Rob Moshein - The Austin Wine Guy

Austin, Ignore the "in a Hotel" part. Really...Worthy...

September 18, 2011

The other evening, I was the invited guest of the Driskill Hotel to check out the renovations of the Driskill Bar and Grill. Expanded bar seating, freshened up dining room. Very nice.

The new menu is good. Very good. I will leave an expanded critique to the foodie experts, but suffice to say Gentle Reader, the food was very good, delicious,  and the menu prices are very very reasonable. 3 Course menu $45, 5 courses for $65, and a la carte pricing to match! Surprising indeed for a hotel, so much so, that I will gladly put the Grill onto the regular rotation of places Yr Mst Hmbl & Obdt Svt will gladly go and pay to eat, just on the food alone!

What really got my attention was the new wine list. Scott Ota, the Somm, has done an amazing job. A nice selection of by the glass on offer, with everything save one under $20 per glass, and 85% under $15! Alsace Cramant Rose $14, Albariño $12, an Argentine Malbec made by Paul Hobbs $14, are fine btg examples to keep any wine guy happy.

Yes, there are some "label" wines on the list, Kistler, Peter Michael, Rochioli, Groth, Araujo, Darioush, etc, however this "is" a hotel and they have no choice. These required tired over hyped over priced label star darlings of the Wine Spectator and Parker happily take up perhaps 15% of the real estate.

The true joy of this list are the other twelve pages! Fine Spanish, Argentine, Italian, French and California whites and reds abound at most reasonable prices. Viz:
Dom. Dampt Chablis 1er cur "Vaillons" 2007 for only $68; Graville Lacoste Graves Blanc 2009! $46; Huet Vouvray "Le Mont" Sec $60; Quinta dos Roques Encruzado $37; Emeritus Pinot Noir $60…all great wines in my own cellar and which I would happily pay the price!

But wait, there's more!

Ch. Phelan Segur St. Estephe 2004 $75; Prieure Lichine Margaux 1997 $150; Les Hauts de Smith Pessac-Leognan 1995 $155; Clerc Milon Pauillac 1990 $180;  Pichon-Longueville Pauillac 2005 $280; Bouchard Beuane Gréves "Vigne de L'Enfant Jesus" 1er Cru 2005 $155;  Allegrini "La Poja" Veronese 2003 $105;  Aldo Conterno Barolo 2006 $128; Aldo Conterno Barbera d'Alba "Conca Tre Pile" 2007 $62;

and some bubbles: Andre Clouet Brut "Silver" Nature $78; De Bruyne Cuvee Absolute $86: Billiot Brut Rose $99 and Krug Brut NV $200.

People, these are "hotel wine list prices"!?!  unheard of!  A wonderful trend to provide great wine at reasonable prices. For you uninitiated, the standard Restaurant price mark up for wine (which I personally resent) is 2 or 3 times retail. THESE prices are 50% over retail! Wow.

Add to all of this, most attentive, friendly and enthusiastic service and Scott's great palate and knowledge and well…you get the idea.  If you don't get it, well, you never will...

Most blogworthy. Most praiseworthy. Most importantly, Austin Texas, most worthy of your time and dollars! Ignore the "in a hotel" part.

Driskill Bar & Grill is a destination spot for locals! Starting with Yr Mst Hmbl & Obdt Svt….


Rob Moshein
Austin Wine Guy

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Raves, rants, musings, ponderings and wine whines... trends, tasting notes, the Austin Wine Guy Rob Moshein shares his world of wine and thoughts about it with you.

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