Amigos Especiales-Gun Bun Tempranillo

Last Sunday we had an afternoon dinner with THOSE friends.  You know, the ones.  We used to travel to Sonoma together and make Bacchus look like a monk.  Those weekends translated into all day food and wine festivals in our own backyards, almost every weekend. Corks flying, pans frying.  Until we added to the brood.  Now we are lucky if we can get together twice a year.  And until recently, one of the ladies was left out because of maternal matters.  But, we are coming out of that phase and their birthdays (one week apart) served as the perfect excuse to get together, even though it looks a little different now.  (Fewer) Corks flying and (more) pans frying and the occasional baby crying.

It was a beautiful day here in Austin so we decided to plan around the weather.  I thought we’d go Spanish.  I picked up some Manchego, Brazos Valley Eden brie (with vegetable ash-divine), olives, peppers, salami, and some veggies for appetizers al fresco.  I’ve learned to make a separate snack plate for the littles or my cherubs will devour all the olives and cured meats.  That’s just not good for anyone.

While the kids ran wild in capes and gowns, blowing bubbles and having tea parties, the adults were able to sit under the pergola, sipping Tempranillo and catching up.  It was wonderful. 

For dinner, I planned Flank and Flap steak with Chimichurri sauce, Patatas Bravas, and asparagus.  I marinated the steak in olive and sunflower oil, garlic, and salt. The good thing about this dinner is tha can do most of the work ahead of time.  For the Chimichurri I used a ton of parsley, oregano, olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, salt and a little crushed red pepper.   I made the tomato sauce with a bunch of garlic, olive oil, choppped tomatoes, chicken broth, smoked paprika, and a little cayenne. 

Many recipes call for frying the potatoes, but I roasted them in sunflower and olive oil at 450.  We did the steak in a cast iron pan.  I blanched the asparagus and then quickly sautéed them in the pan I had used for steak while it sat.  For wine, we broke out a Tempranillo with a story.


Gundlach Bundschu has a special place in our hearts.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how instrumental they were in my decision to start writing.  While on a tour there, we heard a great story about their Tempranillo.  I won’t name names, but somebody may or may not have snuck some rootstock back from Spain.  They may or may not have had some a stinky cheese wheel in said bag that may or may not have been confiscated at customs, allowing the rootstock to find a new home in Sonoma.  Legend has it, anyway.  No matter where this rootstock came from, it is doing great things in its current soil.

This wine is beautiful in the glass and its color represents it well.  Red and blue fruits, acid and earth.  Bright and smooth.  Complexity in the tobacco and cocoa notes.  I love this wine and it paired perfectly.  It was like they were made for each other.  Well, in fact they were. 

I guess you could say the same about our friends.  You know, THOSE friends.  The ones you can come to when your face is puffy and tear-stained.  The ones that you can tell anything to and know you are safe.  The ones that can make you laugh, let you vent, and tell you when to zip it.  Friends that are worth celebrating.  Cheers to that.

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

6 thoughts on “Amigos Especiales-Gun Bun Tempranillo

  1. Great post, Alissa! This is interesting to see that you use a lot of sunflower oil in your cooking – growing back in Russia, this was the only oil used in cooking… And you have so much fun with those Gun Bun wines- next time I will see them at WTSO, I will have to but them…


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