Gloria had a rare Labor Day holiday off, and new wineries and special events directed our three day weekend to the Hill Country. We left home early Saturday morning and arrived in Hye at 10:00 a.m. just in time for our appointment at William Chris Vineyards. Walking from the parking lot, we were greeted by Rachael Theberge who led us to the tasting room. We chose to do a tasting and enjoyed all the wines, especially the recent incarnation of Artist Blend.
Since we were in Hye, we had to stop across the road to Hye Meadow Winery because they had just opened, and chose a glass of wine to enjoy. We met owner/winemaker’s Mike Batek’s new assistant along with other friends like Lisa Nimmo.
We took a quick lunch break at Hye Market which had really changed since we were there last time. One side by the post office, which used to have items for sale and where tastings were held, was now strictly restaurant seating.
We had previously arranged to stay at the new Compass Rose Cellars casitas so we went there next to check in and drop off our luggage. While we were there, why not do a tasting too? It was a special wine club weekend and that Saturday night was going to be a wine club pickup party. Because of that, the tasting we would do on Saturday would be completely different on Sunday due to the release of new wines. We enjoyed the tasting, checked into our wonderful casita, and headed down the road to our next appointment.
On the way, we stopped quickly at 4.0 Cellars to drop some Texas Wine Lover lapel pins off to tasting guide extraordinaire and Texas Wine Lover writer, Carl Hudson. This was Carl’s second order of lapel pins, so he has realized they are quality pins and not cheap looking buttons. He has given some away as gifts to friends, and if you want to do the same, be sure to check out our shop.
We arrived at our appointment at 1851 Vineyards which was arranged by John Rivenburgh and we had a great preview of the upcoming winery with the family of the Hollimons. This is definitely going to be one winery you need to visit when you go to Fredericksburg and hopefully the planned opening of October will still happen. Be sure to read the blog post to find out more.
After our visit at 1851 Vineyards, John Rivenburgh wanted to show us another nearby work-in-progress he has been helping, 75 acre Nässey Creek. In the back of the property will be the tasting room and cabins they will be offering for people to stay overnight, while the winery will be in the front. The plan is to plant a 10 acre vineyard in 2017, 45 acres in the spring of 2018, and maybe another 15 acres in 2018. This will all depend if they can get the varietals they want to plant.
Even though it is flat, the view from the rear of the property will be beautiful. The tasting room will be made to look like it was from 1908 which will coincide with the renovations of the property currently made. Looking toward the street and over the vineyards will definitely provide a nice view. Look for a possible opening in 2021. As you can see, John Rivenburgh has been busy consulting with current and future wineries in addition to making his own wines as Rivenburgh Wines.
We said thanks and goodbye to John and headed to another new winery which had recently opened, Andreucci Wines, back on Main Street of Fredericksburg. Fortunately, after going around the block a couple times, we found a fairly close parking post. There had been a big expectation for Andreucci Wines by many people and the Italian wine did not disappoint. If you enjoy Italian wines or even if you have not had any, definitely stop by Andreucci Wines on your next visit to Fredericksburg.
It was now time to meet another friend at Lost Draw Cellars, KK Sportsman of Lazy T Bed & Breakfast. KK was already in the tasting room when we arrived. We said hello to everybody and joined KK for a glass of wine. We always have a great time at Lost Draw Cellars ever since we first had a preview before they opened, and this time was no different. After we picked up Gloria’s brother’s wine club shipment, KK decided to join us on our next stop which was Pontotoc Vineyard Weingarten.
Pontotoc Vineyard is open late on a Saturday which makes it nice for those who want to extend their winery visits. We saw owners Carl and Frances Money while sharing an enjoyable bottle of Tempranillo with KK. We were then introduced to another gentleman, Carleton Turner, who is the owner of Gotneaux Creek Vineyard. That has to be my favorite vineyard name ever since a lot of vineyards are named with some kind of creek due to where they are located. We learned Gotneaux Creek supplies Tannat grapes to Pontotoc.
It was time to say goodnight to everybody because Gloria and I had dinner reservations at one of our favorite Fredericksburg restaurants, Cabernet Grill. We always have a great meal paired with Texas wine at Cabernet Grill, and this night was no exception. After a long day, it was time to head back to Compass Rose Cellars and our peaceful casita.
A quiet Sunday morning came and we had our first appointment of the day which was to visit the upcoming Hye Rum distillery. We met Stephanie Houston at the future distillery location in Hye and had a nice visit with her. Unfortunately, with permits and all not being in place, there was no sampling of rum, so we definitely are looking forward to a return visit when they are open early in 2017.
Now it was time for a drive to Comfort which was one of the primary reasons for planning the weekend. Nolan Newsom of Newsom Vineyards was to have the opening of the Newsom Vineyards at Comfort tasting room in Comfort that he and wife Yanmei had been working hard to finish by Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, the TABC did not come through, so Nolan was unable to sell any wine. There were two solutions for a partial taste of Newsom wine though.
The first was nearby Comfort tasting room for Bending Branch Winery, Branch on High, who Nolan had worked with to offer two of his wines for tasting in a flight including a Newsom Vineyards wine made by Bending Branch. We enjoyed a tasting of the Newsom Wines and the Ursa Vineyards wines by Bending Branch. We had yet made it to the Newsom tasting room, so we went there to see what was occurring. The second choice for Newsom wine tasting was some friends of the Newsoms had bought a number of the Newsom wines from Branch at High and offered them complimentary to whoever wanted to try them.
We saw Nolan and Yanmei followed by a tour of the tasting room. There is still work to be done but Nolan promised that when the TABC comes through, he will have it ready. He was hoping for just a few weeks for that to happen, but who knows. We will definitely have to come back when the tasting room opens.
The rest of the day had been unplanned, so it was time to quickly check to see what wineries we may not have been to recently or who might be open later on a Sunday on a three day holiday weekend. We knew we had to end up at Compass Rose Cellars where we were staying, plus we wanted to end the day there and relax. The next stop on the way back was Inwood Estates Vineyards – Fredericksburg. Winemaker/owner Dan Gatlin had just finished pressing grapes and was on a run to the store, so we enjoyed a tasting with his wife/co-owner Rose Mary Gatlin. If you have not had the enjoyment of tasting Inwood Estate wines, you definitely need to. The next time I am in Fredericksburg, I plan on doing the “Taste With The Winemaker” tasting if it is still available at that time.
Heading back through Stonewall, we had to stop at Kuhlman Cellars for a glass of wine, and of course see Jeremy Wilson, tasting guide and a member of Texas Wine Lover. He recently wrote a new course offered by Texas Wine Lover called “How to Taste Wine Like a Pro,” so you will definitely want to check that out. As most people, we love the almonds offered at the winery, and we were surprised to see what I called a super-mega sized jar of almonds! Jeremy said they were going to be offered for a limited time, but one jar certainly came home with us! While enjoying a glass of wine in the new adjacent Wine Garden tasting room, we looked to see if we had time to visit another winery. We decided we did, so we finished our glass of wine and headed back to Hye.
On the way, Gloria called to make an appointment with Calais Winery. We were able to make the appointment and arrived just as the previous party of tasters were leaving. Tasting guide and friend Sheri Pattillo greeted us and set us up for a tasting of Benjamin Calais’ four wines at the tasting bar. Ben was handling a tasting in the back of “the cave” while we were tasting up front. During our tasting and to our surprise, from the back came Stephanie Houston who we had just met earlier that day at Hye Rum. It should not have come as too much of a surprise though since she is partners with Ben on the upcoming Hye Rum. After our visit, it was time to head “home” for the night.
Back at our casita at Compass Rose, we dropped off our purchases and walked up to the tasting room. It was time for the new tasting menu which included the new wines introduced the previous night for the wine club. Needless to say, the wines were very good and by then we were ready for some food, so we ordered a flatbread pizza. We must have been hungry because we ended up buying a second! We enjoyed the sunset on the Compass Rose patio which soon turned into darkness and it was very relaxing. Both Mark Watson and Charles Green do a fantastic job with the hospitality at Compass Rose, doing anything to make sure everybody is happy and having a great time.
We walked back to our casita and sat on the back patio enjoying the stargazing. It certainly makes a difference when you are away from the city lights to be able to see the stars in the night. The night ended for us after another tiring day, and even though we had spent just two days of the three day weekend, they were full days, and we were completely content at the end.