Superior Wine and Fine Food for a Great Charity

This Monday, Sept. 8, from 6:30-9:30pm, at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin hotel, the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Foundation will be offering Austinites a bargain food-and-wine experience. They are calling it the Deluxe Tour of Five Continents of Fine Wine, and they'll be covering 27 fairly expensive wines (up to $80 per bottle) from Europe, Africa, North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand, all accompanied by great Austin food, all for $50.

Schalk-Willem Joubert, the highly respected winemaker for Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, will be there to talk to you. The Rothschild family is famous throughout the world for its wines, and the Rupert family has decided to pursue a French style. They will be serving their cab/merlot called Classique along with their Baroness Nadine chardonnay paired with Osteria Amerigo Restaurant's Tre Sapore Crostini.

Susan Henderson from Grant Burge Wines in the Barossa Valley of South Australia will bring two wines. Their Miamba Shiraz is a single vineyard shiraz, which also just won a Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. The Holy Trinity is a Rhone blend of shiraz, grenache, and mourvedre. Sam Dickey from the Granite Cafe will be serving Grilled Serrano Cheese Grits with Chipotle Shrimp Salsa and Goat Cheese Vinaigrette.

Mount Riley Wine's founder and owner, John Buchanan, will be there to tell you about his wines, including his sauvignon blanc and his pinot noir. New Zealand sauvignon blanc has wonderful acidity and goes great with raw and rare seafood. Appropriately, Kenichi will be providing Spicy Tuna Tartare with Sesame Crisps and Ponzu Aioli.

Ilona, one of the newer boutique wineries in Napa, is owned and operated by Catherine Eddy. She is developing a good reputation for offering a lush blended wine, based on merlot and cabernet. The wines spend 18 months in French oak, so they should be well integrated and have a pleasant vanilla aroma. Chef Kevin Williamson will be bringing his Sugar Cured Quail on a Bed of Fresh Berry Slaw with Roasted Tomatillo Goat Cheese Crema from Ranch 616.

Pat Roney, owner of Girard will be bringing his 2002 Sauvignon Blanc, a blockbuster California-style wine. He will also bring his meritage blend, called simply Red Wine. Girard's reputation fell on hard times a few years ago, but Roney is successfully investing his time, money, and reputation in pulling it back up. The pairing will be the Roaring Fork's Seared Scallops with Black Bean Refrito and Jalapeño Vinaigrette, which should be a brilliant combination with Girard's Sauvignon Blanc.

There will be other wines served, but without representatives there. Baron Philipe de Rothschild will have eight wines ranging from their elegant Viognier up to their Baron'Arques. They will be working with three restaurants: The Starlite will bring Truffled Leek and Chevre Tartlet With Heirloom Tomato Concasse; Saba Blue Water Cafe will serve Steak Churrasco With Chimichurri Sauce; and Amuse Bouche Catering will serve their Artichoke Parmesean Dip with Finger Croutons.

You'll probably find me loitering at the Scialletti Sammarco table, where they'll be serving their Anniversary 1993. This wine won the Grande Medaglia d'Oro (the Great Gold Medal) at Vinitaly. They will also serve their Rosso. Michael Vilim, the wine-loving proprietor of Mirabelle, has dibs on this table, and he'll be serving his Slow Roasted Salmon with Red Beet Risotto and Grilled Asparagus Relish.

For dessert, how about champagne? Yves de Launay, vice-president of Champagne Lanson will be there pouring their Champagne Lanson Rose and their Black Label Brut. The dessert table will also have port from Calem, including a vintage 2000 and their Old Friends Tawny. As a real treat, Sempe, a distiller from Armagnac, will be pouring their VSOP and their 15-year-old. The Stephen F. Austin's kitchen will be providing petits fours.

The proceeds will go to provide educational aid for young students in the fields of the culinary and viticulture arts, as well as financial support for research and education grants. The Deluxe Tour of Five Continents of Fine Wine tasting is open to the public for $50 per person. You can make reservations by calling the foundation at 327-7555, or online at www.winefoodfoundation.org.

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