Dallas

Hello! I am fresh off the plane from a quick trip to Dallas. We were in town so my husband could take a work meeting but we decided to turn his work trip into a mini vacation since his dad, stepmom and brother live there. I saw a lot of the city that I haven’t seen before (and I’ve visited quite a bit in my seven years with Matt). For instance, we went to Fort Worth to visit the Modern Art Museum. It was fantastic and I had no idea it was there! I got my Rothko fix which should hold me over until October when we go to Chicago. We also visited one of the best wine shops I have ever been to! Whenever I go to a new city, I research wine shops and wine bars to see if there is anything particularly interesting that I should check out. In the case of Dallas, a shop called Bar and Garden looked too good to pass up.

Bar and Garden specializes in natural and organic wine and their selection is absolutely incredible. I saw bottles from wineries that I have only seen on Instagram such as Dirty & Rowdy, Brea, Brendan Tracey and a ton more along with a bunch of my favorites. The staff was also so friendly and helpful. I had a 10 minute conversation with one worker about how much I love natural wine and I was in heaven being in a store that was full of it. The GM of the shop actually knew my husband’s family because her son went to school with Matt’s brother. She was fabulous and we nerded out over natural wine while my fam stood patiently silent. I can’t recommend Bar and Garden highly enough if you are in Dallas. They also have a shop in L.A. so if that’s your hood, check them out!

Here are the two wines I picked up:

Brea Cabernet Sauvignon

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Brea is the collaboration between Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars and Tim Elenteny of TE Imports. They practice natural winemaking at its finest by using organic fruit from the Central Coast and spontaneous fermentation. They produce a limited number of varietals, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I picked up the Cabernet Sauvignon and was thrilled because I had heard about Brea for a few years but had never seen their wines. Soon after getting home from the wine shop, I opened the bottle to share with my husband and father in law. The two of them are huge craft beer lovers and not particularly into wine. Still, I wanted to hear their thoughts on the Brea. We all agreed that we noted stone fruit and bing cherries on the nose and as we tasted it, big dark fruits popped on the tongue-- plums and black currant. My father in law said “it pops, it just pops!” and I couldn’t agree more. It has a bright acidity and isn’t too tannic. It isn’t the heavy, syrupy Cab that you’ve had at every open bar you’ve ever been to. No, this Cabernet is light enough that it could be paired with a fish dish or a pasta tossed with vegetables and balsamic. I absolutely loved this wine and hope I can find a way to get my hands on more.

La Clarine Farm Jambalaia Rouge

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I was thrilled to find La Clarine Farm at Bar and Garden. The owner of the wine shop I frequent in Kansas City put in a special order so I could try La Clarine Farm. I haven’t opened that bottle yet so this was my first time trying LCF. I chose the Jambalaia Rouge, which is a great blend of Mourvedre, Marsanne, Granache and Syrah. La Clarine Farm is an incredible winery based in California’s Sierra Nevada foothills and uses the most natural winemaking techniques including no additives and spontaneous fermentation. I paired the Jambalaia with grilled chicken marinated in lime juice. It was absolutely delicious. The best way I can describe the smell of this wine is that it smells exactly like that raspberry Haribo candy that I used to eat as a kid. Do you remember those? They don’t really taste anything like raspberries but they are sugary and delightful. On the palate it tastes just like double apple hookah, which is kind of like a mixture of apple and anise. It seriously took me back to being 18 when I thought that hookah was the shit and I was living on the edge because I was smoking tobacco. The Jambalaia is tart with bright acidity. I served it chilled and I recommend that, especially if you are in 100+ degree weather like I was.

It was a wonderful trip and I am so glad I got to spend time with Matt and his family. If you are in Dallas, definitely check out Bar and Garden. I can’t wait to go back in November and try some more wine.