos, dessert will be provided by the gourmet Delysia Chocolatier.

Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy an open fire, live entertainment, and authentic North and South American food and wine.  Purchase your tickets for this can’t miss event before space runs out! Tickets are $40 for Foundation members and $ 50 for general public. Click here to register for the event.

A huge thanks to our sponsors Yelp!, YNN Austin, Acqua Panna and The Salt Lick BBQ for helping make this exciting, tasty, and cultural experience possible.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Film Frenzy!

We had a blast this past weekend participating in the First Annual Reel Change Film Frenzy, brought to life by the Alamo Drafthouse and Lights. Camera. Help.  Ten teams of filmmakers were partnered with ten different nonprofits and tasked with writing, producing, shooting, and editing a short film in under 48 hours.  On Sunday evening, we viewed the final products at the Alamo Drafthouse and a winner was crowned.


We were honored to be paired with ONE STORY PRODUCTIONS for our challenge. We began Friday filming at Congress, doing interviews with Sommelier June Rodil and Chef David Bull. Then we headed to the Red Room Lounge at where we hosted a small get together and interviewed 2011 Scholarship Winner, Renee Morgan and the 2011 TexSom Best Sommelier in Texas winner, Bill Elsey. Filming was not done yet! We headed to Max's Wine Dive to interview the wonderful Chef Erica Beneke. On Saturday, we made our way out to Spicewood Springs Vineyard which provided the perfect backdrop for filming.


We are honored to have our video alongside nine other fantastic non-profits! The winner was Austin Bat Cave and fan favorite was Whole Planet. Check out our video titled Eat Well, Drink Better here. Huge thank you to everyone that helped us during our Film Frenzy!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Save-The-Date: 27th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction

Mark your calendar now for the Foundation’s event of the year, the 27th Annual Rare & Fine Wine Auction! To be held at the Four Seasons Austin on April 14, 2012, festivities will begin with a champagne reception and silent auction debut. Following, guests will be treated to an array of fine wines as well as a decadent buffet in the ballroom at the Four Seasons Hotel. Then the fun begins! The boisterous, fast-paced and always competitive live auction will feature a multitude of exceptionally rare and collectable wine lots up for bid, in addition to extraordinary dinners, wine trips, and more!