Vina Vita- Kuhlman Cellars

I’ve sat down to write many times over the last five months, unsure of where to begin. The changes around here have led to unexpected understandings. Those understandings, new peace. That peace, challenged by change.

I’ve missed my time here. I’ve missed the time to delve into wine discoveries, mid-week jaunts to the Hill Country, lunches with producers. I’ve missed the time to promote the Texas wine industry and the people I have met there. I’ve missed the people I have met here. And yet, the little people I spend my day with, at school and at home, have made the time purposeful and meaningful and are worth every early morning, every early night.

I have a backlog of stories and samples I need to get share. When I open a bottle these days, I don’t often have the time and space needed to give it a proper evaluation. But over the break and on the weekends I was able to sneak in a few quiet nights- just a fire, a glass, my family and my thoughts. I recently sampled two bottles from a Texas Winery I visited when it first opened, a little over five years ago.

In the middle of Wine Road 290, in the town of Stonewall, you will find Kuhlman Cellars. At the time, they were sourcing grapes as needed and in the process of planting and expanding their Texas wine offerings. The tasting room was small, but their plans were big. The experience, the wines and the people left a great impression. And the potential for growth, the potential for great things, was evident. Now, their tasting room has expanded, their plantings have increased, and their wine offerings and education opportunities have grown.

Their Vina Vita University provides members and friends to learn more about what is in their glass, from field to bottle. The topics range from faults to blending, and another with library tastings. For me, my love of drinking wine became a passion after tasting with experts and understanding how much there is to learn. Each glass became a chance for discovery. Whether you have an budding interest in wine or are well versed in the process, these courses seem like a fantastic way to dig deeper, form friendships, and spend a Sunday.

Their 2017 Sangiovese was a beautiful representation of the grape. Grown in the Texas High Plains in Newsom Vineyards, from a Brunello clone. Aged 16 months in new French oak, it had all the notes I expect from the grape with a unique Texas flair.  Dancing ruby in the glass, vibrant red fruit, dusty tannins, soft herbal notes. This wine made me very happy. An absolute pleasure to drink.

The 2016 Reserve Merlot poured garnet, making me check the date again. This wine appeared older than 2016. It spent a total of 30 months in new French oak which yielded a mature, integrated wine. Dried cherry, cocoa, graphite. I tasted, then let it sit after opening another two days. The aromas and flavors melded further. This a sophisticated, savory wine reminiscent of Old World, grown and produced here in Texas. (My apologies for not sharing photos. I thought I took them but they are a casualty of my crowded brain or my preteen phone snatchers.)

2016 Reserve Merlot
Photo from Kuhlman Cellars site.

I am looking forward to visiting them again soon. They are currently offering two different ways to sample their wines, both by appointment only. The Casual pairing includes four wines with seasonal small bites. The Signature Pairing is a guided tasting with a Sommelier and includes 5 wines, 5 seasonal bites. To make reservations, call (512) 920-CORK or visit them online.

 

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Being a stay- at-home mom can leave one thirsting for a taste of the outside world, a world in which sentences are composed of more than three words. Being an educator means one is always seeking an opportunity to explore and learn. Being a woman with a need to connect can be a challenge when adult conversations are rare. In wine, I find the marriage of art and science, agriculture and storytelling provides limitless areas to explore. But it is the people that keep me engaged. The tenacity needed to keep the family dream alive, the risk to start anew, the trials and principles. I love the history of the vine, the impact of a season, the sentiment in the bottle. That is why I write. I write to tell their stories, to share a piece of mine. I write to learn as I teach others. I write to connect with new friends, to disconnect from the world. I write to celebrate what makes each of us unique, and that which ties us together.

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