Thanks to the HCWFF, It's Party Time!

If you were there for the Hill Country Wine & Food Foundation's wonderful food and wine tasting at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel last September, you already know what a treat you're in for when the next edition of one of Austin's great parties hits town on Tuesday, Dec. 4. They are calling this "Big Reds and Bubbles," and lots of champagne, cabernet, and great food will be offered, all at the bargain price of $50.

Starting with the champagnes, the Foundation will have one of my favorites, Perrier Jouët. These delicious wines generally cost anywhere from $35 to $150 a bottle and are some of France's best wines. Other champagnes include the delicious Pommery, one of the first French wineries owned and operated by a woman. There will also be several offerings from Roederer, probably best known for their extremely expensive Cristal. Personally, I like the Brut Premier, which is what they'll be serving, nearly as much and it's about one-fourth the price.

Moët-Chandon is home of the (reportedly) first champagne, Dom Perignon. Again, this is very expensive wine, running more than $100 a bottle. We'll be tasting their Brut Imperial and Rosé. Again, just like each of the other champagne houses, there is nothing but wonderful wine from the top of the range to the lowest cost bottles. California sparklers won't be left out. We'll get a chance to taste the Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee and Brut Rosé.

Red wine lovers will enjoy some of the best available. Start with Far Niente, home of some of California's most respected (and expensive) wines. They'll be pouring their highly rated cabernet sauvignon. The wines of Arrowood Vineyards are justifiably famous. Be sure to ask for some of their scrumptious cab. Renwood Winery is located east of Sacramento where it gets about as hot as Texas. They are making some gloriously intense zinfandels, and hopefully they will bring along some of their powerful Barbera. Nickel & Nickel, one of California's hottest new premium wineries, will be pouring their Carpenter Vineyard Cabernet.

As if all of this weren't enough, several of Austin's best restaurants and caterers will be there making their signature dishes. Included on the list are: Aquarelle, Zoot, Cafe Josie, Portabla, Crimson, VIVO, Amuse Bouche Catering, Ranch 616, Zoot, and Siena Ristorante.

For food and wine lovers, this is a true bargain and a great opportunity to meet other like-minded souls. The last gathering was one of Austin's best parties, and this one promises to be the same. It's for a good cause -- the proceeds will go to provide educational aid for young students in the fields of the culinary and viticultural arts as well as financial support for research and education grants. The Big Reds and Bubbles 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. See you there.

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