While exploring the newly opened Graveyard Vineyards in Dripping Springs, we couldn’t help but notice – there are TWO wineries, side by side, featuring California wines! We just had to venture next door to check out Parmeson Wines, a boutique winery making elegant California wines in small lots from growers in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Sonoma Valley. We were greeted at the door by our friendly wine steward, Kristin, but soon were joined by none other than Tom Parmeson, winemaker and owner.
From the tasting menu of seven wines, we chose the following four to share (which were generous pours) and received a little extra education from Tom:
- 2017 Pinot Noir, Jack Hill Vineyard (Sonoma) – a cooler climate means red cherry, cranberry, and cedar with soft tannins
- 2017 Pinot Noir, Wildcat Mountain Vineyard – a micro-climate of early morning fog and late morning breezes on the Sonoma coast leads to flavors of warm baked cherries, plums, and cherry cola. Note: same grape as the previous wine, different vineyards, and totally different wines!
- 2016 Zinfandel, Alegria Vineyard – old vines produce a beautiful wine with black cherry, stewed plum, and vanilla bean notes. This one is a blend of mostly Zinfandel with Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet.
- 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Munselle Vineyard in Alexander Valley – blackcurrant pie, baking spices, vanilla with soft tannins
Those on the tasting menu that we did not try were:
- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Indian Springs Ranch Vineyard
- 2018 Rosé, Sonoma (Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Malbec)
- 2016 Chardonnay, Josephine Hill Vineyard (grapes from two areas of the vineyard yielding different flavors)
We loved all of the wines, but the Wildcat Mountain Pinot Noir came home with us!
Tom got started in the winemaking business when he realized his passion for wine after a visit to California. Five years of working in the vineyards during harvest on his vacation time and many classes later, he was permanently hooked on the idea of making his own wine. He moved his young family from Houston to California to build relationships with the growers and winemakers of Sonoma and has never looked back. Tom has long-standing relationships with the growers he buys his grapes from, likening them to family.
In the summer of 2019, he moved his wife Katie and three sons back to Texas to open Parmeson Wine in Dripping Springs next to a stone cutting business that shares a small piece of land and a winding drive with the tasting cottage. Across from the cottage are cut stone statues and art that make for a delightful stroll with a glass of wine; he invited us to visit again and experience that at sundown.
Tom showed me around the small building that provides them with storage upstairs, as well as a small and intimate events room that also functions as a wine tasting room for groups of six or more. No food is available for purchase, but there is seating outside in a beautiful setting looking out over the sculpture garden. Parmeson Wine is dog-friendly, too.
Although Parmeson Wines has only been open since August of 2019, a quarterly wine club is offered with three or six bottle commitments along with discounts on wine purchases and logo merchandise, as well as club-only events and complimentary tastings. A six-bottle club is available for California wine club members.
The California contingent in elegant wine is well-represented by Parmeson, and though we love Texas wines for all they bring to the table, this small family-owned winery makes for a sweet addition to our Central Texas wine explorations – we will be back!