On our last trip to the Hill Country, we wanted to spend a day focused on the new wineries that have opened in the Mason County area since our last visit. We weren’t able to visit them all, but we were very impressed with the ones we did. We met Don Pullum – Texas winemaker, consultant, publicist, and aficionado of Mason County vineyards and wineries – for breakfast and plotted our day.
You could miss Art, TX if you don’t pay attention, but then you’d miss a really enjoyable experience. Head east from Mason on Highway 29 and in seven minutes, you’ll be there. Look on your left and go into the Heart of Art General Store and 1900 Winery. Oh, enter in the left-most door – not what looks like a double door in the middle.
What we found inside is a really nice gift shop and art museum…and winery, of course. We met Randy Hinckley, the vineyard owner and grower, and Katherine Hassler, his fiancée, and tasting room manager. We were lucky to catch Randy at the winery and we got to hear his story of his family’s history in Art and plans for the future.
The General Store once belonged to Randy’s great-great-grandfather, already a 3rd generation resident. He was able to pull it back into the family in 2019. Behind the store he has planted a “show” vineyard of Alicante Bouschet – a grape near and dear to Don since he was the first in Texas to grow and make wine from that variety.
The name of the winery comes from Ranch Road 1900, where Randy’s vineyard property is located. Once a home to wild Mustang grapes, the vineyard is now growing Aglianico, Tempranillo, Tannat, Dolcetto, Mourvèdre, and Malvasia Bianca.
The wines that they currently sell (spring 2022) are not estate-grown, but they are Texas High Plains grapes fermented and finished at Perissos Vineyard and Winery by Brent Pape.
Our first tasting was the 2018 HeArt of Gold, a 100% Roussanne. This is a fresh, bright, yet earthy pears, peach rind, and orange pith that opens up to spices. I get a lot of acid, which I like, and makes me want to lay this down to see where it goes.
Here’s an attempt at a Visual Tasting:
Here’s the one that got me, and the grape that I was very impressed with from several wineries: the 2019 Malvasia Bianca. I got a sneak peek of it before Don so I was prepared with my camera.
This wine gushes with pineapple and pear, then it opened up – to me, at least – with a lemon cream. A rich but very clean bouquet and palate. Sweet but not sweeeet. A perfect summer on-the-porch sipper, but share this with friends. They’ll love you even more.
Last on the list is the 2018 Dolcetto: CHERRY! One of my favorite Texas grapes that presents very well here, and we paired it with their special Dolcetto-filled chocolate.
Our last note on 1900: “This was a God calling to have a retreat center to help people through the storms of life using the vineyard as a working ground. Everybody has storms in their life…you’ve either had one, you’re in one, or you have one on the horizon that you aren’t aware of. This is the journey to be obedient in that calling… This is our means to pour it forward into the lives of others one glass or bottle at a time.”
I’m going to leave that there. You need to visit to get the whole story, try the wines, and share in the Heart of Art.
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