Hannibal Would be Proud: Texas Tuesday

“I love it when a plan comes together.”  If you are an 80’s kid, you surely recognize that as the catchphrase of John “Hannibal” Smith, fearless leader of the A-team.  Oh, you thought I meant the Punic Carthaginian military commander?  Well, if he liked wine I guess he would be proud.  For future reference, you are safe assuming I am alluding to mindless pop-culture rather that ancient military strategists.  Anyway, back to the plan.

We had plans to go camp for a friend’s 40th birthday but a health hiccup for our black lab meant that we couldn’t leave her overnight and couldn’t go camping.  But we could get out of the house in the afternoon for a couple of hours of marriage maintenance.  A beautiful winter day means one activity (ok, any day) has my vote: heading out to the wine country.

This is the part in the A-team when each character starts throwing out crazy ideas which require Face to smooth talk someone while they drug B.A so Murdoch can fly them into the middle of the chaos.  Fortunately for us, it only required an email, two phone calls, and a quick shower to get an appointment, my favorite mom here, and out the door in 40 minutes. I guess that is kind of A-team comparable when you have little ones.

On the drive I was able to do some reading about Kuhlman Cellars and the people behind it.

Wine is a product born of love, passion and intense labor.  It should be enjoyed with the same emotional vigor.  At Kuhlman Cellars, we strive to appreciate what brings richness to our lives: Family, Food, Friends and Fellowship. Our tasting room was carefully designed to include every guest in our personal wine journey with education about our process from a knowledgeable guide, an intimate view of our working winery and Sommelier & Chef prepared cuisine carefully paired with each wine.

I had a feeling this was going to be my kind of tasting experience.  We arrived at Kuhlman Cellars with five minutes to spare, ready to taste the wine I’d been hearing so much about. Although the winery has only been open for two months, the Cobb family is not new to the wine industry, previously managing a Hill Country vineyard. Together with winemaker Bénédicte Rhyne, Chris and Jennifer Cobb are creating wines in an Old-World style with Texas flair.  Many of the wines are made with Texas fruit, the blends and the winery are given Texas geological names. Kuhlman Creek runs through the family property and eventually joins the Pedernales River.

My husband and I immediately noticed the ingenuity and design behind the Tasting room.  The bars are mobile, industrial and yet warm.  Two formations create a sit-down tasting experience for you and a few of your closest, or newest friends.  Each guest is given a tasting sheet, enough stemware for the flight, and an appetizer plate with the chef-inspired bites.

Sommelier Jeremy Wilson was our host for the tasting.  With each wine we were given information about the vineyard, the production techniques, and the thoughts behind the pairings.  Our group for the tasting included wine lovers with a wide variety of experience and Jeremy catered to each guest.  We even were treated to a barrel tasting.  Here are my top three:

The first wine was a 2013 Texas Sauvignon Blanc.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The grapes were from Mesa Vineyard in Fort Stockton.  The wine, not surprisingly, was more French in style.  Very classic notes, well-balanced and refreshing. Tart fruit, some grassy notes, gooseberry. This was paired with a cracker with smoked salmon and caper to play off the acid.

The third wine we tasted was Rousanne.  You are seeing more of this Rhone variety in Texas and I expect that trend to continue.  A weighty white with stone fruit and rich texture even when done in stainless.  This is a perennial favorite for Thanksgiving. Paired with a bite of bleu cheese and fig it was divine.

My favorite was the 2012 Texas Red.  A Texas take on a Bordeaux blend, this wine is 49% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Both are sourced from the High Plains.  With the addition of Carignan, Cab Franc, and Grenache you get the depth of flavor while remaining medium bodied.  Red fruit, violet, a little spice, a little anise, a lot of yum.  We brought home two of these.

As a bonus, Jeremy brought out a barrel sample of the Texas (yes, Texas) Zinfandel that wasn’t ready but was delicious.  This wine is jam-packed with flavors, none of which include jam.  I can’t wait to taste the finished product.

Family, Food, Friends and Fellowship.  Those are the driving principles at Kuhlman Cellars and they put those into practice.  Although I had never met Chris Cobb, and Jeremy and Jennifer Beckman only once in person, they made us feel like family.  Food and wine shared with friends is the best kind of fellowship.

We left with four bottles of wine and big smiles.  We left excited to open a bottle at home and create our own pairings and we left saying that we love it when a plan comes together.

Thank you, Kuhlman Cellars, for fitting us in and for what we both agreed was the catalyst to one of the best dates we’ve had in a long time.  I’ll always drink to that!

{I am embarrassed to say that we were having so much fun that I totally forgot to take pictures!  Some blogger I am. I guess I’ll have to go back and remedy that.}

 

 

 

 

Ahhh-lianico: Texas Tuesday

Awake at five, lunches packed, presents opened, cupcakes frosted, drop-offs, four loads of laundry, a couple of hours of work and a very brief workout. Pick-ups, stop at library to deal with missing book, trip to the toy store for the birthday boy punctuated by gelato courtesy of his grandmother.  Rhyming game leads to discovery and multiple attempts to use newly discovered inappropriate word. At a loud volume.  In public.  Long talk in the car about limits, boundaries, word choice, testing, and loss of new toy which demands responsible choices.  Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Just your typical Tuesday!

Enter my liquid hero for the evening: Duchman Family Winery’s 2010 Aglianico.  Or tonight, it is known as Ahhhh-lianico.  Not familiar with this grape? Originally from Greece, Aglianico made its way to Southern Italy where it became a signature grape in Basilicata and Campania.  It produces a full-bodied wine with structured tannins and acid to match.

This grape does well in hot, sunny climates so it is not surprising that it is shining in Texas.  Duchman Family Winery produces their Aglianico with grapes sourced from the Reddy and Oswald Vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA.

Dave Reilly made a bold move with this bold grape and it has paid off in a big way.

IMG_4706

In the glass, the wine is brick-red with a burnt orange rim.  That’s either a nod to our local university or to the origins of the grape.  My understanding was that Italian wines often have the rusty ring around the glass.  Maybe some domestically produced wines do as well.

On the nose I get red cherry and a ton of cinnamon.   Red cherry, baking spices, violet with a different note highlighted in every sip. The time in the bottle has allowed the flavors to really integrate and blossom.  It is full of flavor, but the acid keeps it from being heavy.  It is structured, but has the honest, rustic nature you expect from Italian wines.

The birthday boy has requested pizza for dinner.  He is five, after all. So while this wine calls for hearty, chewy Italian or grilled meats, pizza will work just fine.  It could be the cooler weather, it could be the wine, but if I had my druthers I would put this with chunky tomatoes or mushrooms.  Maybe a Bolognese.  Tonight I will be blissful with anything I don’t have to cook and a full glass of this beauty.

You may have noticed the subtitle of this: Texas Tuesday.  I am really excited about what I am seeing and tasting in the Texas wine industry and my goal is to be more purposeful about getting the word out.  So, while it may not be very Tuesday, I am aiming to make Tuesdays for Texas wine.  And this was a great way to start. Cheers!

 

Hye-lights from the Weekend

I probably don’t have to tell you that doing a cleanse is NOT conducive to wine writing.  Three weeks without wine means that I was not the only thing drying out.  My apologies for being quiet as of late. Just when I was ready to open some wine and dine on grains, I was delayed even further with bronchitis.  Needless to say, five weeks without wine meant that I was more than ready when Friday rolled around.  And seeing that it was 90 degrees out, I was ready to go pink.

IMG_4458Josh Fritsche of William Chris has his own label, Tatum Cellars, which is super small in production and big in demand with those in the know.  He made 30 cases this year but rumor has it that may increase.

The wine is 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvedre.  History has shown that this combo is one of my favorites.  This wine is no exception.   A beautiful rosy pink, it dances in the light.  Floral and fruit on the nose, some minerality to add dimension.  Every sip made me happy.  And made me wish I had bought more than one bottle!  This is one of the best roses I have had and would rival any domestic and many French.  Very well done.

Did I mention I was excited to drink wine?  A little too excited.  Once we emptied the pink (there were 3 of us) we opened another gem from Hye, Hye Meadow’s Trebbiano.  We made a brief stop there after hitting William Chris on the day I caved and since I was trying to be “good” I didn’t want to do a full tasting.  I asked for two favorites and that is what we bought, the Trebbiano and the Tempranillo, both Texas grapes.

The Trebbiano was straw in color, citrus and tropical fruit, zesty and great acid.  It is a great summer wine.  If you aren’t familiar with Trebbiano, this Italian grape is known as Ugni Blanc in France.  Still not familiar? If you like Sauvignon Blanc, try this wine.  Trust me.

The problem with doing a cleanse? If you aren’t careful, your body can get too clean, thus greatly reducing your tolerance.  The headache began before I even went to bed.  Word to the wise.

IMG_4465On Saturday, we decided to stay with the Hye (Hye Meadow Winery, that is) and opened the Tempranillo.  We loved this wine.  Great classic cherry-cola notes, the spice and acid I’ve come to expect from a lot of Texas wines.  Since the weather was screaming “summer” we complied.  We started with bruschetta with tomato and basil and made NY Strips on the grill, sliced them thin over arugula with lemon and Parmesan.  Simple and tasty every time. It paired perfectly.

I know I have been (begrudgingly) quiet during Texas Wine Month, despite my hopes to highlight all of the great work that is happening here.  But I began with a great example in the William Chris Enchante and am ending with three more.  And the end of October doesn’t mean I’ll stop singing its praises.

It does, however mean that my to-do list of costumes, my daughter’s school carnival, and prepping for Gobble Gobble Give may take precedence.  That and my super-old laptop not allowing me to access WordPress anymore may slow me down (thanks, Mom, for letting me borrow your’s). I take suggestions from all of you tech-wise-wine-loving-blog-writing friends for replacements.  In the meantime, be safe this weekend and post pics of your costumes! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

My Achilles’ Heel-William Chris Enchanté

There have been a few moments in life that I have surprised myself with my own strength. Hiking the Na Pali coast, natural childbirth (x2), and the Dr. Junger Clean Gut diet that I have been doing for the past 14 days. No coffee, alcohol, grains, sugar, fruit, or fun. I resisted pizza (x2), cut an Italian cream cake without a lick. I made apple crumb pie and while others oohed and aahed, I had raspberries with almond meal. We held dinner parties, a football party. Nothing swayed me. But last night I crumbled. My Achilles’ heel, it turns out, is William Chris Enchanté.

I would say that I’d had a perfect track record until last night, but that wouldn’t be the case. I went to both the pick up party and industry party at William Chris last week. I had the tiniest of tastes, then dumped or shared, except for the Enchanté. I couldn’t resist; no dumping for this gem.  But honestly, that’s some dang good will-power.

IMG_4404Then last night, we made a belated birthday dinner for my father-in-law who is visiting from Sonoma. My husband and I teamed up to make something delicious that I could eat without cheating. We decided on grilled lamb chops with rosemary. For sides I made acorn squash with braised balsamic leeks and a kale salad which I massaged with avocado, garlic, lemon juice and salt. I was home free. Until my husband asked me to pick the wine.

I tried to pick something I wouldn’t mind missing, but it was staring at me. I knew it would be perfect. Merlot, Cab, Malbec, Petite Verdot. The acid, bright cherry, subtle tannins. It was too much. And I knew that if I opened it, I would not be able to resist.

So I did what any Texas-wine loving, soft-spined woman would do. I listened to my “gut” (ha,ha) and declared it Splurge Sunday. And I’m so glad I did.

It was honestly one of the best pairings I’ve had in a long time. Each dish brought out a different nuance in the wine. A bite of acorn squash brought out subtle notes of baking spice. The lamb complimented the earthy Malbec notes. After the kale, the bright red cherry notes shined.

It’s not easy to impress my Sonoma father-in-law but the 2013 William Chris Enchanté did just that. How impressed was he? Well, I am writing this from the back seat on our way out there. Well done, gentleman. You made a believer out of him and broke my will. But it was well worth it. I may have to create my own “cleanse” that allows wine in moderation.  The question is, do I pretend it never happened and continue to day 21?  Or just avoid everything but wine on the weekends?  I’ll be pondering that, but in the meantime, I’ll be planning my Texas Wine Month post-cleanse splurge. Cheers, y’all!

 

Everything’s Coming up Rosés

I feel guilty buying wine when I have a closet full, but my closet is filled with mostly reds.  At this time of the year, I am into pink.  Or crisp, bright whites but that is another post. When dry Rosé started coming back on the scene a few years ago, I was a happy girl.  Love it.  Love, love, love.  A few years ago, it was a little more challenging to find one that was under $20 that didn’t have a bite, but that seems to be changing.  In the last few weeks I’ve had five, all under $20 and four out of five made it on my love list.

If you’ve tried one or two and aren’t sure if you like them, keep trying.  Depending on the region, the grapes, the style, they vary widely.  There are three main style of production.  And because I am writing on borrowed time (sick kids) I am going to quote from an article on Wikipedia.  It pains me, but if you read the previous post, you understand why.

When rosé wine is the primary product, it is produced with the skin contact method. Black-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period, typically one to three days.[3] The must is then pressed, and the skins are discarded rather than left in contact throughout fermentation (as with red wine making). The longer that the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color of the final wine.[4]

When a winemaker desires to impart more tannin and color to a red wine, some of the pink juice from the must can be removed at an early stage in what is known as the Saignée (from French bleeding) method. The red wine remaining in the vats is intensified as a result of the bleeding, because the volume of juice in the must is reduced, and the must involved in the maceration becomes more concentrated. The pink juice that is removed can be fermented separately to produce rosé.[5]

In other parts of the world, blending, the simple mixing of red wine to a white to impart color, is uncommon. This method is discouraged in most wine growing regions, especially in France, where it is forbidden by law, except for Champagne. Even in Champagne, several high-end producers do not use this method but rather the saignée method.[

Now for the fun part.  I tried three from France and two from Texas.  Here’s the lowdown.

1) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I really like Chateau de Campuget Costieres de Nimes Tradition Rose 2011.  Good structure and fruit, bright minerality. Fresh, fun, and fruity.  I’ve been feeling like that myself after a few sleepless nights. From the Rhone region, this wine is 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache.

2) From the Coteaux d’Aix in Provence, Bieler Père et Fils is making a lovely Rosé.  As they should.  This blend is 50% Syrah, 30% Grenache and 20% Cab.  Great mouthfeel, both soft and sturdy which I like in my pink friends.  The fruit and minerality is well-balanced.  At around $12, it is a steal.

3) Chateau Paradis 2011 (on sale for $15) This was an interesting one to compare with the Bieler.  I think the higher percentage of Grenache gave it a little more tannic bite.  A great food wine, but it seemed a little harsh after sipping on the previous wine.  I’d buy it again, but I’d serve it with , savory and herbal. Also from Coteaux d’Aix, it is 60% Grenache, 20%  of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

4) Becker Vineyards in Fredricksburg, Texas recently released their ode to the above region with their 2012 Provencal Rosé.  I really like this wine.  A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend, this wine has earth and fruit.  Fuller bodied, lively, great for summer barbeques or more refined fare. You can find it in the 10-12 range.

5) The first Rosé I fell for made in Texas was from McPherson Cellars.  It is a little more fruit-forward than the others, but by no means sweet.  This is a great one to introduce someone to the drier style of pink, and Texas wines!  It retails for about $14 and is one of my favorites.

If you haven’t wandered down to the pink aisle yet, this gives to a place to start.  Now I want to hear from you.  Have you discovered any that I need to try?  Share them!

And a little pat on my back and disclaimer.  We’ve been fighting three kinds of funk in the last three weeks around here.  After two nights this week of 3-5 hours of interrupted sleep, I managed to write something, so you can’t get rid of me that easily.  I won’t say it’s my best work, but it works.  And since I wrote half of this with my son sitting in my lap, I neglected nothing.  I think that’s a win-win.  Cheers!

A Field of Dreams

I guess you could say this story began nearly a year ago.  Our trek to Colorado started in the early morning hours, before the sun rose.  By the time we arrived in Llano, the first light was beginning to show.  The countryside was awakening as we rounded a turn and I remembered why I love mornings.  One field in particular caught my eye.  It was a small vineyard with a vintage tractor, a great photo-op, so we pulled over so I could take a few photos.

There was something magical about the place.  A two-story sandstone home in the background, a windmill towering over the grapes, green and plumping.  I allowed myself a moment to take it in.  I wondered about life there, a life I’ve often yearned for.  The daydream was interrupted by a quick wave to the gentleman in the field and we were off.

Taken July, 2012, from the side of the road

Taken July, 2012, from the side of the road

Fast forward to last week.  Jennifer McInnis of the San Antonio Express published a piece on the town of Pontotoc and the family behind Pontotoc Vineyards, each with its own storied past.  I was instantly fascinated and elated that it was going to be a stop on my journey west with Texas wine writers and friends.  Jennifer did so well at capturing the essence of what Carl Money is building and the inspiration behind the vision that it would be redundant for me to retell, but I highly recommend stopping here and heading over to her piece.

So how are these stories connected?  I didn’t know myself until we began the tour of Pontotoc.  We arrived around 5pm and were warmly greeted by Frances Money and her lovely daughters.  In the Tasting Hall, we met Carl Money, his Uncle and Vineyard Manager, Ronnie Money, and Don Pullum, the Winemaker.

After introductions and a few nibbles, with Mason jars filled with the 2011 Tempranillo, we made our way around the property.  The Tasting Hall was once the General Store.  The rest of the Sandstone strip once included the Post Office, the Barber Shop, and a Movie Theater.  By October, it will also house Dotson-Cervantes and Akashic Vineyards, Don Pullum’s own boutique winery.  The movie theater will become a performance venue for music, plays, and old movies. We continued to the farmhouse.  Built in 1872 , this two-story home was crafted from the local sandstone by the German Emigration Company to house immigrant families.  Four bedrooms, several families, and countless stories began here in Pontotoc.  If Carl Money has his way, there are many stories to come.  Each piece of art, each piece of furniture has its tale to tell.  Carl is giving them an audience.

Don Pullum, Ronnie Money, and Carl Money

Don Pullum, Ronnie Money, and Carl Money

We went out through the back porch to the vineyard.  As the sunlight began to soften, Ronnie told us about the different plots, the different strains, and the trials and successes they have faced thus far.  We walked to the well, and that is when I realized the connection.   The tractor, the windmill, the farmhouse came rushing back and, with much gratitude, I realized I was standing in the very vineyard I’d admired the year before.

Another Point of View

Another Point of View

We walked back to the tank room and began tasting samples.  We compared the 2012 Tempranillo, bright red fruit, raspberries and cream, as compared to deep black fruits in the 11.  We tasted the red cherry in the Cab and the fresh fruit and clean earth in the Mourvedre.  Don introduced the Alicante Bouschet, a grape I’ve long admired in Wellington Vineyards Noir de Noir.  This began with dried apricot and faded into raspberry truffles.  It is a hefty red-flesh grape with tons of potential.  And then he blended them.  With little effort, Don took a little of this, a little of that and created a blend that silenced the room.  Wow.

Carl in the Tank room

Carl in the Tank room

There is a saying that has become a bit cliché.  To say that a person, place, or experience “feeds your soul” can sound almost trite, but as I reflected on this past weekend, it seemed the best way to describe the trip.  A balanced dish, a balanced diet needs variety.  A little acid, a little spice.  We need energy to fuel, vitamins to heal.  When it comes together with the right mix, your body gets just what it needs to continue.  Each person brought what only they could.  Like the wine in each individual barrel, each contributed something to blend.  Shared stories and wisdom, humor and vision.  Tranquil and alive, with a history and a budding future, Pontotoc and the people I was with fed my soul.

M. Robert Kidd is said to have named Pontotoc, which means “the land of hanging grapes,” after his home in Mississippi.  He could not have known then what Carl Money would be doing now.  When I stopped on the side that day, I knew the spot was special, but I could never have imagined that, within a year, I would be toasting friends, old and new, on that same plot of land.  It is a magical place indeed and one I hope to return to frequently.  Many thanks to the Money family and Don Pullum.  We could not have asked for more gracious hosts.  Thank you Denise, Jessica, Jennifer, and Margaret for making it that much more memorable.

A Toast to Our Chef, Don

A Toast to Our Chef, Don

Cabernet Showdown

On the last Tuesday of every month, the Texas Wine and Food Consortium hosts a good old-fashioned duel.  While there may not be a definitive winner, there is definitely a good time had by all.  Gusto Tastings Sommeliers, Daniel Kelada and Oscar Montes-Iga choose a grape and draw a line between producers from all over the world and those in Texas.   We get to enjoy the battle.

TWFC

I previously attended the tastings in which we looked at Viognier and Tempranillo, both grapes that do very well in the Texas climate.  This month, Cabernet Sauvignon was the star of the show.  I will admit that I had my doubts.  After all, how well can Cab really do here?  Denise Clarke, shared my skepticism and chose to taste blindly.  I think we were both surprised by the evening. 

As with each of the competitions, the evening was divided into four flights: Old World, New World, Texas, and then a vertical tasting of a Texas wine.  This month, Becker Vineyards provided the vertical tasting.

For the Old World tasting, we had two French and one Israeli wine.  For the New World flight, we tasted Washington, Chile, Napa, and South Africa.  We then moved to nine Texas wines and the vertical flight.

Tasting this many wines can be a funny thing.  My palate begins to fade.  I can taste through a flight and think I know which one I prefer.  Taste them again, and it becomes less clear.  As a wine opens it changes.  Have a snack, it changes again.  If you asked me which wine was my favorite, I would also have to ask, “With food or without?”  And if you asked the person next to me, there may be very little overlap in the list of favorites. 

Some of my tasting notes of the evening included the classic terms such as, “cherry, leather, tobacco, greens.” And then there were some less common descriptors: “dill pickle, green pepper with cherry on top, cream soda, tomato leaf.”

Some personal highlights included:

Le Relais De Dufort-Vivens, Margaux, Grand Vin, 2009 (classic notes, Bing cherry, tobacco)

Marques de Casa Concha, Puento Alto, 2010 (Less classic but friendly, cherry cola, Eucalyptus, Green tomato leaf)

Flat Creek, Texas High Plains, Newsome Vineyard, Reserve 2010 (Big, impressive, yet subtle fruit, cherry, and greens)

The Vineyard at Florence, Williamson County, ‘Veritas’ 2010 (huge sour cherry and berry blend)

Becker Vineyard, Texas High Plains, Canada Family Vineyards, 2007 (elegant nose, hazelnut and cranberry, some vegetative notes)

Becker Vineyard, Texas High Plains, Canada Family Vineyards, 2009 (earth, leather, fruit, surprising elegant for age)

Becker Vineyard Claret 2011 (drought year so concentrated fruit, bright sour cherry, some green, cocoa)

As an encore, Tim Drake of Flat Creek Estate, decided to finish the evening with something very special.  He opened a 2002 Flat Creek Cab that was amazing.  If there was any question about whether Texas can do Cab, more importantly, a Cab that can age, Flat Creek gave us the answer. 

So who was the winner?  Well, there is no clear answer to such a subjective question, but you can judge for yourself.  Next month’s tasting will look at Tannat and will be featuring wines from Bending Branch.  In April, Texas Wine and Food Consortium will bring us fortified wines (port, Sherry, Madeira) with Haak winery.  Upcoming tastings will feature Roussane, Rose, Red Blends, White Blends, Merlot, Malbec , and Sangiovese.

For more information on these tastings, contact Daniel Kelada.

 This piece was originally written for and posted on Texas Wine and Trail

Wines

A Carnivore’s Dream

Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of volunteering with the Wine and Food Foundation at Cowboys and Gauchos.  These people know how to put on a fabulous event.  Picture flamenco dancers, fire pits, clinking glasses, and smiling faces and you kind of get an idea of the day. 

pig

The event was held out at the Salt Lick Pavillion and included a wide variety wines from Texas, Argentina, and Uruguay.  The grilled meats ranged from lamb to antelope, beef tongue to buffalo.  Matt McGinnis did a fantastic write up on the event, but I wanted to share some of my personal highlights.  I skipped the wines I was familiar with and tried those that were new.  I only got to some of the food vendors but everything was delicious.

coreyFood:

Wild Boar Tacos from Fore

The chorizo gastrique from Cafe Josie

The wild bison chili from High Country Bison

The whole lamb from IO Ranch and the whole pig from Tink Pinkard

 

 

photoWines:

Becker Vineyards Provencal Rose

The debut of Hye Meadows’ wines

Flat Creek Tempranillo and Cuvee Blanc

Pedernales Cellars GSM

El Libre Torrentes and Rose

Alamosa Wine Cellars Graciano

Branching Out on the Trail

This month a new online magazine launches which aims at promoting the Texas wine industry, Texas Wine and Trail.  I was honored to be asked to contribute and my first piece is now available on their site.  When I was approached about doing a piece in November, I began brainstorming about something I could do that I have not seen covered, something a little different.  I found my inspiration on the Facebook page for William Chris Winery: the launch of the 2011 Artist Series wine.

2011 Artist Blend

So when my brother came into town with hopes of hitting a winery, I knew where we were going.  We packed up the crew and headed west to Hye so sample some of their wines and learn more about the artist series.  I first visited William Chris last spring for the Watermelon Thump.  If you’ve been reading for a while, you already know how wonderfully that evening began, and how it ended in rather dramatic fashion.  If not, you can read about it in Living the Hye Life.

On this visit we successfully sampled all they were pouring, enjoyed some music on the porch, and left with a few bottles, including a gift of the Artist Series 2011.  I sipped the wine while writing my first piece for Texas Wine and Trail, with a big smile on my face.  While I found plenty of inspiration on the visit, I found even more in the bottle. 

To read more about the Artist Series at William Chris Winery, head over to Texas Wine and Trail and keep checking in for more news about Texas wine.  Thanks for reading!

Greatest Hits of 2012

At the end of the year, WordPress sent me a summary of my year.  Sort of a year in review for the writer.  How many visitors, which posts were the most viewed, et cetera.  They invite you to share the information with your readers.  At first, I thought, “How Silly.  That is like Justin Bieber releasing a Greatest Hits.”  After all, I’ve only just begun (I hope you heard Karen Carpenter just then).  But then I looked at my top five posts from the year and I thought, “Yes, that is a pretty good cross-section of what I have done.”  So I am sharing it with a little back story.  Think of it as a pathetic version of Storytellers.  Cheers!

1 “Hey Girl…I love SAHMs” October 2012

Don’t you love new friends?  Especially those that share your affinity for all things Gosling?  And can make you laugh out loud with a text?  And inspire silly posts?  Me too.  It is no wonder this got a lot of views.  He’s impossible to resist. 

2 Grief and Gratitude  September 2012

I was due to write a new post, but it was September 11th, and I could not write about anything but.  I asked a group of ladies that write about wine if it was okay to venture outside that box.  With their encouragement, I did so.  This is my tribute to a dear, dear friend.

3 OTBN- A Gift from Gundlach Bundschu  February 2012

The first piece of writing I ever put out publicly was a 3rd place poem for a poetry contest at Gundlach Bundschu.  The second piece took first.  It was their encouragement that inspired me to write.  This was a post in which I “shared” the 1997 Cab Franc I received as a prize with my readers.

4 Trends, Schmends-I never gave up on you, Merlot January 2012 

If you have read for very long at all, you know that it is not uncommon to get a hint of psychology in the front and some introspection in the finish.  In Vino Veritas.

5 Molto Bene, Y’all  April 2012

I have loved, loved, loved getting involved in the Texas wine scene.  So many great things being produced, so many great people, and still so much to learn.  Thank you for welcoming me in and for your generous spirits.  This is a piece on a local winery that I grow more fond of with each visit.

So, there you have it.  A little personal stuff, a little humor, a lot of wine.  Some paired, some shared.  Yes, this is a blog about wine, but it is really so much more to me.  Thank you for reading and giving me a place to share, to grow, to learn.