“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
Which, for many of us, also means one of the busiest times of the year. So, even though I’m up to my eyeballs in holiday crazy…I mean, cheer…it is Texas Tuesday which now means a post about Texas wine. This makes three weeks in a row and since three is required for a pattern, I just must. Here we go…
Four years ago we spent a week in Bandera. We had a timeshare week that was going to expire and we had a 1and 2-year-old so we kept it simple: a week in the Hill Country. We discovered several gems and have meaning to get back out there every year at Christmas time but those wishes seem to get usurped by the busyness. But this year I was determined.
Friday after school we picked up my daughter and headed west to Boerne, a favorite German town. We ate dinner at The Dodging Duck Brewhaus and planned to do some wandering, but this town shutters early. So we went to the hotel and relaxed. The only hiccup? Not a bit of glassware in the hotel. Not even a coffee mug. FYI, in a pinch, Styrofoam cups are less egregious than the plastic. I felt a little “Emotional” about drinking William Chris Emotion out of Styrofoam, but it was better than swigging out of the bottle. Note to self: next time we stay at Fairfield Marriot, bring glasses.
The next morning, our little elves woke us early so we ate and went downtown for Market Days. If you live in the area, this was a great one. The vendors were varied and reasonable. The food trucks looked great. Home Depot was even there with a wood-working project for the kids. A few presents later, we were off to Comfort.
We ate at High’s, a wonderful café, and then made our way to Bending Branch Tasting Room, Branch on High. It was a glorious sunny afternoon. I went inside to taste and the hubs stayed on the porch with the littles. They all came in periodically to grab a cracker and listen to the music. Then, we sat on the porch and shared a glass of The Thinker, a secret blend of 7-9 varieties.
Here is what I sampled:
2013 Comfortage Hall Ranch, Paso Robles 100% Rousanne: Soft mouth feel, stone fruit, acid, clean.
2013 Vermentino Las Brisas, Carneros Citrus, pear, soft fruit, salinity, crisp.
2011 “1840” Bella Collina Tannat RF Black fruit, blueberry, chocolate, velvety, tannins for days.
2010 “1840” Silvaspoons Tannat RF Blue, black fruit, herbaceous, silky, bold.
2011 Texas Tannat Black integrated fruit, more cigar box notes, old world.
2011 Petite Sirah Shell Creek Vineyards, Big, bold, and blue. Smoky and elegant.
Thinkers Blend Red fruit, seemed unfiltered, floral, spice, acid, easy to drink.
The tasting room feels like you are in someone’s home and our host, Linda continued that air. Friendly, warm, great décor, acoustic music. It is a place where you can unwind and enjoy a break from the crazy, a place to find a little “Comfort.” We brought home a bottle of the Bella Collina which was delicious with lamb chops.
From there we went to Camp Verde, a general store established in 1857 in Center Point. As luck would have it, they were having their annual community Christmas party. It was an amazing event :food, wine, music, Santa. If you need a little holiday cheer, this is the place. And they were serving wine from the Boerne Wine Company produced by McPherson Cellars, Tribute 1866.
We had one last stop before we headed home: Johnson City. The lights there are amazing. It helps that the Pedernales Electric Company is headquartered there. If you are looking for a family-friendly place to view lights, it is great. You can even put your name down at the Pecan Street Brewing Company and head out to see the lights. They will call your cell when your table is ready. The kids can run at the courthouse under the lights and you can sip on some great Texas wine while you wait. I’ll always drink to that.
I’m always more about experiences than gifts and this was a great way to get in the holiday spirit. What are your favorite Hill Country Holiday traditions? Feel free to share in the comments. Cheers y’all!