There is a new angle taking shape in Stonewall, masterminded by Mitchell Sharrock, a specialist within the arena of food and wine. It is almost a geometric triangle in design finding balance between three lines: local pasture-to-plate ingredients, 100% Texas wines and final enrichment quality executed by family values surrounding the inner circle of two generations running the estate winery. That triangle seems to lean on each side in perfect harmony reflecting shape in equilibrium. The result is an enlightening new food and wine experience now in place within the grounds of Ab ASTRIS Winery.
The setting is quite intimate, giving guests a close, engaging connection with chef and sommelier Mitchell Sharrock, and it carries through each perfectly wine-paired dish. Limited to ten guests, the room offers a long farm table situated next to a private prep kitchen area so seasonally prepared plates are designed with precision, then guided with the keen food and wine wisdom of Mitchell. It’s five courses, individually plated and served per seating, using the sommelier inspired wines of Ab ASTRIS wines.
Cost is $70 per person to the public and $55 to wine club members and offered Fridays at 1 and 3 p.m. or Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
The overall food and wine program is impressive, but what resonated during my conversation with Mitchell is his unparalleled passion for creating balance, especially using the who’s who of local farmers and meat purveyors. A few of note include Hat & Heart Farm, Roam Ranch, Barton Springs Mills, The Salumaria and Force & Nature Meats.
Balance has always beenimportant to me. A wine without enough acid tastes flabby, one with too much is tart. Food without enough salt tastes bland, too much and it’s astringent. I approach my pairing, and really, my entire life with this balance.
– Mitchell Sharrock
“Balance has always been important to me. A wine without enough acid tastes flabby, one with too much is tart,”Sharrock said. “Food without enough salt tastes bland, too much and it’s astringent. I approach my pairing, and really, my entire life with this balance. I want our guests to experience balance in the food and with the wine.
“The menus I create are made with a balance of meat, vegetable, grains and sauces, because I believe, as consumers, we have a duty to be balanced with what we take,” he continued. “As someone who makes food for the public, I feel a responsibility to provide those I cook for with a meal that uses local products from companies who align with this ideal. If I can provide five courses made almost entirely with ingredients sourced sustainably, from my neighbors, that make the wines taste their best and leave people satisfied and ready to explore more, then I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do with this experience.”
Not to be overlooked is the quality of the wines. All wines are 100% Texas grown, 50% are estate grapes using hand-harvested grapes to compliment special blends or stand-alone estate wine. When sourcing vineyards they use highly sought after Narra, Newson and Redding grapes from the High Plains but do lean on some vineyards from Marble Falls and other locales in the Texas Hill Country.
Production is low at Ab Astris Winery and reflects its artisan nature. They are crafted by winemaker Mike Nelson, co-founder and husband to Kristen, the daughter of owners Erin and Tony Smith.
The estate vineyards, 12 acres planted in 2018-19, showcase high-quality red grapes of Tannat, Petite Sirah, Montepulciano and Souzau, but they also grow a refreshing Rhone white varietal, Cairette Blanche, crafted into a lovely Estate Pet Nat used as a starter for the food and wine experience.
Another noticeable quality of the estate is the family involvement at every level. When visiting, it’s quite common to be served by someone associated within the two generations of family members working on site. Unexpectedly, their careful family attention makes a warm Texas impression in a relaxed setting, all surrounded by nature and enhanced with exceptional wines.
Yet even with these assets they pushed even further and elevated the Hill Country with a unique food and wine private experience curated by Sharrock. I guess that’s why the name Ab ASTRIS, Latin for “From the Stars,” shines as a star within Stonewall and the Hill Country. Be sure to put them on your list to visit and more importantly. make it a point to take in Mitchell’s perfection of food and wine.