For Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of visiting family in the Hill Country of Texas between San Antonio and Austin. Believe it or not, Texas is now the fifth largest wine producing state in the U.S. (behind Cali, NY, Washington, and Oregon), and the Hill Country is fighting for your wine tourism dollars. So if you like to shop, taste wine, and eat BBQ or Tex-Mex, look no further than Texas!
Is this Texas or Tuscany??? Believe it or not, this is Texas Hill Country, and like Tuscany, the Hill Country is trying to make its reputation primarily with red wines. On this trip, I visited two towns in the area that are wine-tourist destinations–Fredericksburg and Boerne. I liked Boerne better, but Fredericksburg was worth the trip just for a visit to Grape Creek Vineyards’ tasting room on the main drag. My uncle (who lived for about 20 years in Sonoma and loves his California Cabs) bought his first Texan wine there, the Bellissimo. The Bellissimo is a big Super Tuscan-style red wine made from a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Yum! By the way, we noticed that a lot of the wines that we liked from Texas were made from grapes grown in Lubbock, and the heat of that area appears to be good for big reds. Not surprisingly, I was impressed with this Texan Tempranillo (famously grown in hot/dry conditions in Spain) from Llano Estacado. Check it (or other Texas Tempranillo) out if you get a chance.
Moving on to Boerne, I liked the shopping there better than in Fredericksburg. The stores appeared to be a bit higher end than in Fredericksburg in a good way, but that is just my opinion. I bought a cute shirt from Ella Blue, which was hopping with young ladies. I also really enjoyed the Boerne Wine Company, which was my first time with a help-myself-wine-dispenser at a bar. I thought it was fun concept! Also, I was pleased to get to try a Roussanne from Zaca Mesa, which was a WWG favorite when I visited the Central Coast of Cali a couple summers ago. Yum, yum, yum! Also, while I didn’t have a chance to try it, I’m excited to go back and check out the restaurant scene, including Cypress Grille and The Creek. Next time!
Side note – some of the fun of my Thanksgiving weekend was just raiding my uncle’s stocked wine fridge. So if you are looking for splurge wine options ($50-$100 per bottle), I loved the 2008 Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon (others loved the 2007, but the 2008 was smoother on my palate) and Domaine Serene Pinot Noir, which I tasted on my trip to Oregon last year.
The Wandering Wine Girl