Sourced from Bellanzi vineyards in New Mexico, this beautiful red wine is a pleasure to behold and taste.  Popping the cork, you’ll notice a nice black coating signifying a great experience awaits!  Admire the light-colored red in the glass as you anticipate the initial waft of its lovely bouquet. On the nose, you will get a hint of leather and some cocoa as you swirl and inhale. You might just repeat a few times because smelling wine is sometimes more enjoyable than tasting it and much of the taste is tied to our noses. Take the first few sips and savor the blueberry and plum that dance across your palate.  It still has decent tannins, so this one continues to open and develop the longer it’s in the glass. This medium bodied ’09 Montepulciano has aged well and is certainly able to cellar longer. This is a lovely wine to pair with food, but also entirely enjoyable on its own. Great wine like this one is certainly to be remembered!

IMG_8900 - Llano Estacado - Montepulciano - 2009

Blanc du Bois may have finally found its calling in Texas as THE sparkling wine to produce!  The delicious tropical fruit nose and lively bubbles are an enticing sight and tickling treat for the nose.  This sparkler is pale in color without flaws. There are nice acids along with kiwi and peach notes.  No traditional cork or plastic cork with this bottle, but a bottle cap! Yes, something unique and different to add to the overall enjoyment.  The Majeks have shown how to do a quality Blanc du Bois right with this fantastic sparkling wine they are producing. Kudos and cheers!

IMG_8898 - Majek Vineyard and Winery - Sparkling Blanc du Bois - 2014

Hye is becoming a popular location along the HWY 290 wine corridor in Texas.  Zero 815 is one more winery to add to your next visit in the Hye area.  The husband and wife team, Karl and Laura Hogsett, just opened their tasting room a little more than a week before Christmas.  Just in time for the holidays! The winery name comes from their anniversary date, 08/15.  How cool is that!  With their passions now in full gear, you’ll get to try some great Texas wines.  Bending Branch and McPherson are helping this new winery get off on the right sip with their initial batch of wines.  The grapes for their wines are sourced from some quality vineyards, like Newsom, Reddy, and Lepard.  There are five wines to try out.  The first is a 2015 Muscat (50/50 Muscat Blanc/Muscat Canneli) that has that nice dry citrus feel you expect from a Muscat.  The 2015 Blush is a light and tropical white blend that’s easy drinking for many occasions.  The 2014 Mourvedre has a nice long finish and an enticing cranberry color. The 2015 Rilassato is a Malbec/Mourvedre/Petite Sirah Blend (50/25/25) made in French and American oak. The tannins are balanced and the berry flavors are a delight.  The 2015 Hyeland Blend is a “tweaked” version of the Rilassato with (37.5/37.5/25) Malbec/Mourvedre/Petite Sirah. The Hyeland Blend has as similar tasting profile as the Rilassato but with a bigger mouth feel and a longer finish. Planned for future releases are a Zinfandel, a white blend of just about everything, and a Tempranillo Rose’.  The Hogsetts have plenty of acreage (14) on their estate.  You’ll get some really nice views looking down the Pedernales Valley.  Karl plans to plant Picpoul Blanc out on the front of the estate and an undecided red in the back.  This place will look fabulous driving in when those future vines mature.  Stop in on your next trip through Hye and spend some time with Karl and Laura as they share their love for wine with you.

IMAG3551 - Zero 815

This exceptional red blend is a delight and treat for the tongue!  The soft texture and smooth taste gives a heartfelt warm reception to your taste buds. On the nose, you get very pronounced bright fruit. While the palate discerns velvety strawberry and cherry notes to sip and savor in this well-balanced wine. Although not an entirely sweet wine, this is on the sweeter side and would pair nicely with spicy Mexican or BBQ dishes. It is also such a lush pretty wine to enjoy on its own or with something chocolate.  Highly suggest you stop in to pick up a bottle to sample for yourself and we think you won’t be disappointed and you will likely crave more.  Yes, it is quite wonderful! Cheers!

IMG_8839 - Bernhardt Winery - Valentine - NV

Ooh…now this location wine is quite lovely!  This red blend of Grenache, Syrah, and some Bordeaux varietals balances out quite nicely.  Do let this crimson colored jewel breathe for about 20 minutes to release those aromatic berries and optimize the flavor profile.  It is a bit smoky at first, however it then transitions to some moderate peppery notes. After a good swirl across your palate, you’ll pick up some moderate acids followed by a nice tannic finish. This wine has plenty of pairing power to entice your taste buds.  That’s just what good wine is all about, right? Enjoy this, with your favorite elegant style meaty dish!

IMG_8824 - Locations Wine - F-2 - NV

This six-year old Blanc du Bois is quite lovely.  The color shows little signs of aging unlike most whites and the fruit is still intact.  It is somewhere between dry and off-dry.  On the nose, you will initially get some herbaceous notes. You’ll detect some butter on this wine and it might trick you into thinking Chardonnay initially, but it’s really a dry Blanc du Bois.  The Apricot aromas are a delight along with some tropical and herbaceous notes.  The tad bit of sweetness gives this elegant wine some versatility in your dish pairings.   It’s also a great treat on those warm winter days!

IMG_8837 - Saddlehorn Winery - Blanc du Bois - 2010

Getting overwhelmed by the number of wineries along Texas U.S. HWY 290?  Next time, just hop over to Fredericksburg and take a visit to this wonderful new winery located just south of town on highway 16.  Owners John and Dabs Brown Hollimon have started their own pioneer dreams for the estate.  It’s not often that you get to visit a new winery that sits on property with such a rich history harkening back to the pioneer days of Fredericksburg.  The site was once the location of the owner Carl Hilmar Guenther who started Pioneer Flour Mills.  The original barn building and house are still on the property and are historical landmarks.  Dab’s family acquired the property in 1964.  She has since turned a vision of something more into reality by transforming this historic location into a quality vineyards and winery with the help of her husband John. You will have great views of the older buildings, vines, and ancient trees as you drive up to the tasting room.  On the estate are planted ten acres of Albarino, Tempranillo, Cabernet, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and Tannat from 2013.  There are plans to add Mourvedre and Alicante Bouchet.  Many Texas wine fans are familiar with the winemaker, John Rivenburgh.  John has crafted some fantastic wines for the 1851 Vineyards winery. Notice on the label the JD “cattle” branding representing the family collaboration of John Hollimon and Dabs.  The first batch of wines that 1851 has are grapes sourced from the Sierra Foothills for the reds and the Texas High Plains for the whites.  There are four wines to currently taste. The first is a dry Texas white blend of Muscat Canelli and Muscat Giallo.  It has a beautiful orange aroma and a nice bright citrus flavor. The 2014 Tempranillo is just superb!  With earthy aromas and an excellent rustic finish, you’ll have no problem stashing more of these bottles in your cellar!  For the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, you’ll get lots of nice fruit and cherry notes along with a hint of leather.  The 2014 Tannat is not for the timid.  If you LOVE red wine, then this hard-core red is for you. Be prepared for rich, strong tannins with a super long finish, and you’ll be happy with the bold berry flavors that this wine offers. Only four wines to try out you say?  Not to worry.  There are some other wines currently waiting to be released hopefully within the next two months. A 2014 Alicante Bouchet will be totally worth the wait.  We got to taste this (ok, maybe more than one taste) and it is just the epidemy of awesome red wine!  John has done a fabulous job on these initial releases and we look forward to more! Small crafted and attention to detail is what this winery aims for and is what they are achieving right out of the gate in producing high quality wines. The Hollimons also know a thing or two about great hospitality. You’ll enjoy your visit here and the warmth you’ll feel from the staff in this inviting tasting room. Don’t’ be surprised if you walk out with a case.  We’re really excited about this place and will make this one of our regular stops. Enjoy!

IMAG3561 - 1851 Vineyards