Texas Wine Gal

Apr 17

A Texas Fine Wine — Pedernales Cellars Dry Rose

If you’re looking for a terrific Texas dry rose wine, you won’t be disappointed with the Pedernales Cellars Dry Rose.  With hints of strawberry and raspberry on the nose, along with some rose flower notes, this dry rose screams tart cherry on the palate.

To no surprise given it’s made from Sangiovese and Tempranillo grapes. I even get a hint of earth on this bone dry rose, which I suspect is from the terroir (i.e., red dirt) of the Texas High Plains.


Pedernales Cellars is one of four wineries that make up Texas Fine Wine, a distinctive group of highly respected wineries recognized for making high quality Texas appellation wines. The other wineries include Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, and Duchman Family Winery.

You can’t go wrong selecting a wine from any of these four wineries.


(*Full disclosure: Texas Fine Wine is one of my favorite clients.)

Apr 15

Marie Andre Bourgogne

If you’re looking for a refreshing, inexpensive Chardonnay — but you hate oaky Chards — give this French number a try.

Only $11 at Costco, this Marie Andre Bourgogne has pear and apple notes, with a hint of lemon on a creamy finish. Good value.

Apr 08

One of Texas’ Up and Coming Winemakers

Doug Lewis of Lewis Wines in Hye — keep an eye on this guy. 


Learning the ropes at Pedernales Cellars and with help from good friends at William Chris and Calais Winery, Doug Lewis is a young winemaker who is already making quality wines, and I can tell you that you can expect even more based on some recent barrel tastings.

Sadly, we did not meet Duncan McNabb — co-winemaker and co-owner of Lewis Wines who also got his start at Pedernales. He and Lewis are Texas winemakers to watch, for sure.

Currently available at Lewis Wines are his Texas White Viognier-Chenin blend, a refreshing floral, citrus, creamy white.  His 100 percent Viognier (unoaked) is equally delicious and fresh. 

The Texas Red blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache has terrific aromas of strawberry, raspberry, red flowers and cinnamon.


Coming soon….a Blanc du Bois made in Vinho Verde style (with just a touch of effervescence), a 100 percent Mourvedre rose (tasted like a rose from Provence!), and several vineyard-designated Tempranillos.  Also in barrel is a 100 percent Touriga and a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon (of course, made from Newsom Vineyards grapes).


When we visited, Doug was hosting Benjamin Calais, who was in Hye breaking ground on his new Texas Hill Country tasting room.  Benjamin is another young Texas winemaker to watch.


Benjamin Calais

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than to head to Hye and visit Lewis Wines, William Chris, Hye Meadows and Garrison Brothers Distillery,  


Lewis Wines view


Photos at Lewis Wines by Chas Erickson

Mar 25

High Time to Head to Hye

In case you’ve missed it, there’s a lot happening in Hye, Texas these days. William Chris Vineyards got the ball rolling with their super laid back, comfortable winery and tasting room (not to mention awesome dinners and events).  Just across the street is Hye Market, a store stocked with Texas wines, beers and craft spirits.

Also part of the Hye winery scene is Hye Meadow Winery, offering a terrific selection of Texas and Washington appellation wines.  Winemaker Jeff Ivy hopes to one day offer an all-Texas lineup, but that depends on the full cooperation of our Texas weather and grape-growing conditions.


Jeff Ivy

For now, they source Texas grapes from some of the state’s best vineyards to make their Junkyard Red (Mourvedre, Merlot and Tempranillo blend), Tempranillo, and Orange Muscat.  And stay tuned for more as they plant Touriga, Aglianico and Montepulciano next year. 

My bet is also on the Malvasia-based sparkling wine they plan to make.  If it’s anything as good as this Hye-Albert Cuvee from New Mexico made from the Symphony grape, they are on to something!


Tasting room manager Chris Black will take care of you when you stop by!  Chris has been a long-time supporter and advocate for Texas wines.


Chris Black

Soon, during a visit to Hye, you will get to taste some of the fine wines produced by Benjamin Calais of Calais Winery in Dallas.  He has started clearing ground nearby for a Hill Country tasting room.  And just outside of Johnson City as you’re headed to Hye, make sure to make an appointment to visit Lewis Wines, with a gorgeous view and equally gorgeous wines.


*photos thanks to Chas Erickson

Mar 09

"Wine-ing" My Way Through NYC

While running Central Park will always be my #1 “must do” while in NYC, it is quickly followed by enjoying amazing food and wine at some of the best restaurants in NYC.  Recently, I visited some of my favs.


What’s not to love about Eataly (except maybe the crowds and prices, but hey, it’s New York).  A noon lunch on holiday meant enjoying a glass of wine.  Loved the Castella di Pomino Chardonnay and the Castello Ama Il Chiuso from Tuscany.



Bar Boulud

Across from Lincoln Center, I first visited this restaurant with my mom before going to see the Jersey Boys a couple of years ago.  Now I go to see what Michael Madrigale is pouring by the glass. (Follow him on Facebook to see how he captures NYC life in his daily by-the-glass snapshots). We enjoyed the Ardeche, Miocene, Domaines des Accoles, as well as the Produttori del Barbaraesco. Thank you Michael for opening this for us!





Hearth and Terroir

Located in Manhattan’s East Village, both the wine bar and restaurant provide a cozy, warm place to escape the winter cold. 

We kicked off the night with this super minerally Patrick Piuze Chablis (which I was super excited to try since chatting with him on Twitter several months ago during #sommchat) and the Ecker Roter Veltliner.


With dinner, we enjoyed this Domaine Jean-Michel Gerin Saint Joseph Rhone red.



While getting our culture on with a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, we took a short break and enjoyed some wonderful New York wines in one of the cafes.  It was exciting to see a NYC venue serve only New York wines.

Atwater Estate Riesling and Palmer Vineyards Pinot Blanc.


Mudd Vineyard Channing Daughters Rose


Gramercy Tavern

There is something so inviting, yet also a little formal, about Gramercy Tavern.  I love how it’s decorated (which changes frequently) and will only dine in The Tavern.


We started with this Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner and Bodega Chacra Mainque Pinot Noir Rose.


With dinner, the Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir.


A Voce

Located in the Columbus Circle building, this restaurant has a great view of the circle and Central Park. Lucky for me, I got to visit a college friend and her husband, who selected this Domaine de la Perriere Sancerre.



JFK Terminal 5 Restaurants

Yep, thank goodness the Jet Blue Terminal at JFK has great restaurants. When taking the 8:50 p.m. flight back to Austin, it’s nice to have a decent meal and glass of wine before takeoff.  Love this Chateau Routas Coteaux Varois Rouviere Rose from Provence.



Mar 06

E. Guigal Tavel Rose 2011

Just opened this pretty E. Guigal Tavel Rose — great strawberry, pomegranate and lime flavors, with great acidity to give it a nice lift. Made from Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette, and Syrah, this is one of my go-to rose wines.  Less than $20.

Mar 05

McPherson Roussanne Reserve 2012

Opened this beautiful Texas wine tonight — the McPherson Cellars 2012 Roussanne Reserve.  With tons of tart pineapple and stone fruit on the nose, it surprises with citrus (lemon and lime) on the palate. A full-bodied white with tons of acidity, this is a terrific wine to wind down the night.

Feb 28

Weszell Gruner Veltliner - love this citrusy, minerally white from Kamstal, Austria. The bottle has a glass cork - totally awesome. $19 from Appellation Wines. NYC.

Weszell Gruner Veltliner - love this citrusy, minerally white from Kamstal, Austria. The bottle has a glass cork - totally awesome. $19 from Appellation Wines. NYC.

Feb 26

Duchman 2012 Vermentino

One of my favorite Texas wines that you will find frequently in my fridge is the Duchman Family Winery Vermentino. Lots of citrus, underripe white peach, and mineral notes. Nice acidity makes this such a refreshing wine. Whole Foods Market for about $17.

I have heard that winemaker Dave Reilly thinks this is their best Vermentino ever. We can also thank the Bingham Family for providing these terrific grapes from their High Plains vineyard.


Feb 24

White Wine Girl

No matter the time of year, I always crave white wines — particularly the super racy, high mineral whites.  Here’s a look at some recent beauties.

Gerard Tremblay Chablis — a solid, under $20 Chablis that is dry, stony and crisp.

Bret Brothers 2011 Pouilly-Fuisse — terrific minerality, with a round mouthfeel.  Around $23 at Austin Wine Merchant.

Give me a wine from Alsace any day and I’ll be happy, and Trimbach wines never disappoint.  I usually get the Riesling but this Pinot Blanc is a little softer with a bit more body.  About $18 at Austin Wine Merchant.

And this terrific Jean Collet Petit Chablis on the wine list at Josephine House