It had been a couple of years since my wife and I made the trip from our home in Houston to Messina Hof in Bryan. We had been itching to take an end of summer day trip, and since a return trip to Messina Hof way was long overdue, we set aside a Friday for a quick escape to Bryan. I often think of Messina Hof as a great spot for events, seeing as they keep a packed calendar, but I had forgotten how good of a relaxing getaway it can be. Messina Hof was the first Texas winery I visited well over ten years ago, so our visit was like an opportunity to catch up with an old friend.
We began our visit with lunch at the on-site Vintage House restaurant. We were fortunate to be seated in the rear dining room which overlooks the estate vineyard, providing a great view during our meal. Our meal started with a complimentary tasting of a selection of Messina Hof’s sparkling wines. I tried the Texas Sparkling Brut and my wife had the Texas Spumante. For lunch I had a burger, and my wife had the charcuterie plate. Our daughter had, big surprise, the chicken fingers from the available kids’ menu. We enjoyed our sparkling wines and meals, and we found the staff to be attentive and accommodating. After a nice lunch that helped up recharge from the hour and a half drive from Houston, it was time to taste some wines.
The main tasting room building houses the tasting room, gift shop, and the wine bar. While regular tasting flights are done at the tasting bar, guests can visit the wine bar for glasses of wine and food from an appetizer menu. My wife and I shared two tasting flights at the tasting bar. Each tasting flight provides five tasting tokens. Most of the wines are one token to taste, while the higher-end Paulo wines are two tokens per taste. Messina Hof offers a large amount of their portfolio for tasting, around 50 wines! We were impressed with the scale of the wines offered for tasting, proving a chance to try a few of their wines we haven’t tried before.
During our visit to the tasting room we tasted:
- Private Reserve Blanc du Bois
- Private Reserve Cabernet Franc
- Private Reserve Tempranillo
- Artist Series Primitivo
- Private Reserve Petit Verdot
- Sagrantino Reserva
- Paulo Sagrantino
- Ebony Ports of Call Port
- Barrel Reserve Port
We enjoyed the wines across the board and felt they well represented the Texas grapes from which they are made. I suggest that visitors try the Sagrantino Reserva and Paolo Sagrantino side-by-side. Messina Hof has championed this grape in Texas, and this side-by-side tasting gives a good view of how well the grape does in Texas. We brought home bottles of the Artist Series Primitivo and Sagrantino Reserva, along with thoughts on wines to get during our next visit or at our favorite Texas wine retailers.
Between tastings, we stepped outside to enjoy the gazebo that overlooks their large pond. Be sure to ask the tasting room staff for some turtle food to feed the turtles in the pond, a fun addition to our visit. Our daughter was in the mood to explore and took my wife for a walk along the trail that surrounds the pond. The outdoor spaces provide a nice place to relax with some wine and will be more enjoyable once we’re past the Texas summer. Time to think about that next visit.