Texas wine lovers in north Texas have a couple more reasons to visit McKinney with the opening of two new tasting rooms in the historic district over the past year. The opening of 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery’s second tasting room and Baron Creek Vineyards’ fourth tasting room add to the selection of wine available downtown which is also home to Landon Winery and Lone Star Wine Cellars. Both tasting rooms offer a diverse range of wines and fun atmospheres to enjoy with friends and family.
4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery | McKinney, Texas
With its ranch and winery located in Muenster, 4R’s new McKinney tasting room is the company’s first satellite location. Located next door to Harvest restaurant, which also maintains a strong Texas wine list, the 4R Ranch tasting room is a casual location to grab a bottle of Texas-crafted wine.
Long and narrow, the tasting room provides a variety of seating options for individuals and small groups. Well-lit with a homey feel, photos of the ranch are hung throughout the space to bring a sense of the property in Muenster into the tasting room. A curated selection of local products and artwork is also on display and available for purchase.
Crafted by winemaker Anthony Mosley, 4R offers approximately 20 wines across a wide range of traditional styles, as well as interesting dessert wines and unique options such as the Bullberry, a wine made from blueberries sourced from the region. Four pre-set tasting flights of five wines each, curated by style, are available to explore based on your preference. Guests may also customize their own wine flights. Wines include Texas-grown wines, as well as wines crafted in Texas from grapes sourced from other regions. Small bites including charcuterie boards, locally sourced pizzas, and gelato are also available.
I had the pleasure of tasting with Anthony who noted that while he prefers to source grapes exclusively from Texas, reduced yields over the past three harvests have forced him to look elsewhere for quality fruit. However, when he does work with fruit from outside of Texas, he only sources hand-picked grapes so that he can have complete control over the winemaking process from fermentation through finishing at the winery in Muenster. Mosley prefers to have a restrained hand during the winemaking process to not overshadow the inherent characteristics of the grapes he uses and fine-tunes his wines early in the production process so that each wine is ready to drink upon release.
I enjoyed the dry red flight and was also given the chance to taste two dessert wines. I was impressed with all the wines and found them to be approachable yet complex.
- Malbec – Sourced from outside of Texas, this wine displays purple hues. Medium(+) bodied, with rich dark fruit notes and grippy tannins. This wine is very yummy.
- Ranch Red – A very easy-drinking red blend aged in neutral barrels. It is red fruit dominated, medium-bodied, and possesses a smooth, round finish.
- 2019 Syrah – This wine has a vibrant aromatic profile of chocolate and cherries. A beautiful ruby in color, this medium-bodied wine has flavors of cherry, cranberry, and tootsie roll. The tannins are well-integrated, providing both structure and a luxurious texture.
- 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon – A medium-bodied Cabernet, this wine is loaded with dark fruit flavors and finishes long. The grainy tannins make this a bolder choice.
- 2020 Petit Verdot – Inky purple in color, this full-bodied wine displays classic varietal characteristics including purple flowers, blue and purple fruit, and prominent tannins.
- Cream Portejas – A unique wine infrequently seen among Texas producers, this wine is golden in color and highly aromatic. It is rich but not thick on the palate. Flavors of apricot, ripe yellow apple, pecan, and toffee make this sherry-style wine a great option to pair with pecan pie.
- 2020 Chocolate Portejas – A delicious expression of Texas port, this ruby-style port is young and vibrant but not too sweet. It possesses richness with notes of cherry, strawberry, and red apple skin.
While this visit focused on reds, I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed 4R’s Albariño and Roussanne (a favorite of Mosley), both of which are crafted from Texas-sourced grapes. Whether you’re a white wine drinker, mostly enjoy reds, or prefer life on the sweeter side, you’ll find multiple wines that will please your palate at the new 4R tasting room in McKinney.
Barons Creek Vineyards | McKinney, Texas
The Barons Creek Tasting Room and Wine Lounge located just off the square in downtown McKinney has been a hub for good times since opening in March 2022. With a beautifully designed interior, friendly staff, and a large patio, it’s easy to see why. The Barons Creek assortment of wines is distinctive and multiple seating areas give guests the choice to enjoy both informal and more intimate experiences.
Guests enter the tasting room through the covered patio space which is itself a huge draw for visitors. This three-sided outdoor lounge is equipped with comfortable seating, fans, patio heaters, and an entertainment wall, making it a functional space all year round. As a McKinney resident, I frequently find this outdoor lounge to be alive with activity most days. This versatile patio serves as a great spot for casual evening sipping, weekend meetups with friends, and even a relaxed atmosphere to watch football.
Inside, the tasting room is clean and modern with an upscale design that still feels cozy and welcoming. Guests are invited to sit at multiple bar tops, plush chairs and sofas, or high tops in an elegant side room that also doubles as a private event space. Walk-ins are welcomed but you may also make a reservation in advance. Note however that there is a strict policy requiring all visitors to be 21+.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Chris, one of the tasting room managers, and Mary, a wine-savvy associate. Both were very hospitable and presented the wines knowledgeably as they guided me through a flight of white, rosé, and red wines. Two different flights were being offered, including a selection of five wines mixed across styles, as well as a red wine only flight. As a special perk, Club Members also are provided access to an exclusive flight featuring some of the winery’s newest releases. You can also enjoy Barons Creek’s assortment of roughly twenty wines by the bottle or glass. Sales have been so strong in recent weeks that some items were temporarily out of stock, however, the wine team did a good job of recommending comparable substitutes. Barons Creek wines are sourced from various locations including California, Washington, Texas, and even Spain, where winemaker D. Russell Smith owns vineyards and crafts wines for the Barons Creek label for import, in addition to those he makes at the winery’s production facility in Fredericksburg.
In addition to wine, the tasting room also includes a full-service kitchen preparing flatbreads and light tapas such as a hummus platter, charcuterie, and a crostini trio. I was informed that the team is currently revising the menus and expects to introduce new items soon. The tasting room can be reserved for private events and features live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Wine education classes will also be added in the new year to offer curious winos an opportunity for a deeper dive into the world of wine alongside a wine educator.
Below are my thoughts on the wines I discovered on the mixed wine flight which had a great amount of diversity. Overall, the visit was a great experience and I look forward to returning in the future.
- 2021 Albariño – Sourced from California, this light-bodied wine is dry and crisp with citrus-dominated flavors of lemon and lime zest. A bright and refreshing wine.
- 2021 Chardonnay – Sourced from California, this medium-bodied wine shows notes of yellow apple, pear, cream, and flint. It is a balanced expression of California Chardonnay.
- 2021 Rosé – This wine crafted from Washington state fruit was a personal favorite. It was floral with sweet red fruit aromas. Dry on the palate but with ripe fruit flavors that gave this wine a juiciness that made it very easy drinking. Medium-bodied, with flavors of red apple, strawberry, and cherry, it finished round. Yum!
- 2021 Barbera – Crafted from Texas-grown fruit, this lean red was an easy drinker with aromas and flavors of cherry, cranberry, and raspberry. Very dry on the palate.
- 2021 Boots – Crafted from Texas-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, this medium-bodied wine displayed herbal notes of sage, bell pepper, blackberry, and licorice. Medium-bodied with prominent tannins, this wine is a lighter, less oaked expression of Cabernet. This wine is also sold in a charity bottle, with a portion of proceeds going to a select charity each year. (This wine was substituted for a California Cabernet Sauvignon that is typically on the mixed wine flight).
- NV Rosé Cava – Crafted from grapes sourced from winemaker D. Russell Smith’s vineyards in Spain. This sparkler was fruity with the slightest hint of sweetness and flavors of juicy red fruits. A very crushable sparkling wine that is perfect for any occasion. (This wine was an extra pour, courtesy of the wine team).