|Mike McHenry driving in the bumper crop of Tempranillo at Wedding Oak Winery!|
In my time between jobs, I am getting to visit some Texas wineries. Everywhere I go it is clear and prevalent; they are ready for you. The teams at each winery are striving to improve your experience. Take Kuhlman Cellars for example; Jennifer Beckmann and the tasting room team have prepared an amazing food and wine pairing taste experience for you. Be prepared to spend an hour in the tasting as you will dive into the chemistry of food and wine pairing, the techniques used in the vineyards and winery used to make their outstanding wines, the new and exciting grape varieties being grown and why they are perfect for Texas. They will get as geeky as you want or simply keep it to the thumbs up/thumbs down level. You will love this whole taste experience in the midst of their newly planted vines and growing winery/tasting room under construction. Very exciting times in Hye, Texas.
The road less traveled will have surprises along the way like; Falkenstein Wedding Castle on the park road to Longhorn Caverns. It is hard to imagine there may be a more picturesque drive with the curvy road that goes up and down step hills covered in cedar and oak trees. Yet it is the destination that makes it all worthwhile, nestled in a beautiful valley is Perissos Vineyards! Seth Martin has planted and grown paradise here on the park road to Inks Lake outside Burnett Texas. The classical grape grower who does his winemaking in the field (minimal techniques in the winery.) Seth has planted and experimented with a wide array of grapes producing some of the best examples of Texas wine in every category along the way. His hard work and dedication has produced great tasting and popular wines, this has allowed him to expand his winery and tasting room. While a very special place before, now the tasting room has high ceilings with big fans pushing the cool air to the wide open seating area and large windows with views of the vineyards and valley in the background. Indeed this family and winery live up to their name “exceeding abundantly, beyond what is expected, imagined, or hoped for.” You MUST visit this winery and taste 100% Texas!
One of the great things about every wine country is that their food and lodging is world class. So, not only are the wineries ready for you but the restaurants and hotels are too. We are seeing this throughout Texas, further proof that we are IN WINE COUNTRY. Some of my recent discoveries (new to me) are; lunch in Marble Falls at the Noon Spoon Cafe. All the ingredients are fresh and high quality. This is one of those places where you feel the love and care that the culinary team put into making each plate, rare in today's world. The service was attentive and friendly. I will go out of my way to eat here again. Casual dinner at The Brick in San Saba, delicious pizza and burgers, made to order and of a quality that competes with the best from every large city in Texas. Dinner experience at Rancho Loma, from finding this place hidden on the backside of rural roads, to walking through the creaky screen door of an old farm house into an hip modern restaurant dinning room. The cuisine here is as good as you will encounter in San Francisco, Chicago or New York. The service is impeccable. The owners; Laurie, Robert and Zadie Williamson are very gracious hosts, they take time to make you feel at home and a valued guest in the home, which you are. This place seems almost like a dream, almost too good to be real, a experience you must seek out for yourself. (Note; Rancho Loma has sleeping accommodations too.) If you want to stay next door to a winery, literally next door to Wedding Oak Winery, stay at Dofflemyer Hotel in San Saba. It is a swanky hotel that would be at home in Napa Valley, with only six rooms, so book ahead, you will be glad you did. And, they leave the most delicious locally grown pecans on your pillow.
You and your friends will in time realize that you LIVE IN WINE COUNTRY!!! Get out there and drink it in. Texas is more interesting now than ever, don't miss it.
Do you have a favorite Texas winery? Please comment below...