Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pinot Noir - 2010; Messina Hof Winery; Bryan, Texas

Yes, a fantastic Pinot made with grapes from Texas!  It can happen. Sourced from Merrill's Vineyard in the Texas High Plains, this rich and floral fragrant Pinot exemplifies what quality care and good grape selection can do. The color is well intact with little separation on the rim.  It's medium-bodied and you can taste the plums and cherries coming out more as the wine unfolds in the glass, waiting for you to take that next sip.  The wine is fairly oaky, but not over powering. The acids are pronounced in this one, but balanced and not overwhelming.  Definitely serve this one 10 degrees off room temperature for a pleasant tasting experience. Cheers!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Narrow Path Winery - Fredericksburg, Texas

What a pleasant and quaint little winery recently added to the shops along Main Street in Fredericksburg!  Whether you seek to visit one of the Hill Country's newest wineries or stop here to sit and sip some fine wine as a respite from strolling from shop to shop, this winery is for you.  The Turbeville family has been growing grapes in the Texas Hill Country for about 15 years.  They've also been making private wine for a number of years and have recently sought to expand into a commercial business to share their wines with everyone. On their one acre site, they grow Merlot and Pinot Grigio.  Their 2012 Merlot was their first outstanding award winning private wine which is no longer available. They are also in the process of establishing a vineyard out on highway 290. Tempranillo, Mourvedre and Viognier are what could be planted, plus or minus a few others.  Their winery went public about a year ago and they opened their wine shop back in November.  Now their dream of "vine-to-wine" has come true!  Singing Waters, McPherson, and Wedding Oak are helping them out with their initial wine productions.  The focus is on quality dry wines.  At their new tasting room, you'll get to try five wines.  The first two are whites with grapes sourced from the Lake County area of California.  The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is a nice crisp one and quite good on a warm December afternoon.  The 2014 Viognier has nice floral and fruit notes.  You'll be in for a real treat with the 2014 Rosé Sec.  Penny Adams from Wedding Oak helped make this one using Merlot and Pinot Grigio grapes from the Turbeville's one acre estate.  Yes Pinot Grigio in a Rosé!  It is quite refreshing and very pleasant on the palate.  The line-up in the reds category is three deep.  The 2014 Malbec was made with fruit sourced from Mendocino, California and has nice smoky and mocha notes with just a touch of earthiness.  The McPherson's from Lubbock helped make their 2013 Texas Select Red.  This Syrah blend is a Rhone style wine that's perfect for those Texas wild game dishes cooked with mesquite BBQ of course! Lastly, you'll enjoy their 2013 Syrah.  Another Lake County sourced wine, it's very well balanced, not acidic, and has a pleasant cocoa and peppery finish.  Upcoming future releases are another Syrah and if you can wait, a single varietal Merlot (eta 2017) from their estate as well as a single varietal Pinot Grigio.  The customer experience is what it's all about at this new winery and the staff is courteous, informative and very engaging. As word gets out, we're sure they'll outgrow their first tasting room shortly and we look forward to future releases.  So come soon and enjoy the experience knowing that you were there in the beginning when it all first started.  Cheers!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Carignan - 2012; Les Domaine de Virginie; Languedoc Roussillon, France

This "Very old vine" wine is a nice affordable treat. We're not sure exactly how "old" "very" means in this case, but it's somewhere between 50 to 100 years old depending on the source.  In any case, you'll enjoy and appreciate this one alone or paired with a nice meaty meal.  This deeply hued Carignan wine has rich flavors of mixed berries and a touch of vanilla. It's a bit acidic, but not astringent.  Along with some peppery notes, it is an overall smooth wine with a fairly light finish towards the end. This is a good find for under $10.  Savor it well!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Merlot – 2012; Kuhlman Cellars; Stonewall, Texas

And then there was Merlot!  Ah….this delightful wine must defiantly stand out as a favorite amongst the wine gods.  Why, you say?  Because it’s just that damn good! This is a very well balanced Merlot with a fresh chocolaty aroma on the nose that longs for you to linger in its bouquet. Before sipping, make sure you tilt the glass a bit and take notes at the wonderful violet hue. Nice, isn’t it? Now comes the best part, the sipping! Sip it once, sip it twice, and however many times as you like as we know you won’t be able to get enough of that black cherry note. You might also pick out some earthiness that’s just icing on the cake for the experience.  It has a slightly acidic finish along with some lovely peppery notes at the end. Overall, it’s a very nice dry red that makes quite a memorable drinking experience. This wine is definitely an example of how Merlot can stand out on its own as a top quality single varietal.  It still has a good tannin structure, so we see no issue in holding on to at least one bottle for 10 years.  In the meantime, keep enjoying your quality stash over the years.  Cheers everyone!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Super Texan Reserve - 2012; Flat Creek Estate; Marble Falls, Texas

Wine lovers....behold!  The premier Super Texan brand has arrived.  Selected from just 5% of barrels, only the best of the best have been put into this wine.  The varietal breakdown is 40% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Zinfandel, 6% Tempranillo.  And what a magnificent blend it is! The aromas and flavors just speak for themselves.  Inhale and enjoy the cherry and plum aromas that greet you. Intense blackberry flavors  dance across your palate promptly followed by a fine smoky finish in this dry red.  There's just of touch of earthiness to add to the sipping experience of this superbly complex wine. The medium tannins are well suited for a nice fatty Italian dish.  Yet, in all its greatness, this wine is only at the beginning of its maturity.  Buy many and enjoy over 10+ years.  You'll have a happy cellar and a guaranteed happy wine pairing experience for the next decade.  Enjoy well!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bent Oak Winery - Cedar Park, Texas

What a pleasure it was to enjoy the grand opening  day of this winery on October 10!  It's great to be able to capture that first day's energy and enthusiasm from the staff.  Winemaker, John Catalano, is very knowledgeable about grapes and winemaking.  He has 15 years of wine making experience under his belt.  In just a few short moments after talking with him, it doesn't take long to see his enthusiasm and passion for what he is doing.  John also started out planting vines in his own backyard.  On the wall of the tasting room, you can see cuttings of Syrah vines that lasted about six seasons.  They add nice decor to the tasting area.  Currently, he now has a couple of rows of Tempranillo that he's nurturing in his backyard.  At the winery, grapes are sourced from both California and Texas with a focus on small batch wine production in house.  For opening day, there were four wines available for tasting.  There are nicely written notes about each wine on 8 x 11 cards for you to reference during your tasting session.  The first white was a 2014 Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley.  It's very crisp with notes of citrus - an excellent chilled wine!  The other white is a 2015 Blanc du Bois.  Sourced from Palacios Vineyards near Brenham, Texas, this dry Blanc du Bois will make you love this often over looked varietal.  Aging this wine in both stainless steel and American Oak has given this floral wine the best of both worlds.  You'll love the apricot and vanilla notes in the Blanc du Bois as well.  For the reds, there is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma, which is a nice light, easy drinking cabernet that most would enjoy.  The other red is a Zinfandel with 15% Petite Sirah added, which is also from Sonoma. The addition of the Petite Sirah gives what would have been a mild Zinfandel a little extra boldness.  It's still smooth and easy to drink.  In the winery, John has a bin of Tempranillo and Sangiovese from the Texas High Plains that he's currently fermenting.  We were able to barrel taste some 2015 Merlot sourced from East Texas.  Although it's early, that Merlot  really holds promise for good flavors and aromas. It's good to see a winery return to Cedar Park after a long dry spell.  Area wine lovers should be pleased to have one close by to get a good winery fix!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Chardonnay -2008; Cakebread Cellars; Rutherford, California

Sometimes you come across a nice surprise in the wine cellar...something you don't recall buying and cannot recall where you got it from or when. As you study the label and try to contemplate how the wine fairy dropped it off, you get excited about what lies in store for the tasting adventure.  Well, we’ll take those pleasant treats however they come! When we poured the first glass of this aged white wine, we noted the depth of its yellow color, which was exciting! Inhaling the aroma we noted lemon and pear. On the palate an elegant medley of melon and apple delight the taste buds. There is a light oakiness with just a hint of vanilla. It’s a nicely crisp chardonnay when chilled that tapers off with some acidity on the finish. Enjoy this lovely wine all on its own or pair with vegetable,  shellfish, or poultry dishes. Relish it if you can find this vintage. Until the next surprise wine find…