As part of Downtown Sherman NOW’s annual Wine Stroll, Fulbelli’s Restaurant owners Heather and T.J. LaRosa served event goers with a sampling of internationally-sourced wines and gourmet comfort foods this year.

Fulbelli’s has offered Sherman diners elevated American fare for more than seven years. Its most popular dishes include crab cakes, blackened redfish and carrot cake, but specialty offerings range from craft cocktails and an extensive wine list to locally-raised, pasture-fed beef.

The establishment joined Downtown Sherman NOW’s Wine Stroll four years ago to offer event goers a unique food and drink experience. Now in it’s eighth year, the wine stroll is typically held over two nights. The first evening welcomes VIP ticket holders for hors d’oeuvres, dinner and beverages, while the second night is all about the stroll, with a walking tour of downtown businesses and pairings of Texas wines and tastes from local restaurants.

Heather LaRosa says this year’s VIP reception took guests all over the map with familiar foods from home and wines hailing from all over the world. Here are some very tasty highlights from the October 5th VIP night:

1. Tomato Basil Soup Shooter & Adult Grilled Cheese
“This is an upgraded version of your classic comfort food pairing,” LaRosa says. “The grilled cheese is served with sautéed onions, melted Gruyere cheese and aged, rugged cheddar.”

2. Meatloaf Crostini
Served with caramelized onion Worcestershire-cream sauce.

3. Fried Chicken Slider
“We dredged bite-sized pieces of chicken overnight in buttermilk, marinated them and flash fried them,” LaRosa says. “It’s also served with a roasted tomato and bacon jam and house-made pickles.”

4. Chocolate-cupped Tiramisu
Garnished with chocolate shavings.

5. Cream Puffs
“We went with two varieties of cream puffs: one served with chocolate, caramel and nuts and the other with a little drizzle of orange marmalade and chocolate,” says LaRosa. “A sweet little bite is the perfect way to end the evening.”

6. Wagner Family’s “Red Schooner, Voyage 7”
This Malbec is made from grapes grown in the Andes Mountains of Argentina. The source fruit is chilled, sailed to the U.S. and processed in Napa, where Wagner Family winemakers follow in the Caymus style to produce a bold wine with flavors of French oak and soft tannis and scents of ripe plums and cherries.

“It produces this really big, bold, juicy and fruit-forward Malbec,” says LaRosa. “The other thing that’s neat about this wine is that while most others will have a vintage on them to indicate when the grapes were grown, this one is actually given a voyage number. It’s a unique wine that very few people seem to know, but it’s just fantastic.”

7. 2018 Bodega Hiruzta Rose
Spain’s Getariako Txakolina region is home to the one and only Hondarabi grape. This grape is grown no where else in the world and comes in both a red variety and white variety, but the Hiruzta Rose brings them both together. Aromas are reminiscent of strawberries, blackberries and black currants. Notes include a citrus-rich background and those lucky enough to sip it will enjoy a long, fragrant finish.

“It’s very bright but crisp, and has a nice level of acidity,” LaRosa says. “It will go well in any pairing with seafood or rugged, salty cheese. It’s a really neat wine.”

8. 2018 Fowles Wine “Farm to Table”
When Sauvignon Blancs hail from down under, they typically come from New Zealand and offer an explosion of grapefruit flavor. But Farm to Table is made in Victoria, Australia and offers a more balanced flavor.

“You have the nice citrus notes in it, but it’s overwhelming in any one variety,” says La Rosa. “This wine is very pale straw in color with a slight tinge of green. Aromas of tropical fruit salad shine through with highlights of kiwi fruit and paw paw. A lovely spectrum of tropical and passionfruit flavors announce themselves on the palate with a fresh and clean finish.”