Wine of the Week

Hi.

Wine of the Week

A line of six affordably priced, high-quality wines that promises "to be a ticket to a world of distinctive flavors, exceptional locations, and friendly conversations," Hi. Wines are the brainchild of Olivier Pasquini, a French expat living in New York City. Earlier this year, Pasquini hired former Austinite Neil Turner as vice-president and national sales manager. Turner, who cut his chops in the Austin restaurant scene at places such as Mezzaluna and the Bitter End, moved to New York City in 2005. He quickly got a job at Best Cellars, an innovative wine shop created by expert sommelier Joshua Wesson, where not one bottle sells for more than $15. After soaking up Wesson's philosophy that wine should be a fun, everyday drink rather than a daunting task, Turner's fun-loving personality made him the perfect fit for Hi. Wines.

The line, recently introduced to the Texas market, features wines of origin from France, Italy, and Spain, all priced at around $12. The 100% prosecco from Valdobbiadene, Italy, is a lively libation with a fresh fruit start and a nice, dry finish. The refreshing rosé is made from 100% French grenache blanc grapes. The Ovation Cuvée is a well-balanced blend of chardonnay, grenache blanc, sauvignon blanc, and muscat sec, all from Pays d'Oc in the South of France. This is an incredibly food-friendly wine that will pair with fruit, cheeses, seafood, salads, and light chicken dishes. The reds include a 100% syrah and a 100% pinot noir, both from Pays d'Oc. The syrah is pleasantly fruity and lightly spicy and is also food-friendly. I served it to friends, lightly chilled with charcuterie, cheeses, and breads, to great success. The pinot is velvety and rich, a mini-fruit-bomb of a wine that I will drink any day. But my favorite is the 100% garnacha from Navarra, Spain, a medium-bodied yet rich wine that drinks easily alone or with food. We had it with beef rolls in tomato sauce from Le Marseillais, but I can imagine it with a good homemade burger, some smoky Texas barbecue, or a prime steak.

Hi. Wines are ready to take Austin by storm. So far, they are at Sun Harvest, Whole Foods, and Vinosity. Visit the Web site at www.hiwines.com for updates.

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