Austin | Dallas | Houston
Drink Up

Wine school: High-end Houston restaurant makes summer classes fun, plans to build a new patio

Enlarge
Slideshow
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's cheese plate
The delicious cheese plate to accompany the wines Photo by Davon Hatchett
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Refosco wine
My favorite vino of the night: The rich, ruby red Refosco. Photo by Davon Hatchett
Philippe Houston French restaurant bar crowd venue
Welcome to Phil's Wine Lounge! Photo by © Shannon O'Hara/Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Tasting Notes
Tasting notes from the evening Photo by Davon Hatchett
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Torette wine
The infamous earthy and "funky" Torette wine Photo by Davon Hatchett
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's cheese plate
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Refosco wine
Philippe Houston French restaurant bar crowd venue
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Tasting Notes
Philippe Wine Seminar May 2013 Phil's Torette wine
Davon Hatchett, head shot, column mug

It’s almost summertime in the city, and for me that means two things: Spending more time outdoors and drinking wine. Well, I actually have that wine drinking part pretty much covered year ‘round, but you know what I mean.

Fortunately the good folks over at Phil’s Wine Lounge in Philippe Restaurant + Lounge have got me covered on the “drink more wine” front. The lounge just wrapped up a “Guest Sommeliers” wine series that featured some of Houston’s most interesting wine talents such as Fred Jones of The Pass & Provisions, David Keck of Uchi and Kelly McCloud of Fleming's Steakhouse.

The series finale event feauted the witty and knowledgeable Adele Corrigan of 13 Celsius who took tasters on an interesting journey through “Italy Off the Beaten Path.” Wines from all over Italy and bordering countries were featured that highlighted Corrigan’s love of the smells and terroir of the country.

In fact, one of the selected wines (a Grosjean Freres Torette) was so redolent of its native soil that the descriptors bandied about between the guests included terms like “funky,” “earthy,” “chemically,” and “barnyard.” After all of that, you may be wondering if we still drank the wine. Uhm, heck yeah!

The wine actually showed some solid tannins with citrus fruit on the palate, and became pleasant to drink as it opened up. Other wines featured included a Masseria Li Veli Verdeca, an Alberto Graci Etna and, my favorite of the evening, a rich, volcanic ruby red Refosco from the Fantinel winery.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend any of the tasting seminars don’t fear: The first round of seminars was so successful that the lounge will be hosting a second round this summer. This time around, the seminars will be hosted by Phil’s own darling of the wine world, Vanessa Trevino Boyd.

The “Summer Sommelier Series” kicks off Wednesday with “Everything’s Coming Up Rosé” which will explore the “refreshing world” of dry rosés. Tickets are $40, which includes generous tasting pours (and sometimes seconds and thirds) of the featured wines plus a delicious cheese board to help absorb all of that delightful vino you’ll be sipping.

The Summer Series continues through July 24th and will feature interesting themes/topics such as “Introduction to Blind Tasting,” as well as a session that reveals what happens when sommeliers try their hands at winemaking.

Guests can expect intimate conversations with the sommelier, exciting new wine discoveries, good energy and a fun, convivial and relaxed atmosphere. The events are limited to only 14 people, so you’d be wise to contact Philippe's Kim Garver to snap up a seat quickly if you find a seminar you want to attend.

On a related note, it actually turns out that Phil’s will help me kill two birds with one stone by assisting me with that first summer goal of getting outside more, too. The restaurant has big plans to create a brand new, sizeable patio that’s tentatively slated to open by mid-summer.

Summer goals . . .  done and done.

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address