Remember when I said I can sniff out wineries like a bloodhound? I wasn’t kidding. For Texans, the Hill Country is a playground for wine enthusiasts like myself. After our recent backpacking trip to Lost Maples State Natural Area, we stopped at a few (okay…six) wineries on our way home. From Lost Maples, we drove from San Antonio through Comfort to Fredericksburg. So yeah, we took the long way home. We visited Bending Branch on High, Wedding Oak Winery at Wildseed Farms, Messina Hof Hill Country Winery, Fat Ass Ranch & Winery, Kuhlman Cellars, and Compass Rose Cellars.
What we thought of the winery: This is Bending Branch‘s second tasting room and my first time visiting this location. The tasting room was warm and welcoming, with mixed decor that works so well together. The bar was gorgeous, both the bar back and the counter itself. This was a great start to the day. We even had an oatmeal cookie paired with our wine tasting…so to me, that’s brunch, right?
What we tasted: BB Vermentino, BB Thinkers Blanc, BB Comfortage, Chlo-Jack Red Wine, BB Thinkers Blend, and BB Tennat
What we brought home: Both of the Thinkers blends (Blanc and Red Blend)
What we thought of the winery: This new tasting room inside Wildseed Farms is Wedding Oak’s second tasting room, and also my first time visiting. On a future trip I’d love to come back and spend some time with a bottle of wine on their new patio. Very spacious and surrounded by wildflowers and adjacent to shopping a cafe in Wildseed Farms. Staff was friendly and patient. Great wines with gorgeous labels!
What we tasted: The Red White and True to Texas Flight including Viognier High Valley, Terre Blanc, Terre Rouge High Valley, Sangiovese Hill Country, and Tuxedo Red
What we brought home: Terre Rouge (though I wanted the Viognier as well, but that was wine club only)
After the tasting I took a stroll through the flower field and enjoyed the last bit of red poppies that were still in bloom. So beautiful!
What we thought of the winery: Always a pleasure! I cannot drive through or near Bryant, Fredericksburg, or Grapevine without visiting Messina Hof. It is one of my favorite wineries. The staff is always personable and accomodating, the wine selection is overwhelmingly extensive (in a good way!), and the tasting rooms seem designed for visitors to kick back and stay a while. The Fredericksburg location is no exception as it grabs the Fredericksburg market like a true Texas Wine powerhouse.
What we tasted: Trebbiano, GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre), Primitivo, TX Sparkling Rose, and Orange Muscat
What we brought home: TX Sparkling Almond (because I seriously can’t get enough of it)
What we thought of the winery: This place is a trip! They don’t take themselves too seriously, and that is a refreshing approach to the Texas Wine industry that is for the most part unpretentous to begin with. The tasting room is huge, with so much bar space that even busy we didn’t have to fight our way to a tasting. The staff is super friendly as well. I love the logo, love the labels, and love the silo outhouses. Looks like the property is primed for some great parties!
What we tasted: Dry White, Dry Red, Semi-Sweet White, Sweet Red, and Peach
What we brought home: a logo bag, because the marketing is just brilliant
What we thought of the winery: Intimate setting, appointment only tastings, canape pairing, and an upper class feel without being in-your-face posh. This is a tasting you want to make time for, there’s no way to rush but why would you want to? Every wine was artfully explained, pairings were on point, and the quiet of the tasting room was a welcome respite before heading home to Houston. I loved the geologic undertones. Someone in the company has an appreciation for rocks, fossils, soil geology, and geologic settings. You’re speaking my language, man!
What we tasted: Hensell (meaning iron sand, paired with peach marscapone, bacon, arugula on pita), Calcaria (meaning calcarious, paired with mango caviar with goat cheese), Alluve (meaning alluvium, paired with spanish marcona almonds with herb de provence), Barranca (meaning canyon, paired with rice cracker, salami, pea puree and green onion), and KanKar (Hindi word for cliche or limestone soil, paired with cinnamon sage snickerdoodle with cream cheese and chuck cherry)
What we brought home: Hensell and Alluve, marcona almonds
What we thought of the winery: We didn’t want to leave, and not because this was our last stop. The tasting room is inside/outside and overlooks the Hill Country. The setting and winery dog made me right at home. We found an unoccupied table at the edge of the overlook, and the wine tasting came to us. Definitely a place I would like to spend more time at in the future. Love the logo and cartography related design/wine names.
What we tasted: Chenin Blanc, Bearings, Walking Home, and Merlot
What we brought home: Bearings
Until next time, Fredericksburg!