Austin wine lovers should be in heaven this month. Not only is an annual favorite returning, two exclusive wine dinners are also taking place at hot restaurants in September. Read on for the details.
Tour de Vin At W Austin — September 18
The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas hosts its signature early fall event, Tour de Vin, next week. An annual favorite, the tasting traditionally marks the start of Austin "sip-and-stroll" season. Representatives from top-tier Austin restaurants like Blackbird & Henry, The Bonneville, Cafe Josie, Noble Sandwich Co., Max’s Wine Dive, Due Forni and TRACE will serve fall dishes to pair with the copious wine selections. Director Peggy Hanley says roughly 500 people will attend the event and notes that yet-to-open restaurants Vox Table (South Lamar) and Fixe (Downtown) will also serve dishes.
This year, the event’s average wine price has increased meaning that guests will get more upscale offerings and more value for their ticket price. Wines will include selections from Duckhorn, Ponzi, Trinchero, Robert Mondavi and Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte. VIP room attendees will sample Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Schramsberg bubbles and more. Tickets for the event are $80 for foundation members, $100 for the general public. They’re available now at the foundation’s website, and typically sell out several days prior to the event. $20 from each ticket sold will be donated to local food nonprofits like Austin Food For Life (which helps with service industry healthcare) and the Sustainable Food Center.
Uchi hosts Rodney Strong’s Silver Anniversary Dinner — September 20
Sonoma’s Rodney Strong Vineyards has chosen a unique format for the “Silver Anniversary” dinner celebrating 25 years of family ownership, and Austin is one of the big beneficiaries. The well-known winery has commissioned a four-city dinner party to take place on Saturday, September 20, and has tasked Tyson Cole of Uchi with leading the charge in Austin. Cole will partner with Tatsu Aikawa (Ramen Tatsu-Ya), Janina O’Leary (LaV), Jeff Mall (Zin in Healdsburg, California) and James Robert (Fixe) on a five-course menu paired with a half-dozen wines from the Strong lineup.
While the Austin dinner takes place, simultaneous parties will happen in Miami, New York and Sonoma. Rodney Strong’s director of communications Robert Larsen likens the atmosphere to New Year’s Eve. “We’ll have hosts introducing chefs, cameras showing the kitchens plating food, and guests enjoying the evening. It’s going to be fun!”
The savory courses will include Cole’s king crab with kabocha (winter squash), nasturtium and lemon and Aikawa’s kombu dashi soup with foie and daikon. For dessert, guests will dine on O’Leary’s chocolate coconut meringue tart with thyme, almond and salted chocolate cremeux. Each course will pair with a Rodney Strong wine, including the flagship Symmetry (Red Meritage) and Brothers Ridge Cabernet. Tickets to the event are $225 and are available online now. All ticket sales benefit the James Beard Foundation.
TRIO’s Peter Michael Dinner — September 16
For those who prefer a smaller gathering, limited seating is still available for TRIO’s Peter Michael wine dinner on September 16. The winery is a perennial pick as one of the best in California, and given the wine’s pricing, you could argue that at $125 per seat, you’re simply buying the wine and getting the dinner for free.
Peter Michael proprietor Paul Michael and sommelier Mark Sayre will introduce the wines and discuss them throughout the evening. TRIO will serve five savory courses and a dessert at the event, including pairings like jumbo lump crab with 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, yellowedge grouper with Ma Belle-Fille 2012 Chardonnay, Texas quail with Ma Danseuse Pinot Noir and lamb chop and eggplant ragout with a 2006 Les Pavot red blend. For reservations, call the restaurant at 512-685-8300.