After a hot and muggy morning on June 11th of catching up on some much neglected yard work, we decided a road trip was in order. Coincidentally Kissing Tree Vineyards‘ Grand Opening was that weekend. I have been watching and waiting for this event, and I was hoping nothing would sneak its way onto my calendar to take its place.
We got cleaned up and headed down the interstate. Luckily traffic on I-35 cooperated and we arrived in about an hour and a half. We found the tasting room on the corner of the southbound access road to I-35 and 3rd Street in Eddy. It occupies what was an old bank. We stepped inside and it was like stepping back in time. The old building has been spit and polished so that the old looks shiny and new again. The first thing we noticed as we walked through the double doors to the main room was the beautifully high polished long tasting bar. The next thing I noticed was all the gorgeous artwork hanging on the walls.
The main room had a dozen or so people lining the tasting bar or standing around a large island in the middle of the room enjoying glasses of wine. We passed through a doorway to the next room. In front of the large windows overlooking the street was a large sofa set arranged like a living room. Happy groups of people were sitting around it drinking wine. Farther into the room were a couple of small tables and along the wall a few picnic tables. Happy customers were sitting on every available seat and also milling about. Hanging on the walls were more fantastic paintings. As we made our way through the room we ran into co-owner Crystal Grider’s mom Mrs. Dorothy Johnson. We greeted each other and she took us over to a tasting bar that was set up in a corner of the middle room and introduced us to her son Chris. But as he was busy with other people and we were not through looking around yet, we stepped away and headed to the next room.
There we found Crystal Grider pouring wine at a third bar. A duet of keyboard and trumpet were playing light jazz that worked perfectly adding to the ambiance of the setting. There was more artwork on these walls as well. I’m not sure if it was a winery with art or an art gallery with a winery. Either way, it was beautiful and absolutely perfect. We followed the hallway to a door that opened up onto a patio oasis. Several tables with umbrellas were set up and more people were enjoying their wine. The patio stretched the length of the building and the door we entered opened back into the middle room. We were ready to taste some wines at this point so we stepped up to Crystal’s bar at the same time a young trio of friends did. After carding the young ones and determining they were of legal drinking age, she explained the tasting protocol.
Of the six wines on the list and you could choose four. Their dessert wine, Delectable, was available for an extra $2.00. One of the wines on the list is an apple cider made with Michigan apples and fermented with champagne yeast. To be honest, I was a little wary to try it, but I did. And boy was I sorry I doubted it! I think I may have been afraid of it tasting like apple juice wine, but boy could that have been farther from what it was. It was crisp and clean and sparkling, not sweet and fruity and heavy. I really enjoyed it. The other five wines were Merlot, White Merlot (dry rosé), Blanc du Bois (dry), Riesling, and Muscat Canelli.
Now for their fortified dessert wine, the delicious Delectable. After Crystal described it, I knew I had to try it. It is made with their Merlot (80%) and Riesling (20%). She said if a Port and a Sherry had a romantic interlude, this would be the result. It was a luscious caramel splash of heaven in a glass. My favorite part after the aroma was that while it was thick and full in the glass, it did not come out as a fortified syrup. This wine has some wonderful deep toasted marshmallow notes. I just couldn’t get my nose out of the glass. Even after it was empty, the aroma lingered as did the flavor on my tongue. I knew for sure a bottle of Delectable would be hitching a ride home. Since we had picked up a bottle of Merlot when we met Crystal the first time in April at the Salado Wine Festival, we chose the White Merlot to accompany Delectable on the trip.
So for a tasting fee each, we each got four pours AND we got to keep the glass. It’s a large bowl glass with a quality rim. Between the two of us, we were able to taste all the wines, the dessert wine, and we got two wonderful wine glasses with their adorable logo of the couple kissing under a large tree.
They also have cheese and meat trays, sodas, and waters available for purchase. By the way, Crystal’s husband and co-owner Chris Girder is also the winemaker.
Their tasting room is centrally located to a large area in the middle of Texas and is definitely worth the trip to spend some time tasting wine and enjoying the art museum ambience.