Austin Food & Wine Fest: Chill your red

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 04.28.12
Watching the “Obi Wan” chef Jonathan Waxman make s’mores is a little like watching Kobe Bryant tie his shoes. And Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is doing a kind of conspiratorial whisper over fish you will never be able to re-produce at home.
The food demos at the Austin Food and Wine Festival on Saturday are packed, but there was an open seat on the wine side of Auditorium Shores as sommelier, journalist and opinionated Italian Anthony Giglio turned wine education from an unapproachable supermodel into her cute and infinitely funnier friend.
Five minutes changes everything, Giglio said, offering that red wine needs a shot of cold to awaken its inner ... coolness. An ice and water bath should be enough. Not just ice, but ice and water like Skandinavian immersion therapy. “I always have a bucket with water and ice,” Giglio said. “It’s a regulator. I pass stuff through it all night long.”
The embrace of the chill factor comes naturally to Giglio, who said as an Italian he’s inclined to pull a bottle straight from the refrigerator. For the rest of us, a benchmark: 57 degrees for red, 42 degrees for white.
Giglio arrived  in Austin from New York wearing a scarf, he said, to be awakened to the fact that April is already knocking on summer’s door here. His advice to us as the dog days bear down: Frozen grapes. This collector of antique ice buckets said that for warm-weather parties, he puts out frozen red grapes on one side, frozen white on the other. The idea is to put the grapes right in your glass to bring overheated party wines to a more drinkable place without using ice cubes or, God forbid, those frozen plastic grapes from Pottery Barn.
Still working through the idea that cooling your Chateau Greysac can create three different tastes from the same bottle? Here’s another bombshell: “Even cheap wine is made better than the best wines 50 years ago.” Thank you, UC-Davis.
(Photos by Mike Sutter / Fed Man Walking)