More and more Texas wineries are providing special wine tasting experiences to showcase their wines and enhance the wine lover’s visit. One of those wineries providing a special experience is 290 Wine Castle which opened last year. The winery’s building is obviously unique with the design of a medieval castle. A castle must have a dungeon, and 290 Wine Castle is no exception.
The Dungeon Experience must be reserved in advance and that can be done on the 290 Wine Castle website. The special tasting is held at certain times on Saturdays and Sundays.
We reserved our tasting for four people in the dungeon during the first opening on a Saturday. Our dungeon guide was Chelsea Chase, the daughter of owners Mike and Monique Chase. We were led to the circular stairway leading to the dungeon and…I’m going to stop there and let you experience the rest of the trip to the dungeon on your own.
As would be expected, the dungeon is very dimly lit and complete with suits of armor. There are various rooms off the large center room. One is for events, and besides the typical candelabra with three taper candles, the outside walls contained storage for the many bottles of wine being stored appropriately in the cooler dungeon. Another room nearby contained a table for enjoying tastings.
After a little explanation of 290 Wine Castle and the dungeon, we were led to our cell which was a long narrow room the width of the dungeon that had multiple four person tables within. After we were seated, the cell door slammed shut! And the moaning from within the walls began… Sorry, I got carried away there.
There was no slamming of the cell doors or moaning, and instead each place setting had multiple wine glasses with a plate and container that looked to be some kind of food. We found out later during the tasting exactly what these were.
During the five wine and food paired tasting, we often did a true blind tasting where we were not told what the wine was that we were tasting. Since the room was dimly lit, the color of the wine did not help determine the varietal, so we had to rely on the aroma and flavor. Each wine was paired with an artisan chocolate, and in addition there were Texas cheeses and handmade jams. Of course, there was an explanation of the wine and the different foods chosen for that wine.
These were the pairings we had:
- Cava with chocolate key lime truffle and 6-month aged cow’s milk cheese and strawberry jam
- Viognier with a dark chocolate spoon
- Sangiovese with a chocolate truffle
- Finca la Beata Babol with chocolate truffle
- Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve with chocolate truffle. This Cabernet was more acid driven instead of tannic driven.
During the tasting, Chelsea explained that 290 Wine Castle has come out with their first Texas wine called Dolcezza XXI, a 2018 semi-sweet Orange Muscat from the Texas High Plains. Dolcezza means sweetness in Italian and is appropriately named and numbered 21 (age) for Chelsea.
The dungeon experience takes approximately one hour. Thankfully at the end, we can say we survived!