When I saw that Reddy Vineyards was having a pizza and wine dinner at Gorji restaurant in North Dallas, I immediately made a reservation. Not only have I wanted to try Gorji for quite some time, I have been anxiously awaiting my first taste of Reddy Vineyards wines. I’ve been familiar with the name Reddy Vineyards for years. Owner Dr. Vijay Reddy has been selling grapes to some of the state’s finest winemakers and is known as one of the state’s viticultural pioneers. Texas Wine Lover profiled Dr. Reddy in September 2019. Now Reddy Vineyards has started its own wine label, and I’ve been hearing the buzz growing for months.
Gorji has been a North Dallas institution for over 15 years. Under the direction of chef-owner Mansour Gorji, the small Mediterranean restaurant hosts regular wine dinners, and pizza is often the cuisine of choice. Chef Gorji’s pizza is a skillet pizza with a crispy crust. The innovative restaurant is best known for its warm hospitality, its no tipping and no children policies, and its relaxed pace. Tables are turned just once a night, so you’re never rushed to finish your meal. His small wine list is mostly Mediterranean, but you’ll always find at least a few options from Texas.
For the Reddy Vineyards wine tasting event, Certified Sommelier Eric Sigmund handled the wine education while Chef Gorji prepared the pizza. Eric resides in north Texas, but he works as Reddy Vineyards’ chief operating officer and travels to the Brownfield winery frequently. The sellout crowd included Texas wine enthusiasts as well as a few people who had never had Texas wines before. Eric did a great job explaining some unique features about Reddy Vineyards including that it has some of the oldest and most diverse vineyards in the state and plantings in the state. Reddy Vineyards has a target production level of around 3000 cases, and all of the wines are estate grown, produced, and bottled.
Now on to the wine! For this dinner, Eric brought three wines that paired with a specific pizza. The pairings were spot on, each more delicious than the last.
Pizza Pomodoro with Buffalo Mozzarella and Basil paired with Italian Field Blend 2015 “The Circle” Vineyard, Texas High Plains AVA, $35
This unique Italian blend of Montepulciano, Barbera, and Sangiovese is picked, pressed, and fermented together. A true field blend! Believe it or not, the grapes are from a circle-shaped block in the heart of the vineyard. The wine featured aromas of bright red fruit, sour cherry, toast, and herbs. It had enough acid to pair nicely with the zingy sauce. Pomodoro sauce is one of Chef Gorji’s specialties; the sauce is bottled and sold at local Whole Foods stores.
This wine won Double Gold Medal winner, Reserve Class Champion and Reserve Texas Class Champion at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
Pizza with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce with Red Onion, Mushroom, Smoked Salmon, and Arugula paired with Marsanne 2017, Texas High Plains AVA, $25
I rarely see white wine served after red wine at a wine dinner, but I welcome it. This was a more substantial pizza and a more substantial wine, so both the pairing and the placement made sense. This 100% Marsanne is intensely floral and stone-fruit forward with a rich palate. The relatively high alcohol hints at a bit of sweetness, although it is completely dry. The wine fermented in stainless steel and aged in neutral oak, so the fruit really shines.
Pizza Bolognese with Goat Cheese paired with Spanish TNT Blend 2017 (75% Tempranillo, 25% Touriga Nacional), Texas High Plains AVA, $35
The final pizza and wine pairing was the Reddy Vineyards TNT blend with a pizza topped with a meaty Bolognese sauce and goat cheese. Eric called this wine the Iberian Peninsula blend since Tempranillo is the most common red grape in Spain and Touriga Nacional is a common red grape in Portugal. This super aromatic wine was deeply purple in the glass and had aromas of cranberry, violets, and blackberries. It was the most structured wine we tasted and stood up well to the fat in the sauce. After fermenting in stainless steel tanks, the wine aged in French and American oak barrels for 18 months. Eric was pleased to announce that this wine had just won a Double Gold at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and previously won a Gold Medal at the Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
Eric did a great job giving an overview of the Texas wine industry and the history of the Reddy family. When introducing each wine, he gave enough information that guests were thoroughly informed, but not overwhelmed. Discussion topics ranged from wine tariffs to wine diamonds.
Dinner attendees were among the first to hear that the Field Blend and the TNT are now available to purchase at Dallas Fort Worth Total Wine stores. Houston Total Wine stores (downtown area) will follow later this month.
Reddy Vineyards wines are available on restaurant lists and at fine retailers across Dallas and also in a few other locations across the state. Chef Gorji has added the Field Blend and the Marsanne to the wine list at Gorji and reports that both wines are well received by restaurant guests.
Based on the three wines I tasted at the wine and pizza dinner, I look forward to trying the rest of the Reddy Vineyards lineup. And based on the delicious pizzas and charming presence of Chef Gorji, I look forward to dining at Gorji again.