inks to previous event announcements:

Nov 2006 Sept 2006 July 2006 May 2006      

“And now for something completely different…”
 (queue the Liberty Bell March)
As I am writing this, we’ve just transitioned from 80ºF stickiness to a three-day ice storm; that was certainly different.  But it wasn’t the weather or a Monty Python marathon while iced-in that prompted my thoughts about things “completely different” (nudge, nudge, wink, wink; say no more).  I’m citing this because it so perfectly sums up my amazement as we announce four events that LADV has never done.  You’d think after almost 20 years we’d have covered every possible wine topic from every angle; but the wonderful thing about wine is that it is so diverse that it can remain fresh and exciting throughout a lifetime.
I realize that it’s tough for some to explore outside of their comfort zone (and I don’t mean learning a new Silly Walk).  You may first look at these events and wonder if you’d enjoy them.  I submit that I’ve seldom had a bad time when alcohol, learning, and camaraderie have been involved (except my freshman year, when we were determined to invent an exciting new flavor of trashcan punch).  I really think that every one of these events offers you a unique opportunity to for a experience and to add to your drinking options.   So, without further ado...!
  Feb 7    |    Wines of Alsace and Maison Trimbach   
  (Wed)     |    at  Capital Brasserie       310 Colorado Street     472-6770  
                  |     7:00 PM,     $65 members  &  $75 non-members    (all inclusive)

I’m always surprised that Austinites don’t drink more Alsatian wines.  They are one of my favorites.  They are immensely flavorful and a great match for both the local climate and cuisine.  Few expect white wines to be a great accompaniment to sausages or spicy foods, but the right ones are (but, of course, “no one expects the Spanish Inquisition”).  This event will be a truly wonderful way to explore these wines, with a true expert to lead us and paired with the foods they best match.

Jean Trimbach, representing the current 12th generation of the founding family, will present several of the wines of Maison Trimbach to us personally.  For those not familiar, Trimbach represents the classic style of Alsatian wine, dry and restrained.  Their winemaking has not followed the recent trend of some houses to move toward sweetness as a means of showing false richness; these wines have all the structure and flavor one would want, while remaining refreshing and a great foil to rich food.

And the foods served with are the very items that evolved alongside these wines in Alsace.  Chef Goeff Nunez and the staff at Capitol Brasserie are seizing this opportunity to prepare a meal that would be a standard in the birthplace of the brasserie:

     Arrival        -        Snack Pretzels                                                                                                                    Trimbach  Classic Pinot Blanc
1st Course        -        Flammekuecher, or Tarte Flambée, a thin crust baked in a hot oven,                      Trimbach "Reserve" Pinot Gris
                                     with toppings of crème fraîche, onions, and bacon  
2nd Course       -        Poulet au Riesling, similar in concept to Coq au Vin, except made                           Trimbach Classic Riesling
                                     with fresh-tasting white wine instead of the traditional red                                      
  3rd Course     -        Choucroute Garni, hearty Alsatian-style kraut (not ‘sour’)                                      Trimbach "Cuvée Fredrich Emile" Riesling
                                     served with an array of house-made sausages
     Dessert       -        Almond Tart                                                                                                                         "Cuvée Les Seigneurs De Ribeaupierre" Gewürtztraminer
        Finale       -        Munster Cheese                                                                                                                  Trimbach "Vendanges Tardives" Gewürtztraminer


Our small “backwater” of Austin is not often graced with the presence of a great wine name like Trimbach.  I invite you to join with Jean and his wines, as well as to enjoy the great food that will be part of this event.          [theme: winemaker dinner] 

Feb 28   |    Whiskeys of the World
 (Wed)     |    at  Fleming’s          320 East 2nd  Street      457-1500
                  |     7:00 PM,     $45 members  &  $50 non-members     (all inclusive)
The weather is cold; it must be time again for our one non-wine event of the year.  For the last dozen years or more, we have sampled the many great single-malt whiskies of Scotland.  True Scotch Whisky aficionados have loved it, immersed in dozens of great whiskies and feeling that you can never get enough of a good thing.  However, for those who are less experienced (and less fanatical), these events could seem like “too much of the same thing”.  Many have never had the opportunity to understand and experience the differences among the various types of whiskeys, so that focus on small variations within just one type was premature at the least.  So, how is one to learn? 
As usual, we’re here to help.  With yet another ‘different’ event, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the different whiskeys from all over the world.  And, of course, in addition to the education you’ll receive from a true expert in the field, you will have the opportunity to see how the scents and flavors of each type compare to their other wonderful counterparts.  All of the four great types and regions will be represented with great examples.  Just to drop a few names, from the original home of whiskey, we will have Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey and Bushmills 10 YR Single Malt Irish Whiskey; from the great USofA we’ll have George Dickel White Label #12 Bourbon and Bulleit Bourbon; from the producer of sweeter whiskey to the north, we’ll have Crown Royal ‘Special Reserve’ Canadian Whiskey; and of course we won’t forget the pride of Scotland with Johnnie Walker Green Label Scotch Whisky, Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt, Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt, and Dalwhinnie 14 Year Old Distiller’s Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
To make the event even more special, the event will be held in the warm wood-paneled confined of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.  Managing partner Darryl Wittle and his staff will provide us with a comfortable atmosphere and well-paired serious appetizers, which should complete the ingredients for a truly memorable event.  If you’re lucky enough to be included, you will leave these proceedings with a true understanding of all that is whiskey (and probably singing the “Lumberjack Song”).          [theme: entry-level education]  
Mar 13  |    Survey of the Wines of Italy,  Part 2
  (Tue)      |    at  Ringside at Sullivan’s        300 Colorado      495-6504  
                  |     7:00 PM,     $45 members  &  $50 non-members     (all inclusive)

In this second of our series on the wines of Italy, we will explore the great wines of the Northeast regions: Veneto, Friuli, and Alto Adige.  These areas, shielded from the cold of Northern Europe by the Alps, produce wonderful wines.  If you recall, to assure that we really gain an in-depth experience, as well as finding examples of wines that we each personally enjoy, the format of the events is to present a modicum of education about each wine-type followed by a “survey” where multiple examples will be tasted blind.  And, at the Part 1 event, several of you certainly seemed to be tasting ‘blind’ before the event was over. 

We have chosen the best-known wine types from Northeast Italy to survey.  You will have the opportunity to taste four examples each of refreshing Pinot Grigio, deep-red Ripassa, and the great rich Amarone.   In response to your requests to lower the cost of some events without lowering the quality the wines (like the $70 Amarones we’ll be having), the wines will be presented with just enough in the way of  light appetizers to keep your palette refreshed (and I promise no “Spam, Spam, wonderful Spam”).  Because it affords such a perfect layout for these “survey” events, we will gather in the Ringside section of Sullivan’s where we will once again have the pleasure of having Sandra Spalding of Twin Liquor share her knowledge and insight on the wines of Italy.          [theme: wine survey, mid-level education]
Apr 3     |    The Adventure and Experience of South Africa
 (Tue)      |    at  Café Josie     1200-B West Sixth Street     322-9226  
                  |     7:00 PM,     $50 members  &  $55 non-members     (all inclusive)
South Africa is currently the 8th largest wine-producing country in the world, yet few of us know much about it (that includes me).   While I’m totally willing to BS about some topics, wine is not one of them.  Fortunately, experts do exist, and at this event we will have the good fortune of learning about this country and its wines from Elizabeth Bray. who represents many of the finest South African producers as part of Cape Classics importers.  As with most other New World wine producing areas, South Africa has both a long history with wine and an affinity with modernization and great improvement since the 70’s.  The country produces a wide range of wines with variation not only from the 60+ appellations in the six growing regions, but also from a wide palette of grape varieties from the classics (Cabernet Sauvignon), to somewhat overlooked classics (Chenin Blanc), to the unique (Pinotage).
So, come and expand your horizons.  Learn from an expert.  And, find some new wines that you will be happy to add to your repertoire, from great values to classic collectibles.  Find new wines that you’ll be happy to buy and enjoy; don’t risk the possibility of taking home a “Dead Parrot” (yes, I do know that most parrots reside in South American, but some are native to west Africa, and this was the only Monty Python reference that I could work in).  We will once again have the pleasure of gathering in the welcoming confines of Café Josie, where Chef Charles Mayes and the staff will provide a flavorful array of hearty appetizers to accompany the wines and the education.  Charles  is a big fan of South African wines, and he told me that he is planning to prepare some great food pairings to show them off.  So, plan to  take advantage of these opportunities to try wines that are “completely different”.         [theme: mid-level education]   
There seems to have been some confusion recently regarding the use of credit cards for payment of LADV event fees.  We continue to investigate having our own charge card system, but for now it remains untenable.  We could seldom have access to our own live connection at the events, and our low charge volume would require that we pass significant costs (a % of purchase and monthly fees) on to those of you that wish to use cards  in order to maintain our break-even pricing.  Occasionally, our venues will allow us to utilize their card system, but even then we can use it only up to an amount that is less-than-or-equal-to the food cost that we incur with them.  So to be very clear,   in order to keep the event prices as low as possible, you should always expect to pay with cash or a check.  At the time you make your reservations, you can inquire about the possible use of a credit card, and I can let you know if it will be allowable for a few of you to do so when you ask.  And, if any of you know of a near-no-cost credit card system that doesn’t require a live swipe, please pass along the information; we’re always looking. 
Let me remind you that space is always very limited at these events.  I do apologize that so often I have to inform people that a particular event has filled.  However, one of the most-frequent compliments that I get on the events is that people feel special and their experienced enhanced because of the coziness and easy access to the presenters. 
As always, call  925-3985 or e-mail:  to make reservations and to keep them accurate.  After you make your reservations, PLEASE CALL IMMEDIATELY if your plans change.  Communicating changes no later than 48 hours before an event will allow us to adjust and provide an opportunity to any who may be on the waiting list.  Further it will assure we don’t have to pay for wine and food that was reserved for you, and that we won’t have to contact you afterward to pass on those costs to you.