“PAIR WITH FLARE” | Fork & Vine | Rogness Brewing Company
By Oscar Adrián Montes Iga, Certified Executive Chef of Wine Arts; Wine and Food Writer, Texas Wine and Trail ; and Featuring writer Mattie Jackson, Certified Specialist of Wine, of VoluptuousVines.com
The Texas Two Taste column is a periodical editorial with intent to discover eateries around Texas where one can uncork and enjoy wines made across the Lone Star State, bringing wine & food pairings closer to you, two tastes at a time. Special Editions of Texas Two Taste include the occasional Texas spirit and crafted beer!….
Chef Camden Stuerzenberger of Fork & Vine, Innovative “New American” cuisine, Austin, TX
Forrest & Dianne Rogness of Rogness Brewing Company
Hand-crafted, small batch ales, Pflugerville, TX
The Guinea Pigs
Wine Writer & Educator Mattie Jackson, CSW; Founder & President of VoluptuousVines.com
Photographer & Wine Judge Oscar A. Montes Iga, MC, ECWA,, CSW, CBS; Wine & Food Contributing Editor of the Texas Wine & Trail Magazine.
5-Courses No Foodie Should Miss
There’s no denying the tables have turned for serious diners. What white table cloth and Cosmos were to the nineties, eclectic gastropubs and pre-prohibition cocktails are to millennial age. Diners ﬂaunt Instagram trophies of wild game, blueberry gastriques, and crispy vegan polenta fries alongside the sommelier’s best pairing or the mixologist’s recent gin infusion.
An insatiable seesaw of simplicity and innovation, small plates have taken the forefront as a vehicle to sustain consumer exploration and chef creativity. But among the waves of complex dishes and inﬁnite share plates, the elaborately minimalist style of modern dining has brought us beautifully back to the root of every great dining experience: a well-orchestrated pairing.”
The idea of “pairings” has traditionally fallen more in the vinous realm, rooted in the old European adage of “what grows together, goes together.” Wines of Tuscany, Burgundy, Portugal, and Germany ﬁnd natural harmony with cuisines of those regions. But with a younger average consumer age in our buzzing foodie nation, traditional can hazard boredom for “adventurous” diners. ”
And after a recent ﬁve-course pairing dinner with soon-to-open Austin restaurant Fork & Vine, I’ve never had more faith in eating oﬀ the beaten path.” Shooting for a September opening, Fork & Vine will oﬀer unique twists to traditional dishes “without being scary or unapproachable,” according to Executive Chef Camden Stuerzenberger. Nostalgic dishes with creative presentation, intended for guests to explore in any pairing fashion they desire.
Under the direction of Austin local Chris Howell, Certiﬁed Sommelier, F&V will feature 25 core wines by the glass as well as 25 rotating seasonal options, 16 Texas draught beers and other large formats, and an inventive list of sake-inspired cocktails.”
The pairings for dinner? Beer. A necessity to the sanity of any wine professional. Let the pairings begin…”
The dinner, hosted by Rogness Brewery Company in the town of Pﬂugerville just north of Austin, showed how rewarding a meal can be when you approach it with an open mind and empty stomach. Though beer has a more casual connotation than does wine in the world of “ﬁne dining,” Rogness’s hand-crafted, small batch ales (they only make one lager) each showed evident uniqueness of character and married nicely with Chef Camden’s hearty plates. Forrest and Diane Rogness have brewed beer together for decades, but settled at their current production facility in Pﬂugerville, where we dined on wooden picnic tables in the middle of their cellar just two years ago. Rogness’s draughts and signature 22oz bottles are poured on-site in the tasting room and sold at over 400 accounts across central Texas.”
After a brief welcome from the chef and the brewers, diners dove into a ﬁrst course of a fresh Watermelon Swiss Chard Salad alongside Rogness’s staple summer Hefeweizen. “A classic wheat beer to combat the Texas heat,” the Hef showed bright ﬂoral and citrus ﬂavors, with the telltale banana funk that all wheat lovers go bonkers for. The beer made for an outstanding initial pairing, the body light enough to respect the watermelon and fresh swiss chard with the citrus and wheaty funk ﬂavors cutting right through the salad’s dollop of tangy goat cheese.”
The Guinea Pigs suggested wine alternative for round one? ”
Trimbach Pinot Blanc – Alsace – With the ample sunshine and cold nighttime temperatures that deﬁne this northeastern region of France, this wine would sing bright lemon and tropical ﬂavors with just enough stoney minerality to play lightly with the cheese and not ﬁght the salad’s delicately nuanced ﬂavors. ”
For the second course, a Beer Cheese Soup with sourdough toast and bacon jam paired with a Boomslang IPL. Though initially hesitant, with haunting notions of jiggly ballpark nacho cheese deterring my palate, this proved to be my favorite course of the night. The soup was rich in ﬂavor, full in body, but kept a surprising lightness and comforting simplicity of presentation. The beer followed suit beautifully. Made in a lager style rather than an ale style, this Indian Pale Lager is essentially a cleaner, crisper expression of the beloved IPA. Maintaining the signature dried fruits, spicy roots, and herbal bitterness of an IPA, this outlier lager brought the same aromatic complexity with less astringency and weight, leaving enough room for the hearty soup’s ﬂavors to shine through. It was an IPA with softer edges and a wonderfully refreshing ﬁnish. Drink for summer!”
Mattie & Oscar’s suggested wine?
Scala Dei Negre – Priorat, Spain – Made from Priorat’s signature Garnacha (Grenache) grape in a ripe, rounded modern style, this wine will express bold, spicy ﬂavors similar to the Boomslang while still keeping a lush enough body to avoid overpowering the dish it accompanies. Much like the IPL’s lighter spin on an IPA, Priorat’s wines oﬀer the same dark, earthy ﬂavors as French Chateauneuf-du-Pape, but are typically less aggressive and more drinkable alongside small plates of this nature.”
With the third and fourth courses, we graduated from small plate apps to fully crafted entrees. The ﬁrst a sweet, savory, and spicy adaptation of classic Fried Chicken, this generously breaded bird was topped with vanilla butter and chili oil, served over a bed of peppery arugula. Its brewed partner? The Vinton Blonde Ale. And while I found myself initially captivated by the beer’s summer fruit aromatics and chalky, almost yeasty ﬂavors, the highlight of the pairing was all about the body. Light but round, toasty but clean and pure on the ﬁnish, this beer was strong enough to dance with a hearty fried dish, but polite enough to let it lead. ”
Mattie & Oscar’s suggested wine?
Louis Latour Macon-Lugny ‘Chardonnay’ – Macon, France – Made for everyday francophiles without Grand Cru pricing, the Macon region is my haven for value Old World Chardonnay. Far from the butter bombs Chard’s that often wary people away from the grape altogether, this wine sees just enough neutral oak aging to round out the body yet maintain its purity of ﬂavor. It holds enough ﬂesh to balance out hearty fried chicken, with lively fruit and a toasty chalk minerality reminiscent of the great yeastiness in the Vinton Blonde. A match.com no-brainer for fried chicken.”
The fourth course coupling proved just as sound as the third, as the chef and brewmaster both turned up the heat. Succulent Short Rib with a rustic, smoky exterior, the meat’s fattiness and spice were mellowed by a sweet apple BBQ glaze and creamy cheddar mash. Paired astutely with Rogness’s signature Beardy Guard Amber Ale, the sweet fruits and almost caramelized, toasty brittle ﬂavors in the beer made the sweet and savory components of the dish rock out in perfect harmony. The cherry on top? Beardy Guard’s soft spicy ﬁnish to bring us full circle back to the dish at center stage.”
Mattie & Oscar’s suggested wine?
M. Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone Rosé – Cote du Rhone, France – With the same indulgent duality of ﬂavors, this Grenache/Syrah rosé from southern France is sugar, spice, and everything nice. A stunningly dry wine, the silky red fruits from the Grenache dance lightly on a sturdy Syrah stage, making it bold enough to stand up to a hefty slab of pork but soft enough to respect all of the complex ﬂavors on the plate.”
Finally, no proper dining experience would be complete without dessert. Rounding out the evening was a dark Chocolate Tres Leches topped with Porter Anglaise. A rich slice of cocoa country heaven, this treat begs for a full-bodied porter. Enter Rogness’s OST Porter. With tantalizing aromas of dark chocolate, coﬀee, toasted walnuts, and sweet licorice, the ﬂavors of the beer were a bullseye, though the body was surprisingly lean for a pairing of this decadence. The golden rule of any dessert pairing: your drink should be sweeter than your food. Otherwise, the nuances of the beer or wine are lost, and you may as well be drinking water. Lame.”
Mattie & Oscar’s suggested wine?
Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castila, Pedro Ximenez Sherry – Andalucia, Spain – Busting with all the toasty, nutty, syrupy ﬂavors of any good homemade dessert, this naturally sweet, mahogany colored sherry will mirror the caramel sweetness of the porter glaze and richness of the dark, concentrated chocolate ﬂavors. A sublime Spanish touch. ”
So with pants unbuttoned and my mind blown open, I concluded my ﬁrst oﬃcial beer pairing dinner with a reinvigorated respect for the art of pairing. Whether an organized dinner like that hosted by Fork & Vine and Rogness, ﬁnding a wine to suit two diﬀerent entrées when you’re out for date night, or just an evening in with homemade paninis and toasty golden lager, two is always better than one. ”
Pair with ﬂare. Don’t leave your dinner lonely.
Visit Rogness Brewing tasting room @ 2400 Patterson Industrial Dr. Pﬂugerville, TX 78660″
Look for Fork & Vine’s soft opening this September 2014
About our guest writer | Mattie Jackson, CSW
A millennial oenophile on a mission, Mattie Jackson came to Austin, TX in 2012 with sights set on learning each and every facet of the wine industry. With her first in-depth exposure to the study, service, and hospitality of wine at Austin’s long-lived Sullivan’s Steakhouse, Mattie began voraciously seeking an intellectual vinous foundation through programs such as the International Wine Guild, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and Court of Master Sommeliers.
To further to compliment her theoretical understanding, she sought out hands-on production opportunities in hopes of bringing her passion for wine into physical fruition. During her five months as a harvest intern in the cellar of Napa Valley’s esteemed Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Mattie absorbed viticulture from the ground up, tasting and working with some of California’s great winemakers.
Following her time in Napa Valley, Mattie returned to Austin to pursue distribution with a local, boutique Italian import company, Noble Wine Imports. She subsequently gained recognition from the Society of Wine Educators as a Certified Specialist of Wine and is currently preparing for the Certified Level examination with the Court of Master Sommeliers in the fall. Mattie supplements the day-to-day of Old World wine sales by writing for her own personal blog, VoluptuousVines, as well as guest writing for WhichWinery.com.
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Oscar Adrián Montes Iga, MC; ECWA; CSW; CBS
Oscar Adrian is the contributing editor of the Texas Two Taste column, and writer for Texas Wine & Trail Magazine
Oscar was recognized as a Magna Cum Laude after graduating with a specialization in Nutrition, Diet & Health Science. He attended college and finished degrees in Travel & Tourism, Meeting & Events Planning, Food & Beverage and Hospitality Management; Oscar’s background in Food Service and Hospitality started long ago however, as he was part of family-ran restaurants throughout his childhood, but it wasn’t until working at a Texas prime steakhouse in 2005, when he visited a vineyard for the first time that he discovered a drive for lust of wine & vine – the rest is history in the making.
He has worked in three distinct Texas Hill Country wineries, and has been an essential staff component in wine festivals, seminars and conferences throughout the state involved with major community organizations such are The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, the Texas Hill Country Wineries Association, the Texas Wine & Food Consortium, the American Wine Society, and additionally, Oscar is now a Panel Wine Judge for the Texas Wine Journal.
Oscar is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators, also a Certified Executive Chef of Wine Arts and was granted a Master Candidate title with the International Wine Guild. To sum up Oscar, he is a dedicated Texas Scholar, grape hunter and oenophile, foodie and avid ambassador for hospitality, and he takes great joy in sharing his passions with others.