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Excellent Wines and Houston’s Only Certified Master Chef

| March 1, 2015

Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner.

Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner.

Houston’s Only Certified Master Chef Fritz Gitschner
Fritz Gitschner, former Executive Chef at the Houston Country Club, has created something very special at 60 Degrees Mastercrafted, located at 2300 Westheimer. There are many Master Chefs, but a Certified Master Chef is an other-worldly figure similar in rarity to a Master of Wine or a Master Sommelier, usually only one or so in each major city, and sometimes only one in a state!

Using rare Kobe-like Akaushi beef, the steaks are to die for, and the other menu items are simply luscious. A recently consumed schnitzel rivaled anything I have tasted in Austria — Fritz’s original home. The wine list is relatively small, but excellent. The bistro-like restaurant is unique. Open for dinner except for Mondays. Also a fabulous Sunday brunch! Inquire about specials Sunday and Tuesday evenings.

WHITE WINES

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars winemaker Marcus Notaro.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars winemaker Marcus Notaro.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars KARIA Chardonnay Napa Valley 2013 — KARIA means graceful, which describes this Chardonnay. Pretty fruit, bright acidity and “… a mere butterfly kiss of oak.” Perfect accompaniment to seafood and chicken dishes. $28

Dan Karlsen, Talbott Vineyards winemaker.

Dan Karlsen, Talbott Vineyards winemaker.

Talbot Chardonnay Diamond T Audrey Monterey 2012 — The finest Chardonnay from the Talbot Estate vineyards. It is more deeply colored than most at this age — a Talbot trait, which in this case is not a negative . This rare and other-worldly wine —100 percent barrel-fermented and 100 percent new French oak aged — is perfect, if one likes a combination of rich fruit with layers of flavors, minerality and a perfect dollop of oak. I would go with roasted red snapper topped with crabmeat in a cream sauce. Unique! $75

Dan Karlsen, Talbott Vineyards winemaker.

Dan Karlsen, Talbott Vineyards winemaker.

Migration Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Dierberg Vineyard 2012 — WOW! This is what this style of top Chardonnay is all about. “Beautiful peach, nectarine and white flower aromatics with luscious taste.” The best wine I have tasted from this AVA. Stunning. Only 288 cases produced. $55

RED WINES

David Rossi, Fulcrum winemaker.

David Rossi, Fulcrum winemaker.

Nickel & Nickel winemaker, Darice Spinelli

Nickel & Nickel winemaker, Darice Spinelli

Aron Weinkauf, Spottswoode winemaker.

Aron Weinkauf, Spottswoode winemaker.

Carmen Carmenère Gran Reserva Colchagua Valley Apalta Vineyard 2011 — This year marks the 20th anniversary of the rediscovery of the varietal Carmenère at Carmen — Chile’s oldest winery. “With the structure of a medium-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and the roundness of a Merlot, Carmenère is a wine that both stands well on its own and pairs perfectly with food, especially spicy meats.” Certainly one of the best of this varietal produced. Carmen knows Carmenère ™. $15

Doña Paula Estate Malbec 2012 — From Doña Paula’s very best vineyards at over 3,700 feet above sea level in Altamira, this beauty has intense, dark violet color with aroma of blackberries, plums and spice. A surprisingly voluptuous wine, completely unexpected at this price. Could win a medal in competition with wines at twice the price. Serve with grilled meats. $15

Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012 — This lovely three-county blend from the Wagner family of Caymus fame, displays “…Santa Barbara’s spice-filled aromas, Sonoma’s bright berry flavors and Monterey’s rich textures.” Aged in French oak, this is one of the best under-$20 Pinot Noirs on the planet. An eye-opener and an excellent value. $18

Talbot Pinot Noir Diamond T Vineyard Monterey 2012 — As a Texan and Eagle Ford shale aficionado, I am intrigued by the fact that in 1982, Robb Talbot planted this vineyard “fractoring” the rock to plant Pinot Noir vines. Made from the finest Dijon Clone grapes from this Estate vineyard, this gorgeous wine has a deep, vibrant color with seductive aromas, followed by luscious tastes of ripe cherries, plums and spice, ending with a long, tender-tannin finish. Elegant and intensely flavored, and a joy to drink. $52

Fulcrum Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Sonoma Coast 2012 — Winemaker David Rossi says that this vineyard and others he works with are in California’s coolest Pinot Noir regions, but are somewhat warmer sites than their neighbors, so that they get the flavors they want, balanced by poise and restraint. This is a well-balanced wine of earth, bramble berry and spice. $59

Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon John C. Sullinger Vineyard Napa Valley 2012 — Perhaps it’s the amazing 2012 vintage. This is the best Sullinger ever. Although it should age well, it’s just about perfect now! Elegant and beguiling with deep cherry fruit, silky tannins and a hint of toasty oak. I’d go with a beef tender! $100

Robert Keenan Merlot Reserve Mailbox Vineyard Napa Valley 2011 — This is the 11th year that the Mailbox Vineyard has been selected for Keenan’s Reserve Merlot. No wonder, as this earthy, chocolate-covered plum offering shows exceptional balance. Certainly one of the best Merlots produced in the Napa Valley. Only 200 cases. I’d go for roasted duck in cherry sauce, but if no duck around, roasted chicken would work. $64

Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Family Estate Grown Napa Valley 2011 — The renowned Robert Parker calls this beautiful wine from the less-than-great 2011 vintage a “tour de force.” It exhibits an intriguing aroma, excellent fruit, balance, suppleness and soft tannins. Possibly one of the best three Napa Cabs from this vintage produced. Perfect with your favorite steak. $150

Luce 2011 — Similar to Opus 1, but instead of Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe at Mouton in Napa, this started out as a joint venture between Robert Mondavi and Vittorio Frescobaldi (1995) in one of the premier growing areas in the world, Mont­alcino. Sons Tim Mondavi and Lamberto Frescobaldi worked together until the joint venture was dissolved in 2005. Lamberto has since taken the reins. Deeply concentrated with aromas of blackberry and raspberry, the taste is complex with ripe fruit and spice followed by a long finish. $95

The interior of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted.

The interior of 60 Degrees Mastercrafted.

Excellent Wines and Houston’s Only Certified Master Chef


Category: Wine Reviews by Denman Moody

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