A well-aged red wine can bring many pleasures to those who can wait. The patience is worth its weight in wine barrels. This wine jewel has an added uniqueness that is incredibly pleasing to the eye and soul.  A fantastic wine label and a great personal story. The art work on the label is fabulous. It depicts how the owners met while an artist was painting.  A great story!  Being able to bring that personal touch to the story of this winery and wine, adds additional character and charm. As for the wine itself, superb!  After sitting around a dozen years, this intense Syrah can still hold its own.  The grapes are estate and reflect the love and commitment the owners have in their work. The color has diminished by about 25%.  The fruit forward aromas still held well. At first taste, it appeared that some of the fruit forward notes may have diminished by half, but what remains is still quite enjoyable. A touch of tobacco, a touch of leather, and still offered a great mouth feel. The tannins are still showing a nice long-lasting finish.  There are no signs of turning, so this bottle could still hold up well for several more years.  Yes, some sediment is present, but that’s where the “vitamins” are located!  This is one of those wines that will reminds you why it’s nice to occasionally pop the cork on a beautiful red during the summer because it provides not only enjoyment in the glass, but in the journey to make it. Enjoy well and cheers!

IMG_0901 - Texas Hills Vineyard - Syrah - 2006

www.texashillsvineyard.com

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Imagine that you are on the back porch and it’s 110+ degrees outside.  The sweat is unbearable, the heat is unrelenting, and even with AC, it still feels like it’s roasting. Fortunately, there is relief in sight.  A great chilled Rose’ that can magically transport you to a cool place for a moment. Though we have no information on the bottle detailing the exact varietals this Rose’ was a blend of, we can tell you it’s still quite damn good for its age.  It’s smooth with a honey note and still very fruit forward. Sipping this chilled just helps cool your soul with satisfying sensations from the inside out.  If it’s not blistering hot outside, this wine still pairs wonderfully with a spicy dish and drinks nicely on its own, too. Stay cool, wine friends, fall is just a short few more weeks away! 

IMG_0893 - Vineyard at Gruene - Rose - 2010

www.vineyardatgruene.com

If you had given us a Magic 8-ball eight years ago and asked it to predict the future of this blog, who knows how those vague answers would have been interpreted.  So, let’s give it a shot today and see what it says:

Will we continue to make new wine discoveries?  Yes

Will our insane wine collection continue to expand?  Most Likely

Will this blog last another 8 years?  Without a doubt

Rose’, White, or Red? Concentrate and ask again

Will we eventually have our own Netflix show? Better not tell you now.

As you can see, the Magic 8-ball can still be interpreted as a positive outlook for the future.  It is always enjoyable writing about what comes to mind with the wine we try and wineries we visit.  Who knows, with continued healthy wine in our diet, this blog might last 80+ years!  Oh yes, we can say that there will be a few surprises for the upcoming year!  Stay tuned, our wine friends.  Same wine time, same wine channel! Salud!

Well, damn!  Sit back and enjoy these precious moments, because they don’t come that often.  This Tempranillo certainty began with some quality fruit and add to that a winemaker’s skillful talent, plus an owner’s patience in allowing the bottle to cellar in a constant temperature for years and you’ve got yourself a fine present! Although the wine was quite strong when first opened, it settled down quite nicely after an hour. Some of the fruit flavors have faded, yet it still held up very well. Overall, it had a good balance of fruit.  Notes of plum and pepper stood out for this 11-year-old Texas wine.  The tannins likewise held up well allowing for a pleasant lingering finish. This one could still hold the test of time for a couple of more years, but we were awfully glad we had the chance to enjoy it now. Cheers to another fine Texas Tempranillo!

IMG_0891 - Texas Hills Vineyards - Tempranillo - 2007.JPG

www.texashillsvineyard.com

Welcome to Hye, Texas.  This town has now become the next fast-growing destination of new wineries in the Texas Hill Country while keeping its local charm.  Horn Winery is the latest addition to open here by owner Ryan Horn on his 16-acre estate.  We were fortune to catch him on grand opening day on June 16th. Ryan is certainly no stranger to the industry. He operates Vintner’s Vault next door which has become a one stop shop for all things a winery would need…. except the customer. Having spent a good amount of time with the California wine industry, Ryan is well seasoned at this and shows a lot of promise at making quality Texas wines. The tasting room is filled with musical instruments and records on the walls to help accent the theme. The current wines available for tasting are from Paso Robles.  Ryan currently has Texas wines aging in the back. The first Texas white should be ready in the next several months. The wine bar features eight wines available for tasting of which you can try six with a tasting. While enjoying your wine tasting at the bar, you get a clear view of the production area and tanks.  For the grand opening, we were fortunate to taste all the wines on the current menu! The 2014 Verismo is a Chardonnay that is crisp with a slight buttery note.  The Rosé is called Segue and you will note it has unique complex notes due to the oak it was aged in.  It is 2014 blend of five varietals and is very refreshing for those hot summer months of Texas heat. The first red on the menu was the 2014 Crescendo. This Merlot has some dusty notes with a strong enticing nose. For the 2014 Rhapsody, it is a Petit Verdot that along with its deep color, delights your senses with cherries and strong tannins.  The 2014 Duet is a 50/50 blend of Petit Syrah and Syrah that is pleasantly smooth with a touch of pepper and a light finish. Onward to the 2014 Melody, and you get to enjoy a Bordeaux style blend of one third each of Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine has light acids and a light body with a nice balance. The 2014 Aria is a Cabernet Sauvignon aged in Hungarian, American, AND French oak, so you will experience some intense black berry notes, yet a smooth and fine finish. Lastly, the 2006 Portamento is a Tawny Port. Made from Touriga Nacional, this bold dessert wine packs a bold mouthfeel and melds flavors of chocolate and raisins followed by pecan notes.  If you enjoy their wines, then hang out for a little while to pause for a bit before you go into the Distillery. Yes, right within the facility in a separate room is their onsite Distillery and cocktail lounge that is for members only. They feature their own Grape and Apple Vodka, Apple Brandy, Rum, Moonshine, Bourbon, Tequlia, and more!  They produce their own spirits and during their grand opening, guests were invited to stop in and visit their cocktail lounge.  It offers something unique to other options on the 290-wine corridor and is worth a visit. Horn Winery has a great future and a theme going for it. The staff are all knowledgeable and make you feel very welcomed.  Another great reason to stop in and say “Hi” in Hye!

IMAG5622 - Horn Winery

www.hornwinery.com

We could hardly believe that we were saying, “Wow! This wine can just keep aging…” Take note at the exception of this well-made hand-crafted wine from Nevada.  The acids are perfect for this beauty. The excellent tannins present a pleasant long-lasting finish. This one exemplifies why Cabernet Franc can be addicting. On the nose you will note the enticing aroma of black licorice tempting you. The notes range from bell peppers, to plums, and a hint of strawberry in this medium-bodied wine.  The flavors meld nicely and allow this wine to pair nicely with many dishes. If you’re patient and want the best that this wine has to offer, make sure you allow it to breathe for an hour or so before you drink it. Best of all, if you are really patient and have some of these bottles in your cellar, just let those extra bottles sit a little longer, as this one can still cellar for a while longer. There were no signs of degradation in this 2007 vintage. A wonderful long-term wine for the cellar to be enjoyed throughout the years to come! 

IMG_0885 - Pahrump Valley Winery - Loken Cabernet Franc - 2007

www.pahrumpwinery.com

Located just east of Bandera, this family run winery has a fun, relaxed wine bar atmosphere to allow you to sit and sip for a while in a cool welcoming space. Turns out, the owners of Lost Maples Winery near Vanderpool are cousins of the owners Terry, Alice, Rhett and Kymberli Word of Hill Country Cellars.  Both wineries collaborate on sourced grapes and winemaking. Hill Country Wine Cellars opened two years ago. The inside decor is phenomenal with much detail in the reclaimed wood and use of wine barrels.  There were seven wines available during our visit. One Rosé, two whites, and three reds. The Rosé was made from Shiraz grapes and was smooth with strawberry and raspberry notes. Their Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel and featured more citrus notes. The Symphony is a rare white not often used.  The 2016 vintage was quite floral with pear notes and honeysuckle and a slight tartness. For the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, we noted blackberry fruit on the nose and a hint of pepper.  It was clearer than most Cabs, but that didn’t detract from the experience. The 2016 Malbec is still young and was a bit hot initially but did have a smooth taste. Their 2015 Black Spanish wine was also well made fermented in French oak with a 15% alcohol content.  It was a bit hot and should be able to mellow with a little more aging.  The Black Spanish had a bold texture and a pleasant dry finish without the astringency of most Back Spanish wines. Terry was a great host and we were impressed with his presentation and knowledge of the wines. The winery also offers tapas to pair with your favorite selection.  So, come on out, sit back, relax, and enjoy what life has to offer here!

IMG_0879 - Hill Country Cellars

www.hillcountrycellarswinery.com