Last Monday I had the privilege of participating in the 4th annual Roll Out the Barrel Tour which provided an en primeur tasting at three wineries in Texas Hill Country. This was my second year to participate and while the format was the same, there were some new experiences to go with the new wines.
Our first stop was Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba. This was our last stop the previous year so it was nice to visit while our palate’s were fresh. Many things remained the same. A focus on Italian varieties, a focus on terroir, a commitment letting the Texas soil and locations speak for themselves. A few things have changed. Penny Adams has relinquished her role as winemaker so she can refocus on her first love, viticulture. Seth Urbanek has taken the lead in the cellar.
They are in the process of opening two new tasting rooms. Owner Mike McHenry is passionate about revitalization evidenced by his choice to add a second location in the historic Badger Building of Burnet, Texas. The renovation of the 8500 sq. ft. building is in progress and the hope is to be open by summer. The third location will be in Fredericksburg and will be in a building shared with Los Pinos Winery. This should be opening later in the spring.
We tasted the following:
2018 Albarino-Wildseed Farms-This exotic white was bursting with white flowers, peach, vibrant acidity. Delicious.
2018 Rosato di Sangiovese -Anchor Oaks Vineyard- Made in the traditional method of rosé production, with 48 hrs, of skin contact resulting notes of melon, wild strawberry, and grapefruit.
2018 Tempranillo-Mirasol Vineyards-Tasted both in neutral barrels and medium toasted American barrels. The plan is to add 20% new oak to the neutral juice. One of the highlights of this sort of tour is being able to taste each before the blend and see what the short time in oak does, to anticipate the finished product by blending in the glass. Deep purple in color, red cherry and a bit smoky even in neutral. The addition of oak adds monster tannins and the smoky notes are prominent.
2018 Petite Sirah — Texas High Plains- Intense color, nearly opaque purple. Blue and black fruit, spice, coffee. Excited to see where this will go.
2018 Montepulciano-Diamanté Doble Vineyard-Bright red cherry and black fruit, vibrant acidity. A perennial favorite. They will put 20% in new French oak. The oak is already adding notes of caramel and softens the acid but the fruit still pops.
2018 Aglianico — Hye Top Vineyards, Texas Hill Country- Planted in 2016, these vines are already producing tasty juice. Deep red in glass, cherry sweet-tart, purple flowers and balance of acid and tannin.
It is easy to see why Adams and Urbanek are so excited about the Italian cultivars in Texas winemaking. The results continue to impress, even with so little time in the ground and in the barrel. For more information on Wedding Oak Wineries, visit previous posts on the blog and their website.
Next, our stop at Fall Creek Vineyards.