Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Malbec, SANTA JULIA, “ORGANICA” Mendoza, Argentina

Created in honor of the only daughter of Jos Zuccardi, Santa Julia represents their commitment to achieve the highest of quality standards; developing sustainable policies that contribute to environmental care while being useful to the community.
  • Blueberry
  • Fresh Plum
  • Cherry
  • Strawberry
  • Chocolate 

Santa Julia is a clear example of the combination of the quality and diversity of Mendocinian soils, resulting in modern wines.  A family company founded in 1963 by Engineer Alberto Zuccardi. Who began planting vines in Mendoza experimenting with an irrigation system of his own creation based on a method used in California.  Forty five years later there are three generations joined by a passion for wine. In September 2007, the prestigious magazine DECANTER acknowledged José Alberto and Sebastián Zuccardi as being among the five most influential personalities of Argentine Wine.


Malbec, COLORES DEL SOL, Mendoza, Argentina

‘Colors of the Sun’ is the English translation for this wines name, because the grapes bask in bright, pure sunlight in their vineyards at elevations reaching 3,500 feet, making them among the highest, driest, and sunniest in the world!  The wine has been crafted in a distinct style, combining cutting-edge winemaking skills with the authenticity and singular charm of the Malbec grape.
  • Blackberry
  • Spice
  • Raspberry
  • Lush Mouthfeel
  • Fine Grained Tannins

Colores del Sol is sourced exclusively from the Luján de Cuyo vineyard district within Mendoza, South America’s most prestigious wine-growing region.  Just to the south of Mendoza city, across the River Mendoza, lies Lujan de Cuyo, a village now entirely surrounded by vineyards and wineries. As they are situated so close to the river, the majority of these vineyards have alluvial soil types, i.e. sandy, stony surfaces based on clay substrata. A significant benefit of being located close to a glacial river is a lower level of salinity in the water, and a lack of impurities compared with other river types.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon, ROBERT MONDAVI, Napa Valley, California

There is no name or label on a bottle that embodies California Wine more than this one.  One could make a case that Chardonnay is most stereotypically California, but from Napa Valley it has to be Cabernet Sauvignon.  And, this one is 100% Napa Valley and 40% of that is from the legendary To Kalon Vineyard!  Planted originally in 1868, the To Kalon Vineyard has become recognized as one of the first-growth vineyards of the world.  Ancient Greek for “the highest beauty,” To Kalon is the historic vineyard that provides Robert Mondavi Winerywith grapes for its world-class Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Black Cherries
  • Blackberry
  • Italian Plums
  • Mocha
  • Tobacco
  • Clove
Mr. Mondavi believed that wines should reflect their origins, that they are the product of the soil, the climate, and the careful stewardship of those precious resources. He also believed in combining the newest techniques and technology with time-honored winemaking traditions.  The Robert Mondavi Winery winemaking and vineyard teams are proud to carry on the tradition to always strive higher, to pursue Mr. Mondavi’s goal of excellence with the same passion and innovative spirit, moving forward with programs that break barriers and open new frontiers.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon, AQUINAS, Napa Valley, California

Aquinas wines are named for St. Thomas Aquinas, the seminal 13th century Italian priest, theologian and philosopher who dedicated his life to reconciling reason and faith.  Aquinas wines philosophy is that sophisticated, luxurious wines from preeminent appellations should be enjoyed by all.  Don Sebastiani & Sons, the owners of Aquinas Wines, meticulously scour Napa Valley, leveraging generations of deep relationships to find the perfect fruit. Then, they utilize their decades of award-winning winemaking experience—itself an inherent blend of science and mysticism—to create wines that transcend their temporal origins.
  • Blackberries
  • Fresh Figs
  • Black Olives
  • Tobacco
  • Cedar Oak
  • Earthy

In 1904 Samuele Sebastiani purchased winemaking equipment and made his first 500 gallon batch of wine, selling it in bulk out of his cart in the streets.  One hundred years and four generations later the Sebastiani family continues in that entrepreneur spirit of buying grapes, making great wine and selling it with style and grace.  Donny Sebastiani says “At the end of the day, I've learned that the best thing a winery can offer is well-made wines of consistent quality. That's our family tradition, and that continues to be our vision for Don & Sons."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cabernet Sauvignon, SILVER OAK, Alexander Valley, California

RAYMOND T. DUNCAN, of Colorado, bought land in both Napa and Alexander Valleys with the goal of planting vineyards. With no viticulture expertise of his own he partnered JUSTIN MEYER who wanted to create a winery that would forever raise the standards of California wine. The year was 1972, and Silver Oak Cellars began.  Ray and Justin had a bold and unconventional vision for their winery. Rather than producing six or seven varietals, they would devote all their resources to producing a single wine – Cabernet Sauvignon. What’s more, their wine would be a new style of Cabernet Sauvignon, rich and complex, deliciously drinkable from the day it was released, yet worthy of cellaring for years to come. To achieve this end, they committed to an extensive aging program of approximately 25 months in American oak barrels, and 15–20 months of cellaring in bottle.
  • Boysenberries
  • Cherry Liqueur
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Sandalwood
  • Roasting Meat
  • Fine-Grained Tannins

Director of Winemaking for Silver Oak: Daniel Baron, previously worked for Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux France and Dominus Estate in Napa Valley.  Daniel is appreciative of the role wine plays in daily life, as well as history and culture. “To me, creating wine is one of the ways people preserve civilization.”

Friday, July 26, 2013

Tour de France: Cabernet Blend, Haut-Médoc, Château Aney, Bordeaux, France, 2009

This left-bank Château Aney is situated strategically between St-Julien and Margaux, at the epicenter of the great wines of the region where the terroir imparts exceptional quality and provides ideal growing conditions. The warm summer sun is tempered by the cool breezes of the Garonne, and round, polished, gravelly, river stones cover the vineyard.  The final blend of the wine matches the proportions in which they are planted throughout the seventy-four acres of vineyards: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. This traditional Haut Médoc is more like what you might remember of the classic Bordeaux styles of the 1960s and 1970s. This wine is NOT at all cloaked in new wood or over-extracted tannins, Château Aney’s wines have finesse and balance!

  • Black Cherry
  • Plum
  • Blackberry
  • Dusty Black pepper
  • Tobacco Leaf
  • Subtle Earthy Finish

Château Aney was built in 1850 by the family that gave it its name, just five years before the wine classification system was initiated in Bordeaux, where the domaine earned "Cru Bourgeois" status.  By the mid-twentieth century the land was no longer being farmed and the Château had fallen into disrepair. Then in 1972 Jean Raimond and his son, Pierre, bought the property, rehabilitated the vineyards, and refurbished the winery and cellars bringing it back, more glorious than ever. This new era for Château Aney also achieved "Cru Bourgeois" status in 1978. Which we can read this as showing just how accurate this classification system is, or does it illustrate just how resistant to change the French wine community can be.  You should taste the wine and decide...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tour de France: Melon de Bourgogne, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, Sur Lie, DOMAINES VINET, "DOMAINE ST. MARTIN" Loire, France, 2011

DOMAINE ST. MARTIN was started in 1830 by a monk, located on the edge of the Maine river, less than twenty acres and on one lot, which is unusual in the Muscadet region. The harvest begins early September. The yields are not excessive (55 hl/ha) and all the fruit is harvested by hand.  Kept “sur lie” (on the lees; the yeast post fermentation)  for eight months before being bottled at the end of May, unlike most in this appellation who bottle in March.  This is a unique wine that everyone should try at least once, preferably on a hot summer day with some delicious fresh seafood.

  • Lime
  • Tangerine
  • Chalk
  • White Almond
  • Refreshing

Please, do not become confused; other French wines are named for their appellation: Burgundy, Champagne, Cotes-du-Rhone, etc. Muscadet follows neither convention; Muscadet is the name of the wine, not the region nor the grape,  and the specific area name is added on; “ de Sevre et Maine,” reflecting their origin in the region around the Sevre and Maine rivers that flow into the Loire river.  This wine is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, considered a cousin of Chardonnay.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tour de France: Viognier, CINQUANTE-CINQ, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Languedoc, France, 2012

The grape vine flourishes in the Mediterranean climate of Languedoc, with more acres planted to the vine than any other winegrowing region in the world!   Thirty miles southwest of Montpellier,  in Alignan du Vent, the producer of Cinquante Cinq is the largest family-owned and operated coop in France, with a long history of farming and managing the same family-owned vineyards.  Working with the microclimates created by the coastal Mediterranean influence, on sites with optimal exposure to the sun and its prevailing North wind, Aligan du Vent is home to a variety of soils, including siliceous gravel, middle terrace areas of clay and gravel, and lower terraces of sand.  Here Cinquante Cinq is making some stunning wines!
  • White Peaches
  • Baked Apples
  • Citrus Oil 
  • White Flower Petals
  • Minerals
Made with 100% Viognier from fifteen year-old vines, using Sustainable Farming techniques; no chemicals, no synthetic treatments this is a delicious wine.  Only eight-hundred cases were made making this a wine that will be gone before we know it.  Thanks to the families and farmers that made this wine possible, it is truly remarkable. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tour de France: Merlot/Cab. Sauvignon, CHASSE, Bordeaux, France, 2008

This “Grand Vin de Bordeaux” appeals to your sheer pleasure, taking its inspiration from the great French romanticists, it is an open invitation to sharing a little sensual poetry from the bottle.  Softness and roundness, creating nuances and shading that are the hallmark of exceptional personality of this wine.  With 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc it has very genial flavors while remaining true to the regional character of Bordeaux wine.
  • Red Cherry
  • Raspberry
  • Blackberry
  • Flinty
  • Smoky Wood
The new face of Bordeaux Wines, Marquis de Chasse, with a personality all its own, (read “brand” all its own.)  Created in 1992 by the Bordeaux based wine giant Ginestet, utilizing their extensive resources; over 3,700 acres of vineyards, teams of agronomists and wine-makers and capable and resourceful international sales and marketing teams.  Not a small feat to exalt taste creating an appealing wine that consumers will always return to with pleasure, vintage after vintage.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tour de France: Merlot / Cabernet Blend, Graves, CHÂTEAU CABANNIEUX, Bordeaux, France, 2009

Chateau Cabannieux is a very old family property. Mentioned in 1874 as “Première catégorie” winery and in 1881 classified as “Cru Exceptionnel” establishing a record of continuous improvement.  With almost 50 acres of vineyards, surrounding the Château, Hugo Dudignac, is producing red and white AOC Graves wines with distinction.
  • Earthy
  • Black Cherry
  • Vanilla
  • Old Wood
  • Chocolate
  • Structure

The Chateau Cabannieux is on the top of a little hill, all the surrounding vineyard is planted on its slops. It gives the vineyard an ideal sun exposure as well as great natural water drainage.  The soil is mainly graveled with a subsoil made of gravel, from which comes the name of “Graves.”  With vines of: 50% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, not the traditional Cab dominate Graves.  However the winemaking is very traditional in cement vats for 4 to 6 months , and then in barrels of 18 to 24 months.  After bottling, the wines spend a year in the cellar before being sold.  It is delicious tonight, but if we had the patients to wait ten years or more it will become a wonderful wine.

Merlot, BONTERRA, ORGANICALLY GROWN GRAPES, Mendocino County, California

Bonterra passionately believes that organic grapes make better wine. Since 1993, Bonterra has been producing wine from 100% organically grown grapes using certified organic practices such as composting, cover crops and biodiversity.  These practices produce grapes that offer a quality of fruit and vibrancy of taste that express the purity and intensity of each varietal’s unique character.
  • Black Plums
  • Dark Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Toasty Oak
  • Vanilla Spice
Aged for 12 months with French and American oak with medium to medium plus toast, with 30% new oak.  Merlot is one of Bonterra’s most distinctive expressions, Biodynamicly farmed at the McNab Ranch with a strong representation from Mendocino vineyards; Los Cerros and others. McNab has loamy, well-drained soils and an average elevation of 800 feet, which allows most of the blocks to experience temperature swings of 50 degrees. This ranch provides fruit that proves that organic farming makes better wines.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Tour de France: Chardonnay, Chablis, DOMAINE LONG-DEPAQUIT Burgundy, France, 2011

This is the wine that made the world fall in love with Chardonnay! Crystalline beauty with pale yellow color and light green highlights hint that this is not a California Chardonnay; this is CHABLIS!   Bursting with mineral precision counterbalanced by finesse this is lovely and exciting; more than a glass should contain. 
  • Melon
  • Pear
  • Apples
  • White Flowers
  • Flint
  • White Almonds
  • Sea Shell

Maison Albert Bichot, a traditional négociant houses of Burgundy, has been reborn.  The date for this rebirth was 2004 when Bichot was named Winemaker of the Year by magazines in both England and France.  This has occurred under the leadership of Albéric Bichot, the sixth generation to run the business, and he has expanded all areas of the operation and increased the quality throughout. While the Bichot portfolio is wide one of its best estates is DomaineLong-Depaquit in Chablis.

Pinot Noir, BUENA VISTA, "VITICULTURAL SOCIETY" Sonoma County, California

Established in 1857 by the Hungarian Count Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa, the Buena Vista Winery's contribution to establishing California wine can not be overstated.  Returning from an extensive journey throughout France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, The Count and his son Arpad brought with them thousands of vines representing over 300 varietals.  Which were soon planted in the Buena Vista vineyards jump starting the great diversity of wines which California is famous for today.

Red Cherry
Shiitake Mushroom
Flora Nuances

In 2011, Buena Vista became part of Boisset Family Estates, a renowned and charismatic family with a collection of historic wineries and roots in Burgundy, France. The family, led in the US by Jean-Charles Boisset, possesses a true love and respect for Buena Vista—its unrivaled heritage, authentic roots, colorful history, and renowned wines. Boisset is passionately committed to its 'partnership with The Count'—to continue the vision and legacy he first created 150 years ago.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tour de France: Pinot Noir, Bourgogne, LOUIS CHEVALLIER, Burgundy, France, 2010

Does this name sound familiar to you; Louis Chevallier?  It might, to students of history.   Louis Chevallier was the Mayor of Puligny, in Burgundy, who went on to become a great diplomat for France.  He is most famous for his participation in the sale of Louisiana to the United States.  The wine house, created by the Chevallier family over 200 years ago, produces fine wines from the best terroirs of the region from regional appellations to Premier Crus and Grand Crus.  In this wine, The Bourgogne Rouge we find an honest and good Pinot Noir; that is genuine Burgundy. 
  • Sweet Plum
  • Cinnamon
  • Red Cherry
  • Dry Cranberry
  • Smoky Oak
  • Earthiness

The winemaker, Bruno Larmonica, is very talented and has won many awards for his wines. His hometown is Nuits-Saint-Georges in Burgundy, so his greatest ambition is to make wines that express the soul of the terroir of Burgundy.  He works very closely with a small family of growers monitoring every step from the vineyard  to the harvest. The grower partners work with sustainable agriculture and are required to maintain the specificity and traditions of each appellation.  This provides the best quality grapes and Bruno is able to manage the vinification process and all the way to bottling. This enables Louis Chevallier produce quality wines without leaving behind the tradition of Burgundy.

Merlot, CELLAR NO. 8, California

Cellar No. 8 is a real place where real wine is made for real people – people who appreciate quality, and recognize a tremendous value when they see one. A midst the snobbery, gimmicks and mediocrity of the wine aisle, Cellar No. 8 stands out as a modern brand with authentic roots.
  • Ripe Red Berry Fruit
  • Bing Cherry
  • Dried Herbs
  • Cola
  • Cloves
  • Toasty Oak

Cellar No. 8 wines are crafted at the historic Asti Winery in Sonoma County (AKA; Italian-Swiss Colony Winery.) Applying time-honored methods and expertise, founder Andrea Sbarboro and a group of Italian immigrants formed an entire community around the art of wine making in 1881. 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tour de France: Sauvignon Blanc, Sancerre, JEAN REVERDY "La Reine Blanche" Loire, France, 2011

Perfectly balanced and excitingly delicious, this is the wine that has me delighted by Sauvignon Blanc again!  While Domaine Jean Reverdy has almost 30 acres of vineyard, only 10% of this in on clay and limestone white soils ("La Reine Blanche"), locally in the Loir they call it the "Terres Blanches" and it is more widely know as “kimmeridgian,” and famed for the high-toned flavors and assertive minerality it gives to wine grapes.  
  • Sweet fruity
  • Acacia Flowers
  • Jasmine 
  • Tart Citrus
  • Minerality

"La Reine Blanche" vines are 25 years old and older, the vinification is cold fermentation in stainless steel tank, no oak, no malolactic fermentation, the grapes and land really shine as the stars of this wine.  Only 100,000 bottles per year are produces, only 70% of that is exported and just a fraction of that comes to the USA, making it a rare treat and an exciting wine to taste!  

Merlot, BENZIGER, SUSTAINABLY GROWN, Sonoma County, California

Benziger Family Winery is dedicated to wine making that reveals the true character of the vineyard, the varietal and the vintage in certified-sustainable, organically grown and Biodynamic® wines.  Their wines are defined by the individuality of the vineyard and the passion of the people who make them. Through this commitment to natural farming and environmentally and socially responsible business practices, they strive for sustainability and the preservation of their Sonoma Mountain family winery for generations to come.
  • Currant
  • Black Raspberry
  • Ripe Plum
  • Anise
  • Full-Flavor
  • Velvety Texture
Handpicked fruit for this Merlot came from mountain, hillside, benchland and valley floor vineyard sites from Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley to the Carneros regions. Careful site selection ensures that only the best-suited and finest quality fruit are captured in every bottle of Benziger Sonoma County Merlot.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tour de France: Grenache, SHATTER, Maury, Roussillon, France, 2010

Dave Phinney, of Orin Swift (Prisoner fame) and Joel Gott, of Joel Gott (fame) partnered to make this wine, Shatter, in the south of France.  With its ancient vines struggling on rocky, hillsides of schist, making for amazingly concentrated fruit, capable of creating darker wines than anything else in France, and the terroir, different from anywhere else in California or France. It was an extraordinary opportunity for them to work together.  
  • Dark Fruits
  • Ripe Cherry
  • Spicy French Oak
  • Soft and Thick
  • Mature Tannins
  • Long Finish

The wine’s name, Shatter, is for a phenomenon in which grape clusters fail to develop all their berries after flowering. While this condition—called coulure in French—it is usually considered a viticultural hazard, Gott and Phinney boldly embraced it as the name for their new project. As Phinney explains, “This area of the Roussillon is very prone to shatter.  It actually decreases yield and intensifies the wines.”

To read and see some great pictures about Shatter from the Tasting Panel Magazine click here.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tour de France: France Saves the U.S.A.!!!

Not all lessons in wine come in a bottle...  Featuring the wines from France during the the Tour de France seems reasonable and even natural, some might even say obvious.  But, featuring French wines on July 4th!?!  Well that seems almost un-American!  Or, at least that is what I thought.  Looking a little further into it I learned that there would be NO Independence Day if it was not for FRANCE...

French involvement proved decisive, with a French naval victory in the Chesapeake leading to the surrender of a British army at Yorktown in 1781. The Treaty of Paris in 1783 ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the United States over the territory bounded by what is now Canada to the north, Florida to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.
The war of American independence could be summed up as a civil war fought on foreign soil, as opposing forces comprised both nations' residents. That said, it is a war that America could not have survived without French assistance. 

Like so many things in our world and in history; there is more to the story than what we might commonly know.  The French and American relationship goes much deeper than french fries and fresh bread.  There is a complexity and dynamic here that can be felt and tasted in a glass of wine; a glass of French wine.  Cheers!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tour de France: What is in a name; Francesca's?

WAY back in the summer of 1999 we sat around the Boardroom Table in the The Grille at the The Resort Course of The Westin La Cantera Hill Country Resort.  The Resort was sparkling new, just opened, and our fine dinning restaurant had yet to open.  Around the table were Westin executives, the Matre 'd, servers and our consulting Chef Mark Miller.  Yes, THE Mark Miller of Coyote Cafe fame.  I was one of the servers.  The hot topic was how are we going to pronounce the name of our restaurant.

We all agreed that it sounded best as "Fran-CHESS-kas."  It is just how most of us said it.  Then Chef Miller gave us a lesson in European pronunciations; the "Fran-CHESS-kas" we were saying was Italian and we wanted to stay away from being an Italian restaurant.  Since we have more Spanish influence in our cuisine, culture, and region he maintained that we should use the Spanish pronunciation .."Fran-ses-kas."  From there on we agreed, the Spanish pronunciation was the way to go.

Nowhere in all our discussion do I remember us talking about what the name meant. We all got that it was a girl's name, which is obvious, the legend that our name is honoring was the prettiest lady in the county who stole the heart of a young man that was destined to become a priest.

What I did not catch is that it was acknowledgment of France or French heritage which was itself a reference to freedom or "free one!"  

Many will agree that this French Spirit of freedom is vibrantly on display in the feats of the month long race that tours the country, called the Tour de France.

AND it can be tasted in the wines made from their land!  Which is why our wine list is featuring French wines during July.  Check out this wine list here.

Featured Red Wine:

Featured White Wine:

Pinot Noir, DE LOACH, "HERITAGE RESERVE", California

Dedicated as they are to wine, De Loach is equally passionate about the long-term health and vitality of our terroir, so they have a particular passion and focus on biodynamic, organic, and sustainable winemaking practices.
  • Strawberry Jam
  • Touch of Mint
  • Pomegranate
  • Cranberry
  • Hint of Tobacco 

As leaders in Pinot Noir, De Loach takes special pride this one. Fine wine is “grown” in the premium vineyards throughout northern and central California, carefully selected for the unique balance of delicate Pinot characteristics and more intense fruit flavors found in the different terroirs.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pinot Noir, GREG NORMAN, Santa Barbara County, California

Santa Barbara County enjoys a long growing season, encouraging development of concentrated and balanced berries. The coastal climate is key—it is just warm enough that the fruit fully ripens, yet not too hot that vegetal undertones appear. The well-draining sandstone and limestone soils consistently produce small berries that are richly concentrated with flavors and aromas.
  • Vivid Aromas of Fresh Cherries
  • Strawberry
  • Baking Spice
  • Raspberry
  • Vanilla
Greg Norman, Pro Golfer, was labeled the "The Great White Shark" by a newspaper reporter during the 1981 Masters Tournament, because of his aggressive and assertive personality.  His professional and personal motto is “Attack Life!”  His business interests keep him busy, so do his passions; fishing, scuba diving and the pursuit of almost every outdoor activity, his keen interest in fine wines inspired him to create his own wine brand, Greg Norman Estates. A collection of wines that not only represent his personal taste in wine but also the lifestyle he leads.  Greg Norman is truly the ultimate adventurer.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Viognier, BRENNAN, Texas

Viognier has been Brennan Vineyards signature wine since opening in 2005. Their 2009 Viognier won Gold Medals in the 2010 Indy International, the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle and the 2011 Dallas Morning News Wine Competitions.  Previous vintages have garnered Best Texas White Wine in the Lone Star International Wine Competitions, a Double Gold Medal and selected as The Top Texas Wine at the 2008 Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition.  This wine is a winner!  A testament to how well this grape vine grows in Texas.  But do not take my word for it, go to the Vintage Texas blog where Dr. Kane reports the dramatic results of a recent blind tasting: Vintage Texas Blog.
  • White Peaches
  • Apricot 
  • Honeysuckle
  • Citrus
  • Floral
The winery is located almost midway between Texas’ most acclaimed wine grape regions (the legendary Hill Country and the Texas High Plains) on Texas Highway 16 in the small town of Comanche.  The grapes come from their vineyards close to the small town of Newburg, Texas, just few miles away from Comanche. This part of Texas has rolling hills with red sandy loam soil over limestone bedrock, prized conditions for growing grapes for wine making.  For a fun take on how Viognier is the "Chardonnay" of Texas follow this link to the Vintage Texas Blog.