We stepped off the rustic, rural street of “small town” Mason into a taste of Spain, the Saba Winery tasting room.
Scott Monette greeted us in the brand-new space in a pretty old building on the square in Mason, across the street from the county courthouse. So why is Saba a “taste of Spain?”
Scott’s wife is from Argentina, but most of her family is in Spain. They were married in Seville and have spent much time since then travelling there and falling in love with the country, the food, and the wine. Great big Spanish Reds.
Scott had bought property close to Menard on Dry Creek, a seasonal feeder creek to the San Saba River and had an idea to have it tested to host a vineyard—it is. With that thought, he decided to do some quick, casual research into Texas wines by visiting a local H-E-B and bought every Texas wine. Had he done this ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been a great representation of what Texas is (I’m saying this, not Scott).
The wine that stood out for Scott was a Bending Branch Tannat, and in researching Bending Branch and Tannat, he came across the name: John Rivenburgh. Go figure 😊
John runs an incubator out of Kerrville Hills Winery that helps beginning wineries get established, providing grape sourcing, production, and bottling while they get their vineyards established and production facilities going. John has been working with Scott to produce Saba’s offerings, and they are good.
Our first wine was Two Rivers, a 100% Viognier. The funny story here was that I had been talking to John two days before and mentioned that I wanted to see what he would do with Viognier. He told me to visit Saba Winery in Mason and I could. I told him that we already had a visit to Saba planned, so he told me to tell Scott “Hi.” I told Scott the story as he poured the wine and passed the greeting on. This was a smooth, layered, grapefruit-apricot-spice flavor that prompted me to pull out the tablet and capture it in a Visual Tasting:
Although the 2019 Two Rivers is a single varietal wine, Scott plans to focus on creating Spanish varietal blends, each representing a particular style that he can develop year over year.
Two Rivers, Misión Rosé, Presidio (Red), and Norteño (Red) were the available blends when we visited, but we also got to hear about 5 Hippies, an homage wine to the founders of the “modern” Priorat wine region of Spain.
Scott also told us about their tapas offerings: Spanish cured meats cheeses, almonds, and olives. We decided to return that evening to get the whole experience. We both fell in love with the Manchego cheese, and I really liked the Chorizo and Lomo meats. They paired so well with the Norteño (Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Alicante Bouschet) and its cherry-coffee-tobacco overtones. That’s the wine I purchased to take home.
Saba Winery (and tapas) is another great reason to visit Mason!