One of Texas’ Up and Coming Winemakers

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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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,  

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Lewis Wines view

Cheers!

Photos at Lewis Wines by Chas Erickson

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!

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Cheers!

Texas Wines at TEXSOM

The Taste Texas Wines Hospitality Suite, sponsored by Texas Monthly, was rocking at TEXSOM!  Guests enjoyed wines from some of the state’s most prestigious wineries including Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, McPherson Cellars and Pedernales Cellars.

Jeff Ogle of Duchman Family Winery, Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards, Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars and Fredrik Osterberg of Pedernales.

Texas wine folks with MS Devon Broglie and MS Craig Collins

Todd Webster and Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards

TEXSOM founders and MS James Tidwell and MS Drew Hendricks

SOMM film star and MS Fred Dame with Fredrik Osterberg of Pedernales

Texas Monthly’s Jessica Dupuy (left) and Pat Sharpe with Four Seasons Austin Beverage Director and Advanced Sommelier Mark Sayre

Fred Dame and Kim McPherson share a glass of Texas wine

Jessica and yours truly with MS Fred Dame

Mark Sayre and Fred Dame

A Texas wine event is not complete with Texas grape grower and MS Guy Stout

MS Guy Stout who tested me for my Certified exam

Fredrik Osterberg and MS Jay James of Chappellet

Jessica, Jenny and I at the Texas Monthly table at the Grand Tasting

Kim and Kassie McPherson

Besides enjoying great Texas wine, we also celebrated Jenny achieving Level 1 Certification!

Jenny with one of her Intro instructors, MS Jay James

A Negroni after the Grand Tasting with pal and Certified Somm Matt McGinnis

Texas Wine Twitter Tuesday in July

Tomorrow is the third in a series of Texas wine Twitter Tastings of some of the gold medal winners from the Dallas Morning News-TEXSOM competition.  Taste and tweet tomorrow from 7-8 p.m. CT!

I have a dinner tomorrow night so decided to taste the three featured wines tonight. WOW is all I have to say. 

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This is my first Eden Hill wine to taste and this light, dry white with a touch of effervescence does not disappoint.  The nose screams peaches and pineapple (Viognier) but the palate picks up the citrus and salt notes of Albarino.  (Yes, I love salt notes in wine)  This is a great summer sipper!

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Next up the Messina Hof Father and Son Cuvee Riesling.  Call me crazy but I get anise/licorice on the nose (love!) along with honey and creamy vanilla on the palate.  This off-dry (slightly sweet) Riesling with nice acidity and balance should be served super cold — it will delight many of my friends!

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And last, but certainly not least, is the Pedernales Cellars High Plains Tempranillo. Many of you know that I am not a Tempranillo fan (which is sacrilegious among Texas wine drinkers!), but this wine is converting me.  Can you say chocolate covered cherries??  And red dirt??  It’s a silky, easy to drink red with lots of cherry fruit, tobacco and earth characteristics. 

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Cheers ya’ll!

Memorial Day Weekend

What a great weekend!  Lots of biking, running and wine-ing.  Enjoyed some Pedernales Rose, William Chris Mouvedre Rose, Hugl Gruner Veltiner and topping weekend off with this amazing Bernard Baudry Chinon 2009 Les Granges.

Sweet tart cherry, plum, violet….and let me tell you, this wine has tons of chalk/rocks!  Love me some minerality!

Cheers!

Denise

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!

Cheers!

With Texas Wine Month right around the corner, why don’t you pick up a Texas wine and give it a try?  I LOVE all the wines on this Dallas Morning News list.  The Duchman Vermentino (on tap at my local Whole Foods Market bar) is my go-to wine with sushi.

Cheers!

The New Kid on the Block

Hilmy Cellars is one of the new kids on the Stonewall stretch of wineries on Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.  With 4.0 Cellars and Messina Hof as its neighbors, and combined with some of the area’s favorites like Pedernales Cellars, Torre di Pietra, Becker Vineyards and Grape Creek Vineyards, tasting Texas wines has never been easier.

Hilmy Cellars is owned by Erik and Neldie Hilmy, who were busy planting Tannat and Petit Verdot to accompany the four-year old Sangiovese in their vineyard when I visited recently.

After opening their huge handmade swinging wooden door (I want one!), I knew this was going to be a special winery.  With my friend Jessica Dupuy who writes about Texas wine for Texas Monthly, we tasted several Hilmy wines paired with simple foods like fruit, nuts, jalapeno goat cheese, truffle popcorn and chocolates.

My favorite wines were the Persephone, a blend of Semillion and Chenin and the Muscat Canelli that was the perfect balance of tropical fruits and perfume with nice acid and hints of grapefruit pith.

Besides the impressive wine, another highlight of my visit was finding this piece of wine art! Hilmy Cellars features various mixed media pieces by Ruby Powell and I loved this one.

Pedernales Cellars

I recently enjoyed a lovely evening at Pedernales Cellars, tasting their wines with a beautifully prepared, several-course dinner prepared by Ross Burtwell of Cabernet Grill.  We arrived close to sundown and what a beautiful place!

Located in Stonewall along Highway 290, it is owned by the Kuhlken family. Winemaker David Kuhlken and his brother-in-law Fredrik run the winery and hosted us for the evening.

Here are the wines we tasted:

2010 Viognier: floral, apricot, peaches on the nose, with nice acid and beautifully balanced.  Yes, I bought a bottle of this!

2010 Rose made with Grenache grapes - lovely wine with pears and apple on the nose

2009 GSM (Grenache, Syrah & Mouvedre blend) - strawberry fruit with notes of pepper, chocolate

2009 Texas Tempranillo made with High Plains fruit from Reddy and Bingham Vineyards — cherry, earthy, mineral notes. This wine is sold at East End Wines and at the new Austonian Urban Wines and Liquor store.

2009 Tempranillo Reserve - darker color with cherry, truffle notes

2009 Texas Hill Country Tempranillo - more tannic like a cherry sweet tart - love it!  And yes - I bought a bottle of this, too!

2008 Family Reserve Tempranillo - Wow! Some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon have been added to this blend making it a super dark wine with soft tannins.

2008 Kuhklens Vineyard Estate wine - a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot and Sangiovese. Notes of vanilla, dark fruit and soft tannins.

If you visit Fredericksburg, there is no need to eat at one of the tourist restaurants on Main Street when you have the Cabernet Grill.  It is the only restaurant in Texas that has an all-Texas wine list, and Chef Burtwell is expert at pairing his foods with Texas wines.

Check out this prime strip of wagyu beef with wine-braised buffalo short rib on three-cheese grits.

The lamb with sauteed eggplant was amazing.

When you head out to the Hill Country to visit Texas wineries, don’t miss Pedernales Cellars for a lovely afternoon and tasting.

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