casa del vino

Where wine is on the table everyday

Day 29 – When You Can’t Enjoy Shrimp on the Barbie!

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We really love the fact that people have actually been reading our wine blogs and are talking about the wines we’re enjoying and then passing on the blog to their friends.  But, one of the best parts of our year’s quest to try and write about 365 different wines is trying something new every day and meeting new and interesting people in the process.

Today is no different.  With more rain on the horizon and a late afternoon movie on the schedule, we decided to catch a ‘late lunch’ at one of our favorite places, Outback Steak House in San Marcos.  Jeff, the managing partner, and Big Jeff,the manager, came by to see us while were watching some Ryder Cup golf and Baylor vs. WVU and Texas A&M vs. Arkansas football – both exciting games, but for different reasons.  We enjoyed great service from Monica who provided us with tonight’s wine and served us some delicious, fresh ahi tuna.  It turned out to be a perfect food with our wine of the night.

While finishing up our late lunch we started to visit with Tom from the Dallas area who has a daughter now attending Texas State; you know, you meet some of the nicest people when you’re relaxed and enjoying a nice glass or wine or a cold beer and we’ve been fortunate to meet several at the Outback in San Marcos.  In case you’ve never been there before, you not only get great Outback food, but their service is what sets them apart.  We really enjoy the atmosphere and the folks who keep that atmosphere fun – especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon!  It’s really cool to hear how much people love this town!  It’s especially great to hear it from parents who’ve brought their freshman daughter or son to the University – they seem to understand that there is so much more to San Marcos than just a university or outlet shopping mall.  San Marcos is an awesome place . . . period.

While not on our original list of wines to sample, our 2009 Greg Norman Estates Cabernet Merlot was a fruity, tasty blend that surprised us with its’ body and finish.  The wine had an excellent finish of black cherry, pepper and a hint of oak.  Combined with our ahi tuna, the wine was a terrific complement to the food and something we’d try again.  This wine is available at most wine and liquor establishments and you’ll find it well within our $20 price point.  And, while Greg Norman will always be remembered on the PGA tour as “The Shark”, his wine making team is continuing to create nice wines at affordable prices – something that Australian wines have become famous for in America – an affordable, good tasting wine.  Australia is one of those places that wine lovers like us would love to visit.  It’s one of those places that Patrick from Grape Juice went a few years back and helped bring us into the world of Chris Ringland wines.

As we watched Baylor and West Virginia shoot it out to a 70-63 final in favor of WVU and the Aggies put a hurtin’ on the Razorbacks all while the Americans were jumping to a 10-6 advantage over their European competitors in Ryder Cup golf, we realized that the Outback was a little like Cheers – not that everyone knows your name, but everyone can become friends . . . even if just for an afternoon – where shopping takes a back seat to a cold bottle of beer or a nice glass of Australian wine.  Hey, Tom – we hope you’re daughter does real well at Texas State, and Monica – keep smiling and serving . . . those skills will take you far in life.

And, for anyone who may be looking to try an Australian blend with a nice finish, then the 2009 Greg Norman Estates Cab Merlot is worthy of your investment.  With a rainy day winding down, it’s too wet to fire up the grill for some shrimp, so guess we’ll just have to dream of the Land Down Under until we meet again.

Please remember to enjoy these wines responsibly and recycle whenever possible.

Monica – our wonderful waitress at Outback!

Ahi Tuna at Outback is the BEST!

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