Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Strawberry-Riesling – NV; Winery on the Gruene; Gruene, Texas

This off-dry white wine has a good mix of traditional Riesling flavors meshed with luscious strawberries.  Not your every day Riesling, but definitely something special for summer to enjoy chilled. The crisp ripe berry flavor is pleasantly coupled with pear-like aromas. You’ll be impressed with this one and wish you would have bought a few bottles.  Pair with some fresh fruit or ice cream and you’ll really enjoy it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Red Wing Dove Vineyard and Winery – Hamilton, Texas

Owners Ellis & Susan Vandiver have staked out a seven acre plot of vines in this part of the Texas countryside.  Growing on their seven year old vineyard are Pinot Gris, Tempranillo, Shiraz, Viognier, and Pinot Blanc.  Rows are oriented north/south.  They opened up the winery a year ago and are now serving up their own version of some tasty Texas wines.  Current wines available for tasting from their 2012 harvest include: off-dry White Dove (Pinot Gris/Blanc blend), Pinot Gris, Tempranillo, Rosé Shiraz (great chilled) and a bold tasting Shiraz. The Shiraz grapes were aged in American oak and another release (aged two years) will be coming out in the future. Like most Texas vineyards, they experienced their share of loss from the late freeze of 2013.  California grapes helped supplement their 2013 release.  Their newest releases this year include: a very nice Viognier with good minerality, Honeysuckle (Sweet Pinot Gris with some apple notes), Judy (Sweet Blush of 90% Pinot Gris and 10% Tempranillo), T’Rose (nice dry Tempranillo Rosé with beautiful strawberry notes), and Sweet Red Pepper (50/50 blend of Ruby Cabernet and Tempranillo).  Come on out this way sometime and enjoy the company and views.  It’s a relaxing setting to help compliment the good wine in your hand. The winery is gearing up to celebrate their first year anniversary of their tasting room as well, so stop in and wish them well, stay a while, and sip a spell! You'll be glad you did. Cheers!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

3 Blend - 2000; Sister Creek Vineyards; Sisterdale, Texas

This nice red bordeaux meritage style wine is a mix of  Cabernet Sauvignon (68%), Merlot (18%), and Petite Sirah (14%).  It has retained its color pretty well over the last 14 years as well as a good bouquet.    The cork did crumble after opening, but still tasted good.  Flavors of toasted blackberry and cherry were still present.  There was some slight acidity to the taste and the characteristics were slightly diminished due to the age. Ideally, this bottle should have been enjoyed a few years earlier. However, we are happy to report it had not turned to vinegar and it was drinkable with a nice fatty meal to balance the deep flavors and acidity.  It was definitely on the downhill slide though and it would have been nice to enjoy this when it was at its peak. So friends, the take away here is don’t wait too long to drink a bottle of wine, even if you have it stored safely in the cellar as there are optimal timeframes in which to fully enjoy all that the lovely bottle has to offer.  We still enjoyed it and give many thanks to this lucky wine bottle we found in the back of the cellar!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Scissortail – 2007; Alamosa Winery; Bend, Texas

This is Alamosa’s take on Rhone-style white blends.  Made from Marsanne (55%), Roussane (32%), and Viognier (13%), it has a strong backbone of minerality, good character, nice golden color, and finishes quite crisp.  You’ll notice some light floral notes to the bouquet and buttery notes as well as the wine unfolds across your palate. It initially presents a more acidic side, which gradually mellows with some of the buttery notes, but still quite tasty and pleasant.  Chill this very nice white wine and enjoy with fresh  salads, a big orange, vegetables, chicken and fish dishes.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Beerded One - NV; Dancing Bee Winery; Rogers, Texas

Well, you certainly don't see a mead like this one every day.  Take some honey, add some hops, let mother nature do its fermentation and ....viola! You get a Mead like you've never tasted before.  You actually get a nice Metheglin.  And yes, it does have a beer taste to it, but a very stout style mead might be the best way to describe it. This also has nice citrus notes blending well with the overall taste. Made from buckwheat and clover honey, this is a wine that any hard core sports fan could drink and enjoy alongside their beer.  Goes good with pretzels, too! :) The guys might be surprised if you want to serve this one with your hamburgers or at the next game night, but it's worth surprising folks and seeing how much they like the beer notes and flavor. You might just have a new item to add to your party shopping list and it is good served both chilled or room temperature. 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Hawk Shadow Estate Winery – Dripping Springs, Texas

Just north of Dripping Springs, but south of the Pedernales River are some spectacular Texas Hill Country views.  What a perfect place to establish a vineyard and winery!  This all family run business has done just that.  Owners Doug Reed, Tom Reed, and Chip Concklin opened up their tasting room in February 2014 and are serving some great tasting Texas wines along with generous Texas hospitality.  Tim Drake from Flat Creek has assisted with some consulting, as well.  They currently have seven acres planted on the estate with one area on its fourth leaf and the other on its ninth.  Varietals include:  Grenache, Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo,and Aglianico.  The vines look quite healthy and cared for.  As we all know, great wine starts with great grapes. Most of what is currently available for tasting has been sourced from the Texas High Plains while the estate vineyard has been maturing.  There are three whites for tasting, but by no means are these your traditional white wines.  As the owners will tell you, they make and serve “red style white wine for red wine drinkers”.  The 2011 Orange Muscat is dry with some tawny toasted notes, making it quite unique compared to other Orange Muscats in the state as this one is dry without the sweet side that traditionally is used for this varietal. The 2012 version (same vineyard, different year) labeled, Big O, has a bit more alcohol, but also tastes just as good yet completely different from the 2011.  Who thought that dry Orange Muscats could taste this good without being sweet, but the owners have done a fine job on those two.  The barrel fermented and unfiltered Chenin Blanc will initially present the buttery notes with a lovely smoothness then finishes off as citrusy.  The Texas Gal, a blend of Chenin Blanc and Muscat Canelli, has a hint of sweetness but not too much. For the reds, the 2012 Tres Robles is a blend of 78% Mourvedre and the rest comprised of Malbec and Syrah.  It's light oak notes compliment the very strong strawberry, pomegranate and rhubarb aromas on the nose. Their local estate produced 2011 HSV is sold out but not to worry!  A new vintage is already bottled and should be released by Fall 2014.  You’ll also be in for a treat with their Wild Child 2.  It has a nice smokiness yet remains quite smooth.  They also have a Tempranillo barrel aged in Hungarian oak for twenty months….expect this one to be superb.  Twenty months is a good bench mark for the winemaker.  After all, quality cannot be rushed.  Also in the works is a Syrah that is quite herbaceous.  It, too, will be great on its own or as a complimentary blend in the future.  When we visited, they were just about ready to harvest in the next day or two as the sugar was looking good on the fruit.  We sampled some of their yet to be harvested Tempranillio grapes and they had wonderful flavors and characters for this yet to be aged juice.  You could tell that the 2014 Tempranillo is going to be great tasting wine and a keeper for the cellar!  We really enjoyed our initial visit to this up and coming rising star for Texas Hill Country Wineries.  The owners and staff (family members) are extremely friendly, make you feel comfortable and at home, and are very happy to visit with you about what is going on at the winery. Hopefully, their future crops will be fruitful and their cases will multiply!  We are definitely going back to check in and see how things progress and pick up some of the new releases. Cheers and Welcome to the Texas Hill Country Winery industry Hawk Shadow!!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Riesling - 2005; Amwell Valley Vineyard; Ringoes, New Jesery

This is a very nice, smooth drinking Riesling.  The eye-catching golden buttery color has blessed this well aged white wine.  The deep color (a sign of its age) only makes the tasting experience that much better.  It is semi-sweet and well balanced on the palate.  You'll detect notes of apple and apricots that compliment the overall flavor without overwhelming it.  We had opened a previous bottle back in 2008.  This second bottle was one of those tucked away bottles that every collector will stumble upon every now and them.  We were delighted to find that the wine certainly hadn't lost it's wonderful characteristics or lovely taste with age.  Take care of your cellar and your cellar will take care of your wine. This one was a delight to sip and savor and enjoy with a meal, though it is equally delicious on its own. Well worth the trip and each sip!