I may have a cure for the Texas Hill Country drought. It requires wine, food, wonderful people, and a great deal of planning, but if we work together, I think we can pull this off. So far, I am two for two on the Wine event:Torrential rainstorm ratio. Last month, after the Dry Creek event, I couldn’t see ten feet in front of me, even going 10 mph. I avoided highways, prayed, and made it safely, but the lakes rose. On Thursday, I went to a party at a private home to launch Mia wines, the new line from Freixenet, and we rushed home followed by tornado warnings and downpours. Coincidence? You decide.
This was not just any home. This was one of the most beautiful private homes I have been in. High above Lady Bird Lake, the views to the right were of the river winding past the downtown skyline, to the left, Red Bud Isle and Lake Austin. The home had been recently purchased and redesigned by Mark Ashby Design. The home was contemporary, sleek, yet comfortable and inviting. That can be a difficult balance to strike; Mark and his team did so with an incredible eye for both subtle and dramatic details.
As guests arrived, tapas were passed. With the Spanish wines, Spanish fare was a given. Eva Bertran of Freixenet and Daniel Olivella of Barlata have a friendship which has spanned decades, so even on his birthday, he provided a beautiful spread. Crostini with Octopus and fennel, Iberica and micro greens, Chorizo, prawns, and wild mushroom with pine nuts. Again, I cursed this shellfish allergy, but what I could have was delicious. My husband oohed and aahed and claimed it was the best paella he’s had. I have never seen a Paella pan like the Paella pans Chef Olivella had at this party. What came out of them had to be fantastic.
Gloria Collell is from a family of wine entrepreneurs so it is no surprise that the lure of enology trumped the lure of law school. She has been with the Ferrer family, owners of Freixenet, for years and felt the next move should be into easy-drinking, food-friendly wines. She wanted them to be approachable and festive. She wanted them to capture the essence of Barcelona and be at an accessible price point. Gloria has achieved what she set out to do. These are perfect party wines.
The Mia line currently consists of five wines: white, rose, red, sparkling, and sparkling rose. The whites and pinks are low in alcohol with a level of sweetness. They are all fermented in steel to retain the fresh, bright flavors. The grapes are quintessentially Spanish. The labels boast a colorful mosaic, a perfect representation of the wine.
Mia’s white blend consists of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Moscato, and Parellada. Bright blossoms, tropical fruits, and honey. The rose was my favorite and new grapes for me, Bobal and Sumoli. Subtle red fruit, floral notes, a great food wine. The red was, of course, Tempranillo. Red and black fruit, spice and earth. Both sparklings are Moscatos. She suggests pairing the white with rich cheeses or dessert. The rose has a 2% addition of Tempranillo which changes the wine immensely. It balances the sweetness and would be perfect with berries and chocolate.
As The Brew played, the sun set, and in the distance, thunder clouds began to roll in. It did not stop the band from hitting every note. In fact, that could also be said about Janet Kafka and her team. Every detail was well executed; the setting could not have been more captivating. The hosts were gracious and inviting and the service was top-notch. The food and wine sang of Barcelona, with casual, colorful elegance.
To test a theory, one need to evaluate in several controlled settings. There needs to be a consistency in the elements, careful observation. Now, I’m not saying that there is a definite correlation between the great food and wine events and the storms, but it is something I am willing to offer my services as a test subject, repeatedly if necessary.
Many thanks to Janet Kafka and team, Mark Ashby, Daniel Olivella, Gloria Collell, and everyone that made the evening possible.
I was invited to the event as media but received no additional compensation. The thoughts and opinions are my own.