The Austin Chronicle

Festival Highlights

By Wes Marshall, April 29, 2012, 5:03pm, On the Range

The Austin Food and Wine Festival offered some delicious drinks and for some reason, the libation lines were short. On the other hand, the food lines were monumental, so the easy solution was to stick with the drinks.

We can't decide which we enjoy more, the incredible sake from Texas Sake Company or the delightful folks - Natasha Honeycutt, Yoed Anis and Courtney Britt. But do make sure you try the Nigori Cloud. Delicious served cold with Asian food.

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor for Food & Wine Magazine and thankfully, despite his encyclopedic knowledge, he is down to earth, easy to talk to and quite fascinating. His audience was enthusiastic, too.

Dr. Michael Thomas is a native Texan and even though he left us to go to college at Duke University, at least he came back to receive his Ph.D. in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Texas at Austin. He has lived in Rome, and has excavated in Italy for the past fifteen years. He currently runs two excavations in Italy: a Roman site near Pompeii and an Etruscan site northeast of Florence.

Michael has taught at Southern Methodist University, the University of Michigan, Tufts University, and the University of Texas at Austin, where he currently holds a research position and where has been recently appointed as the Director of the newly-formed Center for the Study of Ancient Italy. More importantly for us, he makes some damn good wine, including the Wrath Ex-Anima Pinot Noir.

We never cease to be amazed at the wines Austin Hope produces. His family owns Liberty School, Treana, Troublemaker, Candor and Austin Hope Wineries. My personal favorite of his portfolio is the Treana line, but the most popular is Liberty School. The later are often available in the $12 range and are great bargains. The Treana white, at $25, is a nice treat. Troublemaker is a blend of grapes and vintages, which allows Austin to make a big, smokey wine for under $20.

Which were your favorite libations?

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