A recent lunch at Tony’s turned up a couple of new things at this always-superb restaurant.
First, there’s a new pastry chef, David Berg, who is doing some delightful, fresh summer sweets. Like one that reminds me of an empanada. It’s made of thin, chilled slices of pineapple stuffed with a cooling sorbet.
One would expect nothing less at the venerable Tony’s, but the second new find surprised me.
There’s a Texas wine on the wine list. Yep, it was right there with the $2,900 bottle of Lafite Rothschild. A $40 bottle of 2010 Vermentino from Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, Texas.
There’s a Texas wine on the wine list. Yep, it was right there with the $2,900 bottle of Lafite Rothschild.
“It’s the first Texas wine we’ve had on the list,” says Tony Vallone.
And it’s an excellent choice. I like it as much if not more than the Vermentinos from Sardinia I’m fond of. It’s light, fresh with a hint of pear and grapefruit and a slight hint of citrus. And it went beautifully with the soft shell crab.
“It is a very approachable, very balanced wine,” says general manager Scott Sulma. “It’s perfect for lunchtime and a supreme value for the price point. People have been asking us about Texas wines for the last few years and we finally found a great one to add to our wine list.”
The 2010 Vermentino won a gold medal at the Dallas Morning News-TexSom Wine Competition.
But how did it end up on Tony’s wine list?
Turns out the winery is owned by Houston Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman, who occasionally dine at Tony’s.
“Our first vintage was 2004,” says winery general manager Jeff Ogle. “So we’re pretty young even in terms of Texas wines.”
The winery uses 100 percent Texas grapes to make their Texas wines. But you won’t find any Cabs or Super Tuscans here.
“We pride ourselves that we go for varietals off the beaten path,” says Ogle. “Our wine maker, Dave Reilly, looks for unique Italian grape varieties.” Like the Vermentino, Sangiovese and Dolcetto.
Southern Living has called the Texas Hill Country and the Driftwood area the “Napa of Texas.” And it certainly is turning out to seem like it. Next time you’re up around Austin, check out the Duchman Family Winery for a tour of the facilities and glass of delicious Texas wine.
Or, head on over to the wine bar at Whole Foods Market where they have the 2010 Duchman Vermentino on tap. You can buy a “growler” and take it home. Which is where I’m heading now because just one bottle in the fridge isn’t going to last me through this summer heat.
If you want to learn more about Texas’ growing wine industry check out the Texas Department of Agriculture’s wine site. Like they say, Go Texan or Go Thirsty.