100% On Location: Husk
Husk is one of those places that needs little introduction at this point. The restaurant is only in its fourth year but feels like it's weathered phases of Nashville that long pre-date its arrival. Perhaps it's because chef Sean Brock's menu is an ever-changing, historically accurate and seasonally appropriate homage to all types of southern cooking, both modern and antique. Humble southern staples like grits and simple vegetables get the prestige they've always deserved, while the dining experience feels genuine and generous.
From southern-born sodas to inventive cocktails, the beverage book is as fun to read as the menu. Brock may have a penchant for rare whiskeys, but wine is food, and sommelier Nicolette Anctil gives the wine list the same detailed attention to history as the menu receives.
"The wines we feature are truly an expression of the winery and the terrior, they need to be food friendly and gentle to the earth," she says. "Our food is fatty, pickled and fermented with bold flavors, the wines need to show great acidity and texture. Minerality is key, the wine should have a story, Husk is all about the story whether it's from Sean's experiences down to the farmers that grow the grapes."
Much to my delight, the wines are arranged by soil type, a clever way to acknowledge the connection wine has to antiquity. Whether pure chalky limestone or slushy loess, the terra firma contains not just the vines but also the vast geological history of that particular spot on Earth.
Martin and Anna Arndorfer make wine in a very particular spot of Austria called Kamptal, where the soils make a motley mix of terroirs suited to different grapes: Riesling in the higher and steeper slopes made of desert sandstone and volcanic particles, Grüner Veltliner in the the clay and gravel found closer to the Danube river. Both coming from respected winemaking families, the duo are a veritable power couple of Austrian winemaking prowess.
Their Vorgeschmack White is a blend of 80% Grüner Veltliner and 20% Riesling. It's a lively and sporty wine full of golden tree fruit and flower notes, a clean and clear introduction to their particular style and particular corner of Kamptal called Strass. The name also translates to "appetizer" in German, and though it did go wonderfully with the surprise Pimento Cheese that made it to my table, it was also a superstar with my lunch choice, the Shrimp and Grits. I really appreciate that Husk is the type of place that offers a high-quality white wine, but also a Cheerwine if I'm so inclined.