Hash Over

A far cry

Texan boasting to the contrary, Texas wines are a ways from world-class status. In fact, despite a respectable showing from a few wines at the Lone Star Wine Competition in Grapevine last week, some were downright hard to swallow, plagued with striking flaws such as badly browning reds, discolored rosés, and skunky whites. This year, from a roster of some 129 wines, three gold and 14 silver medals were awarded. That's compared with five gold and 15 silver medals hurled from judges last year from among 102 wines. "Every year we make strides," says one Texas winemaker. "Unfortunately, we still have producers out there that haven't hit the quality mark. And I think people are still very wary of Texas wine...saying they're too expensive for the quality." Such candor is rare. But a few Texas winemakers are beginning to realize that for the most part, the state simply doesn't cut it with wines from traditional noble grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and pinot noir. The weather is too brutal, clobbering the fruit with damaging frosts and hail and scorching it with heat un-tempered by nighttime cooling -- conditions that rapidly ripen the grapes before they can develop any depth. You can taste it in many Texas cabs, which are devoid of fruit and structure. But that doesn't mean Texas can't hit world-class status. Winemaker Greg Bruni of Llano Estacado (arguably producing the best wines in Texas) is among a handful of Texas winemakers experimenting with varieties from warmer Mediterranean climates such as sangiovese, dolcetto, nebbiolo and mourvedre. The results, Bruni says, may be blends unlike any the world has ever seen. "We may end up inventing ourselves," he says. How Texan.

Mixed hash

Word is that former Melrose Executive Chef Jim Anile is gabbing with Green Room chiefs about a chef spot at Jeroboam, the brasserie the group is planning. But the project is dangling by a web of undisclosed delays surrounding its downtown space in the Kirby building, keeping the lease ink wet. "We're on the cusp of finalizing details and getting the dirt flying," says Green Room partner Whitney Meyers...It's described as a Houston's (food)-Fox & Hound (billiards)-Dave & Busters (high-end arcade games) hybrid. But the Metropolitan, under development by Southwest Properties and set to open February 2000 on Belt Line Road near Mi Piaci, is more -- much more. Southwest refused to comment, but sources say the $2 million venue will be a whopping 28,000 square feet and will have Addison's only rooftop patio/bar. Metropolitan is aiming at "hip, young singles." Isn't everybody?


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