In May of 2011 I wrote about the most incredible Texas wine I had tasted, the Bending Branch 2009 Texas Tannat. In that article I told the story about my first introduction to Tannat, Bending Branch, and John Rivenburgh with the words, “This is the grape that’s going to make Texas,” at the Hill Country Roadshow. I also did a “live tasting”, by blogging about the wine as I tasted it straight from the bottle, and after opening up.
Every winery has its own personality. I know, I stated an obvious fact to anyone who has visited more than one winery in Texas, but it’s one thing I want to highlight in this article. Since Julie and I tend to spend hours at most wineries we visit, we are able to pick up on a winery’s personality while we interact with the owners, winemakers, winery staff, and by watching the people who “hang around”.
A winery’s personality is very important if the owners want to “grow” their wine club – an important part of a solid long-term winery growth and stabilization plan – because the personality of the winery along with the consistent quality of their wines become the primary attractors. I don’t place as much importance on location because it serves more as an initial entry or barrier than it does on long-term club membership. Continue reading
Julie and I headed to Fredericksburg early this weekend with Mandy, our middle daughter. Julie and Mandy were on a mission to get Hill Country winery Christmas ornaments, and I played chauffeur.
We stopped at Hilmy Cellars on our way in because we haven’t had a chance to spend time with Erik and Neldie since they opened in March. Of course my decision to stop in was spur of the moment, so we had no idea whether they would be at the winery and/or available; however, we love the whole crew at Hilmy, so we were guaranteed a good visit. Continue reading
I have been hearing that the 2011 wines will be stunning because of the drought we had in Texas, but I expected that we would have to Wait until 2013 to find an array of Texas Red Wines made from those grapes. My first taste of ’11 wine was from Saddlehorn Winery – a delicious dry Black Spanish wine unlike ANY I have tasted before. It was smooth and smoky and a wine l could share with anyone. Continue reading
This was our first year to attend the Fredericksburg Food and Wine Fest, so Julie and I didn’t know what to expect from the various events at and around the festival. When we pored over the event list for the festival itself, we decided to check out the Friday evening Celebration of Food and Wine at The Herb Garden and the Patron’s Brunch on Saturday morning. The festival also offered a “Vintner’s Experience” Saturday afternoon during the festival hours that we bypassed – we had a full-enough schedule already! Continue reading
Julie and I bumped into Don Pullum this evening after the last session today at TEXSOM and were invited to meet with Carl Money, the owner of Pontotoc Vineyard – who we mentioned in the May article about the new wine trail being kicked off this October. We had been eager to meet Carl, and when Don mentioned that we would also have the opportunity to get an early taste of the 2011 Tempranillo that will be debuted tomorrow at the Grand Tasting, our eagerness elevated to excitement. We barrel-tasted the Tempranillo when we visited Pontotoc last May, and it was already aging quite well. Continue reading
Amazingly enough, this road trip was not my idea. Julie had noticed that the Bluebonnet Trail wineries were hosting a wine pairing weekend and giving away wineglass charms at each winery, and also noticed that there are two wineries on the trail that we haven’t visited, so we could kill two birds with one stone.
Our first stop: Retreat Hill Cellars. Julie and I have been here a couple of times before, but had missed being able to taste the popular 1836 Riesling. We soon found out why they sell out so quickly (review and visual tasting to come) and were able to grab two of the last three bottles in stock. I also tasted the Alamo Red, a blend of Texas grapes. Continue reading
I decided to try a Visual Tasting of a white wine tonight just to see what it looks like. Which white to taste wasn’t a difficult decision either: Alamosa 2010 Tio Pancho Ranch Viognier. To date this is still my favorite Viognier- one that I can pour, sit, sip, and savor. Most other viogniers that I have tasted scream to be paired with food, but Jim Johnson’s very-lightly-oaked-wine stands perfectly well alone and on its own merit. Continue reading
I think Jim Johnson must like “sleepers”.
When we visited Alamosa Wine Cellars in Bend, Texas – that was before they had the tasting room in Lampasas, I was completely fascinated with his still-in-the-barrel Viognier, but not overly impressed with the red wines we tasted. I bought a few bottles of the 2006 Texacaia because it was interesting, but completely “didn’t get” the Palette.
Several months later, Julie and I had the opportunity to share a meal with Jim and he opened a bottle of Palette for us saying, “This is a SERIOUS wine.” As the meal progressed, that bottle continued to open, and when I sampled the remainder of the bottle that he sent home with us the following day, it had REALLY OPENED UP and was some of the best wine I have ever tasted.
A couple of days ago I pulled one of the bottles of Texacaia and decided to see if it, like the Palette, was a “sleeper”. Continue reading
We haven’t been able to travel much lately, but with the cellar set up and my wine collection on a roll, I think it’s time to review many of the incredible varieties and blends that we have acquired on our past winery visits. One of my favorite weekend trips was spent with Don Pullum visiting wineries in Mason, Pontotoc, and Junction; and savoring the many wines that he has crafted for them, so tonight I decided to open a bottle of Sandstone Cellars 2006 “IV”, a Port-style blend of Touriga,Tempranillo, Barbera, and Viognier. Continue reading