Tag Archives: wine

Event Recap: La Marca Happy Hour at Times Ten Cellar

I am lucky to have some friends who can pinch hit when my day job heats up.  Thanks to Rachael Kohler for stepping in! (She’s also a legit sommelier, so her notes are going to be better than mine ever could be anyway!)  

written by Rachael Evans Kohler

Times Ten Cellar hosted the event, and was as rustic yet elegant as ever.

I was lucky enough to grab a minute with Carmen J. Castorina, Director of Communications for E&J Gallo Winery, and wine maker of La Marca, Fabrizio Gatto.  Both gentlemen were extremely charming and very enthusiastic on America’s perception of prosecco, and particularly the big interest from Texans!
I had the good luck to sit next to Meredith Steele, a food blogger/freelance food writer.  Her perception of the wine was interesting because she instantly commented on how friendly the wine was to the charcuterie we were enjoying. Not all wines are pleasant around cured meats, aged cheeses, and spiced sauces!
  • La Marca is now a DOC* and produces 35% of all prosecco in it’s designated region- biggest producer
  • They only produce this sparkling wine using the Charmat method, basically fermenting the juice in large tanks rather than inside the bottles as they do in Champagne.  This keeps it very light, fruity, and fresh.
  • They are not  trying to make a serious, intense, yeasty champagne-style wine, but rather a fan-pleasing style that goes with anyone, any food, and any time.
  • They’ve come a long way in the last 8 years, from two guys driving across the US trying to sell this unknown wine, to flying around the country to meet the demands of interested buyers.
  • The blue label and packaging are extremely close to “Tiffany Blue”- a point they swear is just coincidence … but one that works in their favor!
For the hour that I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  La Marca accomplished its intensions by opening up conversations, turning strangers into friends, and the demise of a delicious appetizer by everyone at the table.
*DOC means ”controlled designation of origin”.  Basically it is a classification of where a product came from. Read more.

Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant that was in the current Malai Kitchen space?  Honestly, I don’t really care because I wouldn’t give Malai up for all the bubble tea in Thailand.

I was so pleased to join Braden and Yasmin, the adorable husband/wife team behind Malai Kitchen, for a few sips of wine and a couple cocktails.  Not only are they delightful people, but they know their stuff.  Case in point: their wine list.  If you haven’t checked out Malai’s revamped wine list, it’s worth checking out.  The wine menu offers a unique variety of wines starting at $7 a glass from across the globe, some of which are priced quite close to retail (tres unique for a restaurant).  Even better? It’s wine-idiot-friendly as it’s organized by intensity.  

We enjoyed tastes of:

  • Livon 2011 (Friulano) – a unique flavor
  • Markus Molitor “Bernkasteler Badstube” 2011 (Riesling Kabinett)
  • Joseph Kent “Vieux Carre” 2010 (White blend)
  • Guillon “Gevery Chambertin” 2007 (Pinot Noir)
  • Longoria “Alisos Vineyard” 2005 (Syrah)
  • Brazin “Old Vine” 2010 (Zinfandel)

I died for the Guillon Pinot and would definitely recommend a glass or three of it.  The Markis Molitor is light and has just the right amount of sweetness to be the perfect pairing for a spicy curry dish.  Ask the bartender (or ask for Braden or Yasmin if they’re in) for a recommendation if you’re lost.

As for cocktails, they have a short list of really stellar options, many of which were developed by Jason Kosmas, the king of cocktail.  My dude, Rico*, and I tried a good mix of their offerings and were really wowed by some of the amazing mixology behind the Malai bar.  

The Singapore Sling got an audible “oh my god” from me and I’ll be returning for that one.  They recommend it for two (as it’s a pitcher) … but I think one person with a high tolerance and the Uber app could handle it.  Something everyone in Dallas must try is the Kaffir Collins (top left in the picture).  Since it’s made with a fruit used in Thai curries, kaffir lime, you can LITERALLY** not find this anywhere else in Dallas.  The taste is so incredibly rich and light and intriguing at the same time that  Rico and I actually squabbled over who got to finish this drink.  (I won.)  Other winners are the Cambodian Daiquiri and Bourbon Smash.

Malai Kitchen is convenient to grab before a movie or for happy hour, so stop in soon and order a Kaffir Collins in my honor.  

www.malaikitchen.com | @malaikitchen
3699 McKinney Ave #319 (West Village)
(972) 591-3387

*Rico is both a freaking talented coworker and the leader of the Brunch Bros gang.  Check them out if you aren’t already a huge fan.
**According to them.  Believe me … I tried bribing them to tell me where to get the Kaffir leaves.

Tasting in the Dark

Close your eyes for one whole minute.  (No peeking!)  Take in the room.  Take a deep breath through your nose and smell the scents wafting around you.  Listen to the hum of your AC.  Feel the carpet beneath your feet.  Taste the flavors lingering on your tongue.  (If you can taste things on your tongue, then pop a breath mint.)

Losing a sense can make your other senses sharper.  With that premise, Tasting in the Dark was born.  A monthly tasting hosted by Henry “Hoby” Wedler at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in California’s Alexander Valley, tasters are blindfolded* and led through a tasting of Coppola wines.  Between the decadent wine and the exquisitely eloquently commentary from Hoby, the experience is inimitable.

I was honored to have been invited to the Dallas stop of the Tasting in the Dark tour at SĒR in the Hotel Anatole. After my last experience with FFC Wines, I was happy to explore more of their offerings.  Hoby led our group through a tasting of four Coppola Diamond wines, two whites and two reds, and spoke with the group in detail about the smells, tastes, and textures of each.  We each ventured a guess what varietal of wine we had in-hand, but for the most part failed miserably, some of us at times even guessing the wrong color.

Our host, Hoby is a grad student at UC-Davis who founded a chemistry camp for the blind and hosts the FFCW’s monthly Tasting in the Dark, and is uniquely qualified to lead this tasting as he has been blind since birth.  Hoby’s descriptions of the wines is a thing of beauty.  This guy … can seriously turn a phrase.  He had our group so wicked hungry by the end of the tasting with his flowery descriptions of the meals that he’d recommend pairing with each wine.  Luckily, we had lunch waiting for us.

I’d love to regale you with the intense flavors of the wines we tasted, but since we were blindfolded, I wasn’t able to take notes.  That said, I’ll simply list the wines below, and encourage you to try each and every one because they were all delicious and worth a taste.  Take your time before diving in and explore the smells and flavors of each.  You’ll be surprised when you let the wines speak to you!

  • 2012 Diamond Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2012 Diamond Pinot Noir 
  • 2012 Diamond Chardonnay (Hoby recommends serving with seared pork belly)
  • 2011 Diamond Cabernet Sauvignon (Hoby recommends serving with a smoked burger with a brioche bun topped with avocados, caramelized onions, and smoked cheddar)

If you’re ever touring the Alexander Valley, make sure you make Francis Ford Coppola Winery a stop on your agenda. 

*These blindfolds were leGIT.  I couldn’t see s**t, and my eyes burned like a vampire’s at dawn when I took it off.

***Please note: this tasting and subsequent meal was on the house.***


Dee Lincoln’s is all over social media right now, so naturally I HAD to try it.  The sister location to the new Uptown location is in Cowboys Stadium and was the first place IN THE US to have an enomatic machine for sparkling wine, a machine that keeps bottled intoxicants fresher, longer (up to three weeks), while doling out an appropriate serving.

Past the futuristic dispensers that line the walls, the look of the restaurant and tasting room (which they dub a “bubble bar”) is pink, silver, and white all over – maybe the most perfect bachelorette party locale I’ve ever seen due to the aforementioned color scheme and “private” seating areas complete with disco columns and shiny pillows.

Outside, you can enjoy the patio (erm, at least you will be able to when it cools down) complete with lighted “bubble” tables.  The area affords a nice bit of interesting foot traffic to keep things interesting.

The long and short of this place is that it’s fancy, and your tab will reflect that.  As my sister said, “This place isn’t for college students … or most of the $30,000 millionaires in Dallas!”  We each had a cocktail and shared a flatbread for a whopping $40!  You know it’s expensive when it would have been cheaper to go to Ocean Prime down the way!

While I disagree with the massive price tags, the food and drink were pretty great.  I ordered the DETOX TINI which I’d definitely get again, but only one because it was quite sweet.  My sister enjoyed the champagne float which was not only refreshing, but really nice to look at.  The next time I venture in, I will make sure it’s on a night out instead of a quick stop after dinner so I can enjoy my large drink and the buzz that comes along with it.

Drink Strength: 4
Overall:  2.5

Dee Lincoln
www.deelincolnstastingroom.com | @deelincolns
2101 Cedar Springs Road  | 214-979-WINE

in vino veritas

Move over Vino 100, take a step back, Cork … there’s a new kid in town. Veritas Wine Bar on Henderson took me by surprise. I hadn’t been in until this week and walking in on Monday night was a breathe of albeit grape heavy, but fresh air.

I arrive before the rest of my party as is usually the case, so I sidled up to the tall, heavy bar and began to peruse the menu. I decided to take a mental break and went for “what we’re pouring”. It was delightful and I decided it was my choice for the night — not to mention the fact that it was only $3.25 since it was half price wine by the glass (and that is made even better because they use the long pour!).

My group arrived and we settled into the front room next to the (real) crackling fire. Wine flowed, cheese and meats were noshed on, and great conversation ensued. The waitresses were attentive and Brooks, the owner, knew his cheeses and other wares better than the back of his hand. (You can’t go wrong with their Purple Haze or Drunken Goat.)

Don’t be fooled by the name, this bar unlike most wine bars also serves beer. I’d say this place is suitable for a date or a friendly chat, but not for a pickup scene … take your butt next door to Glo Lounge for that.

Click for the cheese, beer, and wine menus.

Selection: 4

Veritas Wine Bar
2323 N Henderson Ave, Suite 103 | Dallas, TX 75206
(214) 841-9463

Monday | all day | 1/2 price wine by the glass
Tuesday-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $1 off every beer, $1 off of every glass of wine ($8 a glass or less) and $2 off every glass over $8

Tuesdays, Veritas brings in Il Cane Rosso to make baked-to-order pizza.  A definite MUST.