Continuing our trip to the Hill Country with our daughter, we made Tuesday our visit to Hye day, with a first stop at William Chris Vineyards. A benefit of a slow weekday is visitors might get to enjoy their tasting in the old farmhouse that’s typically used as their wine club tasting room. We even got to try a few of their Mourvèdre wines side-by-side, seeing how vineyard location and winemaking differences influence the wines. I have to say I always learn something during my tasting there as their staff is well educated about Texas wines. William Chris is currently building a new wine club tasting room on their property at a rapid pace that will have a great view of their estate vineyard.
If we’re in Hye at lunch time, we’re stopping at Hye Market for lunch. It’s tough to pass up those great sandwiches made with top-notch ingredients. Hye Market also offers a great selection of Texas wines and a bit of Texas history as it is located in the old Hye Post Office building.
After lunch we made our way over to Lewis Wines. We got to try a wide variety of their rosé wines, a Verdehlo, a Tempranillo, and a few of their red blends. I always find Lewis’ wines to be thoughtfully made, interesting, and some of the better values among the Hill Country winery offerings. We took a break from winery visits on Tuesday afternoon and spent a little more time strolling Main Street, checking out some of the shops that are new to us, and visiting some old favorites.
We began Wednesday with an early lunch at Emma & Ollie. They’ve been receiving a lot of buzz lately, and we discovered it is well deserved. We had beignets, soft pretzels with a pimento cheese dip, and arancini for lunch with a cinnamon pecan roll to go. Yes, not exactly a typical lunch spread, but it’s okay to break the rules a little while on vacation. Everything was delicious, and we were quickly thinking about what to try on our next visit. Our daughter asked for cinnamon roll several times during the rest of the trip, so it made quite an impression!
Our first winery of the day was 1851 Vineyards, and the first thing we noticed was the growth of their vineyard since our last visit. They are planting vines at a rapid pace! Our tasting flight consisted of a Trebbiano, their LOC White Blend, their LOC Red Blend, a Newsom Tempranillo, and a Reddy Tannat. 1851 now also offers their Estate Tannat, their first estate wine, which won Double Gold at the 2019 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Our next and last winery stop was Lost Draw Cellars. With a solid portfolio of well-made, enjoyable wines, and being located right in Fredericksburg, visiting Lost Draw is an easy choice. They currently offer two tasting flight options; a mix of white, rosé, and red wines, and an all-red wine flight. Lost Draw is another spot with very knowledge staff, so it is a great place for interesting conversation about Texas wine. We had a chance to try their 2019 Counoise Rosé which recently won Silver at the Finger Lakes Wine Competition. It was the first varietal Counoise Texas wine I’ve tried, and I can see this Rhône grape variety being used more alongside the other Rhône grape varieties that are thriving in Texas.
For dinner we switched gears from wine and headed to Altstadt Brewery. Altstadt is located in an impressive Germanesque building a few miles east of Fredericksburg. Altstadt offers a wide variety of German-style beers available by the pint, or guests can build their own flight of four samples. Altstadt isn’t just a brewery. They have a full kitchen that offers a menu of German and American pub food that pairs well with their beers. I built a beer flight and enjoyed their house-made grilled sausage plate. Altstadt also offers tours of their brewery, has an active calendar of events, and has several beers in distribution. Check out their website for the latest.
On Thursday morning we loaded up the car and began our drive back to Houston with a stop at Pieous Pizza near Dripping Springs along the way. Pieous offers Neapolitan-style pizzas, house smoked pastrami, great pastries, and craft coffee and beer all in one spot.
Before the trip, my wife and I wondered how our daughter would do on the trip, and we were glad that she took to our Hill Country road trip like a champ. We got to do what I thought was an ambitious itinerary while keeping everyone happy. Going with a mostly weekday trip to avoid the weekend crowds made for a less stressful trip and a slower, more manageable pace. The one disadvantage was missing some of the newer wineries we wanted to try that aren’t open earlier in the week. We’ll be sure to work out our plan to be able to visit those during our next trip. We made some great family memories while enjoying great Texas wines along the way.