Monday, January 21, 2019

Riesling – 2011; Alexander Vineyards; Fredericksburg, Texas

Great treats are a delight and this Riesling encompasses all that excites the taste buds and more. Produced from fruit of the Mosel region in Germany, this 2011 vintage is full of depth and the character one would expect from a Riesling. The flavors and aromas are spot on. There is an enticing touch of citrus on the nose and palate with very fresh fruit flavors and a bit of sweetness to this wine that just to livens things up. With an ever so slight effervesces to tease you, this one will not disappoint. It is great white wine to sip enjoy as you float away to bliss.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Reserve – 2010; Becker Vineyards; Fredericksburg, Texas

This 60/40 Cab-Syrah blend from Becker Vineyards is still drinking very nicely.  It is heavy on the chocolate notes with a touch of black dry fruit. The firm tannins are holding up quite well.  The wine is smooth and has a touch of spice with a defined leathery finish.  One can still denote a nice earthiness to this lovely wine as well. This bottle still has the potential to lay down for several years so if you have any left in your cellar, don’t feel the rush to get rid of them all just yet.  Keep some to enjoy again in the 2020’s!  Cheers!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Utopian Shift – Austin, Texas

Yes, there are great quality wines in the under $15.00 price range. Yes, it can be hard to know what is good when you go to a wine store without being able to sample things. The bottle may look nice, the label may be fancy, others online may say it is good, but you really want to try it for yourself. Have no fear, that is why Utopian Shift was created to help individuals with this dilemma. The shop was started by Ericka and David, who felt there was a need to help folks identify less expensive and easily approachable wines that tasted great that they could enjoy and feel good about sharing with others.  Having been opened for just over a year, what they have done is pre-screen many wines across the world that are under $15 and picked out those that they and their trusty tasting crew believe will fit their customers’ palate. In addition, you can try these wines before you buy them to see if you like them. A novel approach for a wine shop to say everything is available to try before you buy. How cool is that?  From white to red, sweet to dry, and let’s not forget the bubblies, too, they have an A to Z selection that will fit your wine fancy. On our visit, we were able to sample a variety of wines from great crisp whites, to good earthy and smooth reds, to delightfully naturally sweet wines, and then capped it all off with sparkling wines! There were even some very good wines in the $5…. yes $5 price point!!!  During your tasting session, David will be more than happy to share his notes about the wines and a little about how he finds these wines.  When you stop in, ask David about the phone app demo, it’s cool, too! These wines are on par with some higher-end priced wines and your tasting experience is fun, personable and very interactive with the staff. You can tell David and Ericka’s passion and heart are in this business.  With fairness in mind and the “what you would do for a friend” ethics, customers will be coming back again, as we will. There is no doubt the Utopian Shift will be successful in the years to come and we applaud their approach and desire to fill the need for consumers in this wine space.  Salut and here is to many more years of success!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Super Texan Reserve – 2007; Landon Winery; McKinney, Texas

Great pleasures do come with time. This red wine blend does that statement much honor and then some. The wine’s blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese is still rich in structure and flavor. On the nose there is still berry aromas and the fruit flavors are still intact. There is a touch of black pepper on the finish to provide a satisfying sip that makes you go “Ah”!  If you’re still holding on to this one, a) it does still have a few years left, and b) you have a jewel.  A simple pasta pairing with this delicious red wine blend and you’ll be a happy camper. “Back in the day”, there were a few wineries plugging the “Super Texan” name.  For Landon, this same wine style is now called ‘The Texan’.  Buy lots and enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Gaston – 2015; Calais Winery; Hye, Texas

What is so special about this Rosé?  Everything!  Texas Rosé wines have come a long way in the last few years and this is one of those wines that has put Texas Rosé on the map.  Let’s just get down to the nuts and bolts.  This is a dry Cinsault based Rosé that is superbly clean and crisp with a touch of herbal notes and good acids to balance things out. You will have a nice big smile after the first taste as you will see that there are still great strawberry and watermelon flavors, with the strawberry notes a bit more pronounced now.  There is also a touch of peach on the finish. Ultimately, this wine should stand out as a lovely and delightful one to enjoy. If you bought a case or two when it was released, then you are a very wise Rosé connoisseur.  It is still aging well and has respectable notes for the Rosé lover in you.  Ben Calais, owner and winemaker, has certainly contributed to setting high the benchmark for a great Texas Rosé.  Salut!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Vintner’s Hideaway – Fredericksburg, Texas

Some of the best quality Texas wines are being produced by small (we’re taking very small) “boutique” wineries. The cost of owning and operating a tasting room can be an expensive and time-consuming undertaking for a winery owner. So, to help alleviate some of the pain associated with this problem, Vintner’s Hideaway is here to the rescue!  Having opened in April 2018, the owners, Jim and Ranae Mills, feature local hand-crafted wines from Texas. It’s a great opportunity for a consumer to taste a selection of top notch 100% Texas wines that they might not otherwise be able to find at large wine shops or bigger tasting rooms. It’s a very relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. The staff are not only friendly, but also quite knowledgeable about the different wines and wineries. The small batch wineries currently available are Rustic Spurs, Rivenburgh, Fly Gap, and Dandy, Buena Suerte Vineyards and 1851 Vineyards. When we visited, Vintner’s Hideaway was hosting a Holiday Winemaker Tasting event. The winemakers of Rivenburgh (John Rivenburgh), Fly Gap (Brock Estes), and Dandy (Rae Wilson) were present to talk about their wines with consumers individually at tables in very intimate small group settings. Bubblies, Rose’, Semillion, Trebbiano, Mourvedre, and Tannat Blends, to list a few were available for tasting. It was great to hear each winemaker express their unique approach and passion they have when crafting each wine.  You can discern their dedication and tell that their heart and soul is really into to what they create, like any true artist would feel about their work. This is a cool addition to the Texas wine tasting room experience and to what is available in Fredericksburg.  It’s a special opportunity to try great small batch wines all in one convenient and friendly location. We highly recommend you stop by and check them out and spend some quality wine time with everyone here! Cheers!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Rancher’s Reserve – NV; Rancho Ponte; Fredericksburg, Texas

It’s non-vintage, but records show we got this back in 2011. Time has honored this Tempranillo blend quite well. The red blend is a nod to Bordeaux style wine. Aging has only enhanced the character of this well-balanced wine.  The fruit notes were still there with a bit of cherry and berry notes.  Some licorice lingers on the palate, as well.  The tannins have mellowed out for a smooth finish.  A touch of acidity does stand out, but it does not overpower. Rancho Ponte is no longer open, so savor those last bottles.  Enjoy!