What a pleasure it was to enjoy the grand opening  day of this winery on October 10!  It’s great to be able to capture that first day’s energy and enthusiasm from the staff.  Winemaker, John Catalano, is very knowledgeable about grapes and winemaking.  He has 15 years of wine making experience under his belt.  In just a few short moments after talking with him, it doesn’t take long to see his enthusiasm and passion for what he is doing.  John also started out planting vines in his own backyard.  On the wall of the tasting room, you can see cuttings of Syrah vines that lasted about six seasons.  They add nice decor to the tasting area.  Currently, he now has a couple of rows of Tempranillo that he’s nurturing in his backyard.  At the winery, grapes are sourced from both California and Texas with a focus on small batch wine production in house.  For opening day, there were four wines available for tasting.  There are nicely written notes about each wine on 8 x 11 cards for you to reference during your tasting session.  The first white was a 2014 Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley.  It’s very crisp with notes of citrus – an excellent chilled wine!  The other white is a 2015 Blanc du Bois.  Sourced from Palacios Vineyards near Brenham, Texas, this dry Blanc du Bois will make you love this often over looked varietal.  Aging this wine in both stainless steel and American Oak has given this floral wine the best of both worlds.  You’ll love the apricot and vanilla notes in the Blanc du Bois as well.  For the reds, there is a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma, which is a nice light, easy drinking cabernet that most would enjoy.  The other red is a Zinfandel with 15% Petite Sirah added, which is also from Sonoma. The addition of the Petite Sirah gives what would have been a mild Zinfandel a little extra boldness.  It’s still smooth and easy to drink.  In the winery, John has a bin of Tempranillo and Sangiovese from the Texas High Plains that he’s currently fermenting.  We were able to barrel taste some 2015 Merlot sourced from East Texas.  Although it’s early, that Merlot  really holds promise for good flavors and aromas. It’s good to see a winery return to Cedar Park after a long dry spell.  Area wine lovers should be pleased to have one close by to get a good winery fix!

IMG_8166 - Bent Oak Winery