It’s time to visit the Texas Hill Country!

Wine Enthusiast just named the Texas Hill Country as one of its Top 10 Wine Destinations for 2014.  For my out-of-town friends, check out this trip giveaway from Wine Enthusiast and Texas Tourism.

What are you waiting for?! Enter to win a trip for two that includes airfare and transportation, your accommodations, visits to 12 wineries, and multi-course wine and food dinners.

Go here for details.  And if you win, let me know and I’ll share a glass of Texas wine with you as we enjoy the beautiful Hill Country!



I am crying over wine.

My tears are for joy — and sadness.  I am thrilled to share the news that Perissos Vineyards & Winery in Burnet received “Best of Class” for its 2012 Aglianico at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.


Perissos is the only Texas winery to receive this honor since 2006.

I’m sad because this is the wine (2011 vintage) I bought last year on a road trip to Perissos, which bit the dust when our car slammed on the brakes to avoid a deer.


Poor me.

Congrats Seth and Laura on this great honor!


Way Out Wineries and Beyond

Yes, there is a wine trail in Texas called the Way Out Wineries, because these wineries are off the beaten path.  In fact, some would say they are the Sonoma to Texas’ Napa off of Highway 290.

My fellow Texas wine gals (Jessica and Margaret) and I spent the afternoon visiting two wineries that are part of the Way Out Wineries trail — Alamosa Wine Cellars and Wedding Oak Winery — and another that is beautifully situated near Inks Lake — Perissos Vineyard and Winery.

A great day, but sadly, we had a little mishap that cost me a nice bottle of wine. :(  A deer ran out in front of the car while driving home and gladly we missed the deer, but wine bottles went crashing to the floor and yes, my Aglianico bit the dust.

Yes, the Perissos 2011 Aglianico and 2012 Roussanne were my two favorites from this boutique winery making stellar wines.  The Aglianico tastes like a sweet tart cherry covered in chocolate with a silky finish.  You can tell that owner and winemaker Seth Martin means it when he says he is a grape grower and winemaker first, not a chemist.

The Roussanne had sweet strawberry and pineapple notes on the nose, but was all citrus and lemon on the palate. Delicious.

Next time you are headed to Inks Lake, swing by Perissos and enjoy these terrific wines because you can only get them at the winery.  Sigh..guess I will be making another trip to replace that Aglianico!

Laura and Seth Martin

The Wedding Oak Winery is more than a winery but the signs of things to come in San Saba.  Located at the corner of 16 and US 190 — two main roads for Austin and Dallas travelers — the winery is part of a deliberate effort to reinvigorate San Saba, a rural town nestled in some of the prettiest parts of the Hill Country.  And yes, it’s named after a nearby tree called the Wedding Oak.

With a focus on Mediterranean varieties, owners Mike and Lynn McHenry opened the winery just a year ago, but have been growing grapes for 12 years.  My favorites were the 2012 Terre Blanc, a Roussanne-Marsanne blend (a bright, citrus-driven white with chalky, mineral notes), and the 2010 Sangiovese (strawberry, cranberry, some green notes and silky).

I can’t wait to try their “Tioja” — Texas-Rioja Tempranillo — that will come out in November.  Tioja— that is such a perfect name for the Tempranillos created here in Texas.

Mike and his winemaker Penny Adams created the Regency Bridge wine to serve as a red wine bridge between now and when the Tioja is released.  I love the label of this blend that like a cherry with earthy spearmint notes.

Finally, a trip to the Way Out Wineries MUST include a stop at Alamosa Cellars, one of the founders of the trail and one of the first wineries to plant Tempranillo, Viognier and other warm climate grapes. 

Owners Karen and Jim Johnson produce several estate wines and today, one of my favorites was the 2010 Texacaia, an estate blend of Sangiovese, Tannat and Petit Verdot.  A lovely cherry number with hints of coffee and caramel (reminded me of Nips candies!)

And I was lucky to snag one of the last bottles for sale of the 2010 Graciano, an earthy, cherry sweet tart red with hints of tobacco. 

We also enjoyed a barrel sample of a new Viognier-Verdelho blend.  The Verdelho grape is grown on the island of Madeira and offers a lemon mousse profile to the fragrant Viognier. 

It was crisp with citrus, lemon and underripe pineapple notes.  I am looking forward to trying this wine, which will be the next Jacques Lapin from Alamosa.


Texas Monthly Top 20 Wine Picks for 2012

My friend Jessica Dupuy with Texas Monthly has shared her Top 20 favorite Texas wines — and lucky for me, I have tasted most of these.  I must admit the Brennan Vineyards Lily, the Duchman Winery Vermentino and Trebbiano and Perissos Roussanne are among my favorite white white wines.

For the reds, I am intrigued that two of the Top Reds are Nero D’Avola.  I have not tried either of these wines but will pick them up soon! I love the McPherson Sangiovese and William Chris Hunter for lighter style reds, and the Pedernales Tempranillo Reserve and the Pontotoc Vineyard San Fernando Academy when I’m hankering for something with some weight.

While I was getting over bronchitis last week, I sipped on the Hilmy Cellars Muscat Canelli and it was like enjoying a Clementine. It has nice acid to balance out its slight sweetness.  The Messina Hof Moscato is also a nice dessert wine that is not too sweet.

Go try some of these wines and let me know how you liked them!