Duchman Family Vineyards Vermentino is this month’s “wine of the month” as featured by Texas Monthly. Wine writer Jessica Dupuy shares notes from her conversation with Scott Banks (left), sommelier at the legendary Tony’s in Houston, where Duchman Vermentino is the only Texas wine on Tony Vallone’s “hallowed” list.
This month’s selection comes at the suggestion of Scott Banks, wine director for the iconic Tony’s restaurant in Houston. Since 1965, Tony’s has long been regarded as one of the best dining experiences in Houston, if not all of Texas. Growing up it’s a place I remember my Houston-native grandparents sharing their stories of entertaining clients and friends for special dinners.
It wasn’t until recently that I enjoyed my first Tony’s experience and I have to say that whatever owner Tony Vallone did to attract sophisticated glitz and glamour in 1965, he’s still pulling it off today. Tony’s is special indeed, with every five-star dining frill you would expect from mussels steamed in tomatoes and white wine, to a meticulous table-side break down of a whole salted branzino served warm and aromatic with fresh herbs. A night at Tony’s is truly special, especially if you get a chance to sit down with the man himself over a glass of 2008 Galatrona Petrolo, a single vineyard Italian Merlot. That’s when the real stories come out.
The more than 1,100-bottle wine list features wines from the world’s greatest regions: from Barolo and Barbaresco (Piedmont) to Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) as well as an unmatched collection of first-growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy. With a number of rare and collectible bottles—stretching back to 1844—the wine cellar at Tony’s is almost more of an homage to the grand history of global wine as it is a holding room for top beverage selections. And this year, Banks added Duchman’s Vermentino to the list. (To date, the only Texas wine to hit Tony’s hallowed list.)