Friday, May 17, 2013
This sweet cabernet packs quite a strong punch to the nose at first. It has ruby red color with cloudy opaque textures. It’s not as sweet as you may think, perhaps due in part to the particular age of this bottle, yet it bursts forward with full, berry fruit flavors from the onset. There is a tannin presence to the initial taste however it does not linger very long. Notes of cherry linger on the tongue. After a few more sips, you will begin to notice that the vines for this wine may have initially been a bit young. Aging as helped overcome its relative young introduction. The alcohol content is at 15%, but not to the point that it would taste like a strong well fortified port style wine. Do let it breathe naturally before sipping. Using an aerator will just not suffice. Try it chilled and compare notes from the first sipping session. We found the wine to be even better served chilled. You might be surprised what you’ll discover!
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
A warm welcome to one of the newest Texas Hill Country wineries! Located where it can sometimes be considered the “edge” of the Hill Country, this small family run winery has been in business just over a year (Nov 2011), but is quickly making a name for itself as a winery destination along I-10. Founders, Jeanie Brosius and Joe King, have had their long vision of making wines come true. Don Pullum has helped out as their wine maker. Many of you may recognize him as the wine maker from Sandstone cellars. The winery released their first vintages in 2010 and they also have 2011’s currently available. The one white, 2010 Bland du Bois, is a semi-sweet wine suitable for an afternoon treat. The three 2010 reds, Malbec, Lenoir (aka Black Spanish), and Petite Sirah represent a diverse palate of bold reds. They all demonstrate the desire for the winery to provide an interesting array of options for customers to enjoy. The current 2011s (all red) are Ruby Cabernet (medal winner), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (medal winner), and Sangiovese. Most Texas wine drinkers know that the 2011s are a good year for quality grapes due to the drought, yet lean on the volume that could be harvested that year. The first two cabs are deep reds with strong finishes. The Cabernet Franc is well balanced with little tannins. The Sangiovese has a deep purple color and is soft, yet full bodied. The tasting room is expertly arranged for you to come, sit a while, and enjoy the wines and hopefully try something from their Bistro as well, where things are made onsite for your dining pleasure. Come hungry and thirsty and you will be taken care of and treated well! The inside décor of their tasting room has a Tuscan feel, and is quit spacious with high ceilings. There is a window through which you can observe their wine making area. We’re not sure if they are the first, but definitely the most notable when it comes to a sustainable winery. The building is equipped with rain barrels, solar panels, insulated panels, and wind generators. Perhaps a “green” wine should be made! This might be a long travel for most, but it is well worth the visit. The hosts are most hospitable and very happy to chat and visit with you about their wines and offer suggestions on Bistro items that might pair nicely with your selections. Come on out, bring some friends, sit a while and enjoy!
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Haven’t heard of Ancellotta wine before? Then you will be pleasantly surprised. This strong fruit forward aromatic red wine from Brazil pairs well with hearty meat dishes. It is well balanced with a medium finish. There is some earthiness to the taste, yet the tannins aren’t overpowering. Little oak is noticeable in this well aged wine. The grapes remind you of Cabernet Sauvignon, and impart a nice rich depth. Hold up a glass to the light and you’ll notice its unique and intense red coloring. Cabernet Sauvignon wine lovers would be pleased with this wine as with most hard-core red wine drinkers. The beauty of this wine is that it hits the sweet spot for most red wine drinkers, as this is not too oaky or tannic, not acidic, not too dry and has a great depth to the fruit flavor. It’s a real winner and we highly recommend you seek this one out to try and put in your cellar. Why have another Cabernet Sauvignon, if you can try something new?
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Founded 2004, proprietors Scott Haupert and Manny Silerio have established a great wine jewel in this small hill country town. They source grapes only from the vineyards of Mason County, so you’re getting some local wine, in the truest sense of the “buy local” movement. The ~1600 feet elevation out there makes for a great cool night environment for the vines. Don Pullum is the wine magician that turns these grapes into great tasting Texas wines. There are no whites in the tasting selection, but seriously….we drove all the way out here for their famous reds! Where to start and where to end is hard, because they are all so good. You should definitely try the Touriga blend – bold, full bodied and dry, but not overwhelming on the tannins. The Zinfandel blend is a lighter red with a nice garnet color. The Syrah blend is simply wonderful and will surely make all Syrah wine lovers smile with joy! One of the more unique and odd wines is their Cider Dessert wine or “apple-cider-port” wine, as they refer to it. This unique addition to the lineup was due in part to the severe Texas drought of 2011. With fewer local grapes available that year, the idea came to try something completely new, using a different Texas fruit. Sourced from apples in the Texas Panhandle, it is quite smooth and sweet, and would compliment your apple pie dessert or make a lovely cooking wine. The two port style wines available, Touriga and Touriga/Mourvedre blends are lovely sweet red dessert wines. They impart flavors from their dry wine cousins plus the “punch” you get with a well fortified port. The winery also offers many other Texas wines for sale. The proprietors choose to focus on Texas art in the form of wine and paintings, pottery, sculpture and jewelry by featured artist Bill Worrell, making this an interesting gem in Mason worth checking out. Mr. Worrell’s work is featured on many of their wine labels, too. Next door is a wine bar that was opened for visitors who wish to rest a while and stick around to enjoy the wine and atmosphere while visiting. The wine bar is located in the second oldest building of Mason. On the other side of the winery, is the town’s famous Santos Taqueria restaurant, founded prior to the winery. Do try! Scott also chatted with us about more wineries opening up in the Mason area. These additional wineries will surely draw an ever increasing mass of oenophiles to the area. We look forward to more great wine visits to Mason in the future and additional updates on how the region progresses and grows. Did we mention that we have a 2005 Sandstone Cellars red in our wine library? We got that one from our “early” wine traveling days. We’ll save that one for a special edition posting
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
This red Italian style sparkling wine is a pretty good sparkler with a nice sweet taste. It has a very distinct ruby color and aromas of blackberries and cherries. It is quite refreshing and crisp with a good amount of sweetness. Overall, it is well balanced and comes across with a clean finish. The wine is well worth while beyond the inexpensive price point. Impress your friends who are new to sparkling wines. It’s a good start when trying out the sparkling wine category. Cheers!
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Located down the road from Washington-on-the-Brazos is a small boutique winery worthy of a stop on your next Brenham trip. Owners August and Linda Meitzen planted their first vines back in 2000. Brother Dave has his hands in things, as well. The winery opened in 2005 and has been serving Texas grape varietals ever since. The tasting room is quite spacious, with ample indoor seating with tables and chairs. There is also a nice deck out back where you can enjoy live music as you relax sipping a glass of your favorite Windy Hill wine. The hosts are hospitable and make you feel very welcome. We visited this place back in 2007 during the unofficial blogging days. It was nice to return after 6 years and see all the changes that have occurred. The red and white wines made here, such as the Chardonnay, Cabernet, Syrah, and Tempranillos, had their grapes sourced near Lodi, California. The “good stuff” is grown locally. Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish varietals are grown on the estate. The Yellow Rose is a semi sweet Blanc du Bois that is quite wonderful and robust. It is not syrupy sweet or tart. The bouquet has subtle notes of citrus and nectarine. For a good sweet red Muscadine try Dave’s Sweet Red wine. We were pleasantly surprised by the great tasting Blanc du Bois sparkling wine. That wine would make a great Texas style “champagne” toast. There is also a Muscadine sparkling wine call Bubbly Daves that’s likewise fun to sip. We look forward to the near future release of the Lady Lavender wine – a white wine infused with lavender. For the sweet wine lovers of native grapes, this place is for you! Get out and enjoy the bluebonnets and lovely wildflowers painting the spring landscape a multicolored rainbow and make your way over to the winery. Enjoy the fruits of the vine as you relax and remember how nice it feels to enjoy the warmer temperatures again. Cheers!
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This sweet and fruity wine is quite potent. There are many strong ripe, bright fruit flavors within this wine. We experienced notes of strawberry, kiwi, and raspberry. Our bottle appeared to have undergone a secondary fermentation as it is quite effervescent, making the experience a little different than anticipated. Maybe that was intentional or maybe the wine just sat in our cellar longer than it should. The bubbly nature however, did not really distract and the wine was still quite nice. This makes a lovely after dinner drink, and a great harbinger of spring with the bright fruity flavors and lovely pink shade.