Solaro Estate – A Fascinating Visit

When we dropped in at Solaro Estate Vineyard and Winery, we didn”t expect to see very many people there; It was rainy and chilly, and their parking lot was mud. The tasting room is situated with a drop-off spot, but no parking places close enough to avoid getting drenched if it”s raining hard at all. I dropped Julie off in the least muddy spot I could find close to the entrance then drove to the parking lot.  This isn”t a complaint; it”s a preface.

Solaro”s tasting room was hopping. When I walked in the door, Julie was already chatting with the owner, Barbara Haderlein, who started pouring tastings for us right away. Continue reading

Westcave Cellars Winery – A Jewel in the Hill Country

When I talk about the market for Texas wines, I divide the potential customers into three categories: The Connoisseurs, The Texas-buying California wine drinker, and the Barbecue bunch. An evening with Allan and Margaret Fetty at their Westcave Cellars Winery tasting room proved me, once again, wrong. They are cultivating, successfully in my opinion, the “local” customer – those people who have fallen in love with the wines they produce and join their wine club as loyal customers… and friends. (I keep bringing the friendship aspect of Texas wine up, don”t I?)

When we arrived at the tasting room, they weren”t very busy, so Margaret was able to spend a little bit of time serving us their whites, starting with their semi-sweet 2010 Muscat Blanc. Most wineries start off their tastings with their bone-dry white wines, then dry reds or semi-sweet whites. Margaret told us later in the evening that she likes to serve a star wine first, and she makes really good sense. The Muscat Blanc was more than refreshing. With just the right amount of citrus and sweet, it had me thinking about sunny days on our deck (the one to be built, of course). Continue reading

Rosemary’s Vineyard & Winery – Out of the Way on the Main Drag

Julie and I had passed Rosemary’s Vineyard & Winery many times on our road trips to the Hill Country of Texas and said as many times to each other that we should stop there some day. Today was that day…

We were on a mission to visit a brand-spanking-new winery in the 290 / Fredericksburg area, but were notified that they would be out of pocket all day, so we had the option to head back home or come up with a new plan. OK, that sounds strange, the word “plan”.  Continue reading

William Chris Vineyards – Experiencing "Hye Society"

I blogged just a little about our Sunday trip to William Chris Vineyards for the Malbec release party and Planting show-and-tell. We really went for the “plantlings” that we were going to get since we”re not pleased with the selection at Home Depot. Not that it matters much because I”m quite confident in my ability to torture a plant from a commercial grower as much as a retail nursery. Continue reading

Too Passionate About Texas Wine?

I think a lot about the Texas wine industry, though probably not nearly as much as each winemaker in the state; however, when I get a chance to share a few glasses of wine and spend more than just a few minutes with just about anyone associated with the industry I wax pretty eloquent about the subject.

Usually, at some point in the conversation I acknowlege that my experience with and knowledge of all things wine is extremely limited and that I won’t get offended if they call BS on me or tell me that I’m wrong or short-sighted or simply ignorant of the facts. I don’t get called out very much – in fact I don’t remember ever being corrected on anything but minor facts; nevertheless, I “know what I don’t know”, and that’s a lot, I readily admit. Continue reading

William Chris Vineyards – Malbec Release and Grape Vine Planting

We had a choice of destinations today: We received our invitation to the Messina Hof VIP Reception and notice that William Chris Vineyards would be doing a short Grape Vine Planting gathering including a shoot to take home and get us hooked on grape growing – or give us a minute taste of the grape-grower”s pain. Continue reading

Duchman Family Winery – Introducing the 2011 Edition Whites

We almost didn”t go to the Houston release party for the Duchman Family WInery 2011 White Wines. I sidetracked our departure from home with a quick duckling-rescue-op, much to the surprise and delight of my favorite crazy duck lady; and when we had the ducklings and their momma out of harm”s way it looked like we would be too late to participate. Nevertheless, we decided to get to Memorial Wine Cellar as quickly as Wanda and the law would allow and take our chances.

Boy are we glad we didn”t give up because the evening was delightful, informative, and downright fun. Continue reading

On the Road Again – Chisholm Trail Winery

Our first road trip of the year started like most of our road trips: on a whim. Our destinations are usually selected the same way, and Chisholm Trail Winery was no exception.

We didn’t know that this weekend was Port ‘N Pairing weekend for the Fredericksburg – 290 Wine Trail until we had already started driving, while sitting in line at Starbucks. Julie looked at the posted pairings and out of the wineries we haven’t visited yet, she picked the dessert pairing that sounded the best. Chisholm Trail listed a burbon-orange pecan pie with their Lenoir port. Almagres. Continue reading

One the Road Again – William Chris Vineyards

“I WANNA ROAD TRIP. Haven’t visited a winery in FOR-EV-ER, and “3 MORE WEEKS” just seems so far away.

Wanna pack the gear, feed the ducks, drive through Starbuckies for breakfast, and find a road we haven’t worn out.

I love Pearland, but if I drive around it or south/southeast Houston waiting for “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” another week, I will go nucking futs.

So there.”

I set that as my Facebook status last Friday…

It has been so long since we picked a winery (or not) and just hit the road that I was starting to go stir crazy. Frankly I don’t know how Julie puts up with me. Continue reading