Txotx: What does it mean, anyway?

Next month, Camerata will host its second annual celebration of Basque Culture with an event that we call “Txotx!” Along with a slew of other bars and restaurants, we’ll be showcasing the wines and ciders of the Basque Country for the latter half of January. But before we get into the world of Txakoli and the crus of Rioja Alavesa, let’s discuss cider. (Before we go any further, quick reminder that in the Basque language of Euskal, a “TX” phonetically resembles a “CH” sound)

Briny and delicately fizzy, Basque cider is unlike any fermented apple juice you’ve tried before. Cider Season is the Basque Country traditional begins on the Día de San Sebastian, the 19th of January. On this day, ciderhouses (known in Euskal as Sagardotegis) open up their barrel rooms to the public and host large celebrations, pouring the freshly-fermented cider directly out of the cask. When an owner is about to tap a new barrel, he shouts “¡Txotx!” (pronounced Choach) to alert his Sagardotegi guests.  This battle-cry has become synonymous with the festivities, and Txotx is one of the signature events of the Pais Vasco.

In that tradition, Camerata as well as other bars and restaurants will pour exciting wines and ciders from the Basque region. In addition to a porrón pouring competition, we will host cider-makers and Iberian wine importers to help illustrate the unique flavor of these beverages. We look forward to seeing you soon! #HTXOTX

Congratulations, Chris!

Our fearless leader, Chris Poldoian, was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40 Tastemakers! Every year, this nationally renown wine magazine chooses 40 of the most innovative young professionals in the beverage business for their list. Chris is not only the youngest one on this year’s list but also the only one from Texas and the Southwest!

But Chris didn’t win this accolade all on his own. Over the past 11 months, he has worked tirelessly with the entire sommelier team to make Camerata one of the most friendly and hospitality-focused wine destinations around! This award belongs as much to the team as it does to him. Next time you come to Camerata, make sure to congratulate everyone on a job well done!

Congratulations to Danny & Tony!

Camerata is proud to announce that Tony Stein and Danny Steiner successfully completed their level one and two sommelier certifications this past week! The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the major governing bodies of the wine world and gained plenty of notoriety for its depiction in the “Somm” documentary. There are four levels to the Sommelier Exam: with the final level referred to as the “Master Sommelier.” There are less than 200 Master Sommeliers in the United States, and only 3 in Houston!

The exams can be rigorous. The level one is an introductory survey course, a prerequisite to the level two. The second level is referred to as the “Certified Sommelier” and demands the candidate blind taste four wines, demonstrate theoretical and practical ability. The third level is the “Advanced Sommelier Certification,” which ramps everything from the level two up tenfold. Six wines are blind tasted, and candidates must demonstrate mastery of cocktail preparation, vintage demarcations, sake service, and everything in between. Our former staff member Lindsay Thomas successfully passed this exam last year!

Danny joins Monica Townsend and Chris Poldoian as “Certified Sommeliers,” and Tony is gearing up to complete his own level 2 next year. Congratulate both of these gentlemen next time you come to the bar!


Know your Importers

Our fearless leader wrote an article for the website “I Like This Grape,” which covers the intersection of wine and culture for the millennial generation. Chris wrote about some of his favorite wine importers and compared the supply side of wine to the record labels. One of the best ways to shop for wine in a store is by flipping the bottle over and recognizing the company that brings that wine stateside. Developing an understanding of importers and trusting their portfolio is a lot like discovering a new artist from a familiar record label. So whether you’re more into Def Jam or G.O.O.D. or XL or Sub Pop, there’s the perfect song (or booze) for you! Read the article here!