Design cellars and impressive (Italian) wine lists, the gastronomic scene in Austin is more lively than ever
One of the latest Italian-concept to open in Austin, Italic is a big restaurant located in the heart of downtown Austin on 6th street not far from music row.
I was there a couple of weeks ago with my friend (and well-read wine blogger) Jeremy Parzen and wine writer and marketing strategist Matt McGinnis (with his lovely wife), and we had the opportunity to taste some good wine from Piedmont with our client Tenuta Carretta.
Quoting Jeremy, “The wine director Master Sommelier Craig Collins’s Italian list is fantastic, with a focus on indigenous grape varieties and a balanced selection of northern, central, and southern. That alone was enough to make me a fan: It’s great to see southern wines well represented at restaurants like this, where the marketing target is generation Z. But thing that really blew me away about his program wasn’t the current offering but the wines that weren’t on the list. Before we sat down, Craig gave our party a tour of his 1,000+ reserve cellar, chock full with Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Aglianico that he’s aging. He has laid down a serious allocation of 2010 wines and he plans to start opening them a few years from now.”
The food was amazing too, with a rigorous selection of raw materials, cooked with skillful hands (I got a real crush on a stunning smoked burrata).
Just to give you an idea, Thrillist named this place one of the 21 best wine bars in the US in 2015. In Jonathan Cristaldi’s words. “Giving life to Austin’s historic Hyde Park neighborhood, this casual and comfortable wine bar — with its low lighting and warm wooden interior — is fit for a romantic rendezvous or clandestine scheming, if that’s your thing.” Actually, this cool restaurant can be considered a classic in Austin; the owner Jeff Courrington (a real “oste”) has run the place for nine years and welcomed us with a warm hug and a beautiful Grumello from Valtellina.
The wine selection is the real soul of the place and the heart of the location: thousands of bottles (with a great Italian choice) carefully selected and displayed on the walls.
Jeff is also planning to open a new Italian restaurant in Austin (Osteria al Fico) in few weeks. Here what he says about his new project: “When I decided to open Al Fico, I didn’t just want to open another restaurant. I wanted to tell the story of the Italy that I’ve come to know over the years traveling there.” Closing with a personal remark, Jeff wanted to teach me how to drink from a porron as a regular user. Eventually, he ended up donating this outlandish drinking device to me, since it was evident I’d need more training…
[Copyright foto di copertina: L’Ultima Cena, David LaChapelle, 2003]