Friday, February 24, 2017

Sweet Elisa – NV; Sarah’s Vineyard; Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

This blend of Niagara and Concord grapes has a well-balanced sweet flavor that’s not overpowering.  It has pleasant fragrances and a touch of effervesces to add to its sparkling color.  Surprisingly, it has some strawberry notes along with the cherry flavors to add a bit of a twist.  Sweet red wine lovers will enjoy this one for those cozy mild nights!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

TX-3 – NV; Locations Wine; Texas

This Texas Locations wine series is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan and a mix of other Bordeaux reds with some Petite Sirah.  McPherson Cellars from Lubbock had a hand in crafting this wine.  Letting this wine sit for about 45 minutes really allows it to reveal the best qualities of this wine.  The deep purple-red color holds up well with little variation.  You will initially pick up notes of raspberries, plums, and some cranberries.  There is some pepperiness to it, but it is a smooth drinking red.  This medium bodied wine is a good well rounded representation of Texas High Plains wines and offers a glimpse to the rest of the country and world of what Texas wines are all about.  Cheers!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Newsom Vineyards at Comfort – Comfort, Texas

Just about every serious Texas wine drinker is probably familiar with Newsom Vineyards.  Established in 1986, the vineyard has over 100 acres of vines in the Texas High Plains, one of the premier grape growing regions.  There are many wineries that source their grapes there and every time you see “Newsom Vineyards” on a label as the source of the grapes, the expectations will typically rise.  Neal and Janice Newsom’s son, Nolan, has taken on the venture of opening a tasting room in Comfort along with the help of his wife, Mei.  They just opened this November. The house they have renovated for the tasting room used to be the tasting room of the former Comfort Cellars, however they have preserved this piece of history by retaining that old wineries sign inside the tasting room just above the entrance. Much of the renovation inside the tasting room involved repurposing the walls and floors back to their original wood which really looks terrific for a home originally built over 100 years ago. At the tasting bar, there are currently four wines available. Since the Newsoms have a long established working relationship with many different wineries, they have worked with different winemakers to help make their initial wine releases.  This helps exemplify their fruit and the character of each winemaker’s techniques.  Driftwood, Bending Branch, Calais Winery, Lewis Wines, Llano Estacado, Pedernales Cellars, and Flat Creek Estate are all lending their wine making skills for the initial wine releases.  The first wine to taste is a dry Orange Muscat (2015).   The citrus and honeysuckle notes might throw you off at first and make you expect a sweet wine, but it actually comes across has quite smooth and refreshing as it is dry.  The 2015 Pinot Grigio is herbal with a tad bit of acidity.  For the reds, the 2014 LaVerne’s Merlot, has fruit sourced from some of the oldest Merlot vines on the vineyard lot (1993).  The garnet colored wine has notes of plums, berries, and pepper.  Letting this bottle sit for another year or two will only improve its character.  The other red is Inception and is a Tempranillo (58%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (42%) blend and is a good example of well-balanced high plains wine.  These are all some great wines to help get this new winery off to a wonderful launch. There are at least five more wines coming out early next year and yet more on the horizon.  For the near future, you can expect a 2015 Albarino, 2015 Sangiovese, 2015 Syrah, 2015 Malbec, and 2015 Cabernet Sauvginon.  This is a great addition to Comfort and a good boost to the downtown shops and restaurants.  You’ll have a good time tasting and chatting with Nolan and Mei who are very eager to showcase and share their latest wines and talk about their history and vision for their new winery. There is also a back porch where you can sit, relax, and sip down a bottle of Orange Muscat on those warm winter days in Texas.  Come visit them and see why Comfort is worth the trip. Cheers!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Riesling – 2010; Lost Oak Winery; Burleson, Texas

This Classic German style semi-sweet wine was a great find from the cellar.  There are no signs of flavor or aroma degradation.  Even the color suggests it may still be relatively new and not a six-year-old white!  Pears are more pronounced in this Riesling and the fruit is very luscious and ripe.  It’s still quite wonderful and delicious to enjoy and it goes so nicely with so many different options this time of year.  We paired this with a favorite stir fried dish and it was delightful, however it will also go nicely with light and creamy cheeses, salads, turkey or chicken dishes and even some lighter desserts.  The sheer beauty of this wine is that you can pair it with food or not, either way you will not be disappointed. Cheers!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

E-3 NV; Locations Wine; Spain

This Spanish style blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, Monastrell, and Carignan exemplifies the quality fruit that comes from España.  Though the percentages aren’t revealed, the Carignan does tend to stand out a bit, yet doesn’t overpower the other fruit flavors.  This medium bodied red wine has a silky feel to it at first along with elegant flavors of raspberries and plum.  There is a bit of licorice notes along with some pepper and a hint of tobacco.  This is an evenly balanced red blend that will pair nicely with many dishes, yet is entirely wonderful and worthy of drinking on its own.  Enjoy well!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Apple Mead - NV; Maydelle Country Wines; Rusk, Texas

This is a very good combination of mead and apples. To use the classic wine terminology, it is well balanced!  You can discern that this is a honey wine yet that flavor does not overpower the apples.  The wine has a pleasant sweetness to it that’s not too syrupy sweet, so it is very easy to drink and enjoy.   Try pairing this with some homemade apple pie or various cheeses!  It’s also quite nice to sip and enjoy on its own.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

El Gaucho Winery – Spicewood, Texas

Argentina has come to Texas!  Did someone say Malbec, Malbec, and more Malbec?  This place is ground zero for the Malbec lovers.  Owners Bennett Sewell and Eugenia planted their winery roots on this property back in 2014 and opened their winery in 2015.  Bennett spent several years in the Mendoza region of Argentina and absorbed all things that made wine great there.  Eugenia is an established sommelier from Argentina and she knows her stuff!  The couple has two vineyards in the Mendoza region on the east side of the Andes.  The dry climate plus the meticulous viticulture practices only leads to some great tasting red wines from the region.  There are three tasting flights to choose from.  The first one, which are the lightest wine options available, includes whites with a Torrontes!  The second fight is the Estado Natura Malbecs and the third flight are the Reserve wines.  The Grand Reserva is also available and represent the quality work being done by this winery.  The 2010 Malbec Reserva has a nice smokiness that you like to savor in a rich red wine.  The 2013 Malbec Reserva has a good nuttiness.  Their 2014 Cabernet Reserva is not for the light hearted.  It’s a well-rounded mouth feel with great lasting finish that makes you realize why this varietal has a second home in Argentina.  Do try the 50/50 Malbec/Cab blend and be enticed by its spices and clove notes.  If you really want to taste the lands of the Andes, try the Estado Natura 2013 Malbec.  It’s has a pleasant earthiness that you expect and desire from these vineyards.  If available, ask to sample the 2009 Grand Reserva Malbec!  This wine has been aged for about two years, with some barrels set aside for an extra year.  The quality and texture of this wine is unbelievable! Everything that is in a good quality Malbec is exemplified in this wine.  They have not made this one since 2009, simply because the fruit has yet to meet their high standards for this wine.  Several bottles of these are worth your cellar space!  All throughout the tastings, don’t be surprised if visions of meat pairings start coming to mind. Do take the winding road off HWY 71 on your next wine trek and drive up the hill to this destination.  The surrounding views are spectacular, there is a lovely outdoor courtyard to enjoy, and the tasting room is very cozy and swanky with beautiful wooden tables and Argentinian décor, making you feel very comfortable as you enjoy the wine and great hospitality!