Above, from left: Celebrity pit master Ara Malekian, owner of Harlem Rd. Texas BBQ; Dale Robertson, wine writer for the Houston Chronicle; Tom Dobson, Italian buyer for Spec’s; and presenter Jeremy Parzen.
One of the greatest things about Taste of Italy, the largest trade fair and festival in the U.S. devoted exclusively to Italian food and wine, is the gathering’s “Texas BBQ and Italian Wine” seminar.
Each year we ask a top Houston pit master to join some of the city’s leading experts on Italian wine to talk about the art of pairing Italian wines with classic and creatively smoked meats.
Celebrity pit master and owner of the popular Harlem Rd. Texas BBQ smoke house, Ara Malekian returned this year. He was joined by Dale Robertson, the long-time wine writer for the Houston Chronicle and an italophile wine lover, and Tom Dobson, who selects Italian wine for one of the largest wine retailers in the country, Spec’s. Food and wine historian Jeremy Parzen moderated the panel. Tom selected the wines.
The most surprising wine in the lineup was the St. Michael-Eppan Pinot Grigio from South Tyrol (Alto Adige) in German-speaking Italy. Tasting the Barbaresco-marinade brisket (yes, marinated in Barbaresco!) and pork ribs paired with the white wine drew a number of ooos and aaas from the crowd.
The Vite Colte Barbaresco was another show-stopper while the Cerrino Barbera d’Asti seemed to be one of everyone’s favorite wines in the flight for pairing with Texas smoked meats. See Dale’s write-up here.
Now in its fourth year, the Texas BBQ and Italian Wine seminar has really become an institution to itself. There’s no doubt that it’s a great way to discover the incredible range of Italian wines, their food-friendliness, and their approachability.
Special thanks to Chef Ara whose food always takes this tasting over the top!