Tuesday, May 29, 2012

19. Forgetting the Heat (Hilmy Cellars Release Party)

19. Forgetting the Heat
Funky tunes; smooth wine;
Salty, sweet summer pairings:
I forget the heat.

I know I have tons to write about -- in the last week, Sean & I visited 10 new wineries. But the most recent stop, Hilmy Cellars' first release party, is front and center. As always, there was some cool jazz playing (thanks to my favorite online music site Pandora) and the crowd slowly grew (it go so busy that winemaker Erik Hilmy had to pour tastings).

A view of the Hill Country vineyards (from the porch)

The first thing to say is that this event was Hilmy's first release party. The staff here was excited; Mark Hilmy seemed to be everywhere . It was clear as soon as someone walks in. As always, we were warmly greeted and enjoyed great conversation with the staff. The flock members -- those in the wine club -- were getting set up for extra goodies later, but the first time visitors were able to enjoy the same atmosphere (many joined the flock on the porch). exact same treatment. I can't stress this enough, here, the folks are personable and friendly. At the release party, with the excitement in the air, they are beaming.

Entrance to Hilmy
One of the local Guinea Fowl

The release party moved outside. Until the band -- Someone Like You -- started, the Guinea Fowl entertained us. Then the band began to play, a cool, jazzy, funky rock that melded well with the environment (their cover of Billie Jean was amazing).

Those in the flock got a treat besides the wine and music. The folks at Hilmy shared with us some homemade bar-b-que. Pulled pork sliders in mango chutney, red potato salad, and Asian slaw with pears went well with the Doo-Zwa-Zo in the first shipment. This particular wine is light and easy to drink; I can keep drinking it all day (especially on a hot day like this one). In fact, it's lightness is such that even the food eaten seems lighter, which allows for more complexity of flavors to come out.

And for traditionalists, baked beans and brisket was also to be had. And let me say, the brisket was juicy, flavorful and nearly melt in your mouth. It paired well with the decanted Tempranillo. This wine is served decanted at the winery -- adding to its smooth character. This wine is wonderfully balanced and warm; it is soft
and comforting as it subtlety rests on the palate. Again, a great match for beef.

For a new winery celebrating their first shipment, this was very nice. Though I didn't get a chance to speak with Erik, I finally got an introduction and a promise for a later sit down (that should provide great material). I will be eagerly awaiting the fall.

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