The wine room at Tony's is stocked. And all the Vallone restaurants are in on the discounts. (Tony's/Nick de la Torre)
One of the great moments in any dining experience is the first taste of a wine that seems to have been made solely for the dish you’re eating, a wine that becomes the only thing you could imagine wanting to drink at that time in your existence. The flavors mingle and combine, the smiles and sighs arrive, and the wine and food become one.
These moments can come in a small restaurant in Umbria when a Sagrantino di Montefalco and a rabbit come to the table, or anywhere oysters and Muscadet join hands. For that matter, they can come almost anywhere that honest wine and food are sold (or produced, cooked, assembled, or served).
If you like such food/wine moments, April in Houston is definitely not the cruelest month, because the Vallone Restaurant Group has a treat for you: One night a week at Ciao Bello, Vallone’s, and Tony’s all wines will be half off (Tuesdays at Ciao Bello, Wednesdays at Vallone’s, and Thursdays at Tony’s) through the end of the month.
To get the 50 percent discount, you just need to ask at the restaurant.
“It’s our way of thanking our loyal customers, of giving them something to honor their patronage,” said Scott Sulma, Vallone Group partner. Sulma added that he and Tony Vallone don’t want to let go of any allocations, and that the promotion is a good way of making room for new inventory.
Visits to each of the restaurants in the past week or so provided the occasion to observe diners’ wine-buying activity, and on a recent Thursday at Tony’s the 2010 Brunellos were being opened with alacrity. “Now I wish we had bought more,” a sommelier remarked to me as he cradled a 2010 Tenuta La Fuga.
At Vallone’s, among the Wednesday crowd a young man began his meal with a bottle of Champagne — perhaps it was a Ferghettina Franciacorta Brut — and proceeded to a California Cabernet — was it the 2011 Philip Togni? — appropriate for the steakhouse and its cuisine. Meanwhile, on Tuesday at Ciao Bello, a 2015 Tami Grillo paired perfectly with an antipasto board.
I have my favorites on each list, and here are a few of them. Each provides great value, especially at this discount, and as always, you’ll get the Vallone style of service as well, something that can seem rare indeed. Choose your bliss, and have a moment.
2012 Sea Smoke “Sea Spray” Blanc de Noirs (Santa Rita Hills), $195
2012 Von Winning “Kalofen” Riesling, Grosse Gewächs, (Mosel), $195
2014 Planeta Chardonnay, Sicily, $65
2004 Paolo Bea “Rosso de Veo, Sagrantino di Montefalco, (Umbria), $145
2013 Herb Lamb Vineyards, Two Dogs, (Napa Valley) $85
2011 COS, Rami, (Sicily), $75
2013 Hirsch Vineyards, San Andreas Fault, (Sonoma Coast), $150
2012 Rudius, Kaley Elizabeth, (Oakville), $299
Scarpetta, sparkling Rosé, NV (Friuli,), $59
2013 Abbazia di Novacella, Kerner ($56)
2013 Massolino Barbera d’Alba ($52)
2013 Institut Agricole Regional, Petit Rouge, (Valle d’Aosta), $60
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