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December 6, 2017
A Visit To Taxman
A Brewery with Serious Culinary Ambition
In October we took advantage of a beautiful 80 degree Saturday for a day out in the convertible to pay a visit to the new Taxman Brasserie & Tap Room in Fortville.  I was intrigued enough to visit after hearing that Taxman is a brewery with culinary ambitions and that their first location in Bargersville includes a very successful gastropub.  It was good, so good that we paid a second visit in November for brunch and decided to write about it. 

All of the concepts for the brewery and restaurants has Belgian roots where the founders acquired their inspiration for both the beer and the food. The two locations have very different menus, both Belgian inspired, but with Fortville placing an emphasis on liege waffles, a dense, caramelized waffle made with a pearl sugar infused dough, rather than a batter.

The beers are a major attraction, sounding and looking very authentically Belgian in style, down to being served in small, tulip-shaped glasses. However, since we don't drink beer, we very much appreciated the short, but well-chosen and reasonably priced wine list that included many of our favorites like the Domaine LaFage Tesselle GSM blend and the Substance Cs Cabernet from Washington.
For a Saturday afternoon, they had a good crowd, in both the bar and the family-friendly dining room (and we were among the few tables without kids - in retrospect, we would have sat in the bar). The building is a beautifully restored two-story brick storefront on Fortville's Main Street, featuring plenty of exposed brick and wooden beams that have been enhanced with the addition of large, new windows all around, along with dangling, exposed filament lights and crystal chandeliers. The second story contains two large event rooms with beautiful rustic wooden floors and full bars. Altogether, a pretty impressive and obviously very expensive conversion of an 1896 building.

The menu is eclectic, and nothing like you would expect in a brewery, including four waffle-based dishes, seven appetizers, two each of salads and soups, six sandwiches and six entrées, each seeming to display a creative twist. We began with braised chicken wings which bore no resemblance to a "typical" wings appetizer. Smoked then braised in a way that maintained a crispy skin, they were fall off the bone tender, and required a knife and fork to eat, and could be dipped in either the homemade cranberry hot sauce or ranch dressing or maybe both. Best wings we've ever eaten.

Linda enjoyed the venison burger, that was suitably "chefified" with Mozzarella cheese, charred peppers, and a giardiniera aioli.  I had to go with the fried chicken liege waffle, a smoked leg and thigh, battered and fried and served over a thick, sweet/savory waffle with an apple infused syrup, accompanied by a crispy red cabbage and pickled onion and pepper slaw.

Linda shared her crispy Belgian frites which were served with both an amazing herb aioli and house catsup that were always amazes me how many restaurants can screw up something as simple as frites.

At brunch in November Linda had an excellent grilled breakfast burrito filled with bacon, ham, cheese, black beans, rice and scrambled eggs topped with pico de gallo and a little sour cream.... very good and almost enough for two.  

I went with the brunch burger served with American cheese, bacon, pickle, tomato, onion and special sauce topped with a fried egg.  The multi-seed bun really set the sandwich off and while I'm not sure what all was in the special sauce, I'm sure in involved mayonnaise and Sriracha.  
And the rest of the menu is just as interesting and changes seasonally. Next time we visit, we really need to try the venison meatball appetizer, featuring fig jam, roasted grapes and candied chilis. Or we may try the baby back ribs on a waffle, or maybe the Cuban waffle sandwich...or maybe the seared duck breast with an onion tart and paté.

Worth a trip to Fortville (only 10 minutes from the east of Geist on 96th Street).

Taxman Brasserie & Tap Room
29 South Main Street, Fortville
(317) 482-1272

The Recipe Exchange
Here is something decadent for the holidays from Tom and Suzanne. These are really good. Suzanne was looking for something new and found these. If you really want to be decadent, top them with a little ice cream. I think they will freeze well if there are any left! – Tom Landshof

Pecan Pie Bars
Makes 30 bars
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (335 degrees convection bake). Combine flour and 1/3 cup brown sugar; cut in 3/4 cup butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press mixture evenly into a greased 13-inch x 9-inch pan. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Combine 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar and next five ingredients (eggs, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla, salt), stirring well. Stir in pecans. Pour filling over prepared crust. Bake for 35 minutes or until set. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Suzanne Landshof April 2009 (Adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook, 1999)

Wine Guy Reviews
This is a beautiful expression of Viognier that will shine with or without food....
Stags’ Leap Viognier 2016 Napa, California $23
What the Wine Critics Thought: Wine Advocate 91 Points

The 2016 Viognier has wonderfully floral notes of honeysuckle and peach blossoms with a core of apricots, spiced apple and aniseed plus a waft of baking bread. Medium-bodied, with a pleasant touch of oiliness to the texture, the palate has fabulous freshness matched by fruit expression, finishing long and perfumed. Drink 2017-2019. —L.P.

What We Thought: Aromas of honeysuckle and apricot frame the nose of this viscous wine that is filled with ripe stone fruits and a little underlying minerality, finishing with a burst of bright acidity. 

This elegant California Chardonnay has a deft balance of oak, fruit and acid....

Clos du Val Chardonnay 2015 Carneros, California $29
What the Wine Critics Thought: Wine Enthusiast 94 Points
New management, farming and winemaking practices at this producer, including a focus on smaller production, are remarkably on display in this delicious white. Golden pear and crunchy apple provide an unctuous, delightfully balanced experience that's crisp in underlying acidity and subtle baking spice. —V.B.

What We Thought:
A big, oaky, butterscotch nose leads to a++3
.more restrained, very smooth, well-balanced palate of viscous ripe pear, a little vanilla and some subtle acidity.

New Arrivals
This Top 100 effort from Lancaster is a pretty impressive bottle of wine....

Lancaster Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Alexander Valley, California $65
What The Wine Critics Thought: Wine Spectator 94 Points
A big, rich Cabernet, with firm, structured tannins that are powerful and edgy, framing the core of blackberry, black cherry, plum and espresso flavors. An impressive effort. Best from 2019 through 2029. Top 100 Wines of 2017, #86. –JL

Pick Of The Week
A Big Inky Malbec Blend!
James Suckling 93 Points

I know it's December, but get the grill out for this big inky monster!  Only 23 cases, comes in wood cases....
Trivento Amado Sur Red 2014 Mendoza, Argentina $15
Vintage Closeout $9.99

What The Critics Thought: James Suckling 93 Points
A juicy and rich red with dark berry, chocolate and almond aromas and flavors. Full body, chewy tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Very salty on the finish. Impressive. A blend of 79% malbec, 11% bonarda and 10% syrah. Better in 2018.

What We Thought: This wine is inky-dark with aromas and flavors of super-ripe blackberry and plum fruit that frame an intense full-bodied palate that finishes with supple but dusty tannins.   
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As always, the Wine Guy Guarantee applies.  If you buy a case of wine and don't like it, just return the other bottles for an exchange or refund. 

The case discount is 10%. Case discounts do not apply to items with .99 sale price endings. However, sale wines do combine with other wines to make non sale wines eligible for case discounts.

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Issue 927 Vol. 18 No.
December 6, 2017
The Wine Guy @
The Grapevine Cottage

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Zionsville, Indiana 46077 (317) 733­-1010
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