Moreson Chardonnay "Clone Wars" at Chef Paul Friedman's Peli Peli Houston Vintage Park and Houston Galleria
By Richard Friedman
I have been in the Houston area for the past two days.
The purpose of my trip has been to carry out training for the staff at our good customer, Peli Peli Restaurant at its two Houston locations - in Vintage Park and their new restaurant at the Galleria shopping center in downtown Houston.
The Vintage Park restaurant is the original, started by Chef Paul Friedman, who hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, as do I. We never met in South Africa. Paul has, as you may have noticed, the same family name as I do and it is highly likely that somewhere in our lineage we share "blood" as both our lines can be traced back to Lithuania.
Paul was one of the founders of a very successful and well known restaurant chain in South Africa - Mike's Kitchen. Paul then moved to the US with one of the other Founders, Mike Illion, to set up Mikes Kitchen here. He then struck out on his own and established Peli Peli, a name based on Peri Peri, the spicy chilli pepper that is used in so many South African dishes. In fact his motto, "South African Flavors - Southern Hospitality" Says it all.
I love his food and there are a number of his dishes which I come back for time and again. So yesterday it was their iconic Caesar salad, one of the best in America and Bobotie. Paul's version of this traditional South African Malay dish has won him culinary awards all over the US and for good reason. Also his Peri Peri prawns and Chicken liver's peri peri, and of course Moreson Mercator and Moreson Pinotage. Also Moreson Mata Mata, Nitida Calligraphy and The Lynx.
So yesterday I conducted a Clone Wars Chardonnay tasting for the staff at the Vintage Park location and today at the new Galleria restaurant. A quick word about this great new Galleria restaurant. This is a must go to "new in place" in Houston. Fantastic decor to match the food. Great staff and simply walk out into one of the best malls in Houston. Also a great bar for a drink of Moreson, to have some of the food and at which you watch TV if you need to.
What a blast! Twenty or so enthusiastic young people, all wanting to know more. In many cases this is the first time they have had the opportunity to taste and appreciate wine in a structured manner. They are able to test their taste and aroma sense against profiles developed by professionals. Mainly new faces due to the growth over the past few months, but some old friends to. Josh, Virginia, Latoya - you guys are still awesome and great ambassadors for Peli Peli and Moreson. Thank You.
In the Clone Wars we have made wines from six different clones of chardonnay grapes grown at Moreson, using exactly the same yeasts, oak barrels and processes. Throughout this up to and including bottling we have kept the various clones completely separated. The point is to teach and enable people to experience the huge taste and aroma differences that arise simply out of the different clones of the same classic grape.
This is one of the reasons I love Chardonnay so much. There is simply an abundance of different material for the winemaker to work with to end up with a classic finished product, one which exhibits what I want out of my Chardonnays - namely balance and finesse. My private name for The Moreson Mercator is the " Baby Maker" One day I will let you in on the secret. My wife calls the Moreson Mata Mata "Christmas in a bottle" and the 2013 Moreson Pinotage is named "The Widow Maker" after one of my favorite aircraft, the F 104 Starfighter.
I also introduced everyone to Miss Molly Bubbly - the girls loved it as I was certain they would. Without any marketing spend the Miss Molly Bubbly sales are growing dramatically. Not surprised. Great juice at a phenomenal price. Watch this space.
Bobotie, Chef Paul Friedman, Lithuania, Mikes Kitchen, Moreson, Moreson Mercator Chardonnay, Moreson Miss Molly Bubbly, Moreson The Clone Wars Chardonnay, Peli Peli Galleria, Peli Peli Restaurant, Peli Peli Vintage Park, The Baby Maker, The Widow Maker Pinotage