It doesn’t take much to convince my wife and I to take a road trip. Libby and I have been known to hop in the car on the spur of the moment for a one- to two-hour drive just to eat a hamburger at a favorite café. So, when I heard about a new winery in Montague called Lonesome Vine, I began looking for an excuse to make the trip. Then along came the clencher: 4R Ranch Vineyards and Winery, only 30 minutes from Lonesome Vine, is now doing a brunch board on weekends? Say no more.
I reserved a table at both 4R Ranch and Lonesome Vine for the Sunday before Memorial Day. Despite a nearly 100% forecast of rain at both destinations, we mapped out our trip on the Texas Wine Lover mobile app and set off late that morning for our nearly two-hour drive from DFW to the Red River Valley.
4R Ranch Vineyard is located on County Rd 477 just 15-minutes north of Muenster, Texas. As you approach the winery on CR477, you pass through the beautiful green meadows and rolling hills of the Red River Valley. The river (and Oklahoma border) are just five miles to the north as the crow flies. Entering the gated property, you continue through the 4R campsite with numerous sites tucked away on wooded grounds overlooking Camp Creek. Going further along up the dirt road you will eventually come to the winery at the top of the hill.
Opened in November 2016, 4R Ranch Vineyard is owned and operated by the Roper family. Legendary winemaker Anthony Mosley joined the team in February 2020, replacing Willem Johnson who left 4R Ranch to follow his dream of opening a winery of his own, Deschain Cellars.
The 4R Ranch tasting room is a spacious building with a high ceiling and long bar stretching the length of the room. As we entered, we were immediately greeted and guided to our seats on the deck just behind the tasting room. The deck is surrounded in lush foliage and extends out to an overlook providing guests with stunning views of the Red River Valley. In spite of the forecast, we had gorgeous weather making the deck the perfect place to spend an afternoon. We ordered the brunch board, two coffees, and a mixed dry wine flight each.
The brunch board is built for two and consisted of toasted baguettes, two small blocks of brie, boiled eggs, ham, delicious blueberry sausages, a yogurt parfait, cherry tomatoes, grapes, and various jams and honey. It was easily enough to satisfy two people. It was especially delicious when paired with the dry wine flights. We enjoyed sampling each morsel as we tasted through each wine in the flight.
Our mixed dry flights consisted of five two-ounce pours consisting of Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño, a Ranch Red blend, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I loved how each was presented in a small jar with covers stamped with the 4R brand logo. I also like that stemware was provided so the wines could be enjoyed in a proper glass. My personal favorites were the Albariño and Ranch Red, but all the wines were very good.
All-in-all the brunch, the wines, the deck, and the views made for a wonderful experience. We will definitely go back soon for a repeat. But alas, it was time to move on. After settling our bill and saying our farewells we started on our next leg of the journey – Lonesome Vine.
Lonesome Vine opened to the public in January 2023, and I have been excited to visit them since it was first announced. I won’t go into details about their background here, but you will want to read about them in Laurinda Thomas’ excellent review. I will say that owners Andrew Tullis and Kristi Abrahamson-Tullis were amazing hosts and went out of their way to make each guest feel welcome. Deets and Gus, the two vineyard dogs, also took a shine to Libby and stuck to her throughout our visit.
We enjoyed hearing Andrew’s story about their experience in getting the vineyard and tasting room established, and I was very impressed by these amazing folks’ knowledge and dedication to excellence. The couple sees themselves as stewards of the land and are committed to holistic and sustainable farming practices. I highly respect and commend that attitude and spirit.
Libby and I each chose a different dry wine selection from the tasting menu so we could each try as many wines as possible. All Lonesome Vine wines are sourced from 100% Texas grapes. As we enjoyed each glass in the tasting, Andrew guided us through a detailed description of the wine’s provenance and development.
Our tasting consisted of the following:
- 2022 Picpoul Blanc
- 2019 Sunny Slopes – a white Rhône blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier.
- 2019 Sassy Bandit – a red Rhône blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, and Petite Sirah.
- 2019 Smitten – a red Rhône blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Grenache, and Mourvèdre.
- 2019 Grenache
- 2019 Tempranillo
- 2019 Uva Vinum – a red blend of Petite Sirah and Tannat.
- 2019 Feisty Gentleman – Zinfandel aged 10 months in French oak and 6 months in bourbon barrels.
Blending is both a skill and an art which has always intrigued me. Although Smitten was not on the tasting menu at the time, Kristi pulled a bottle of Smitten to give us an opportunity to compare it to the Sassy Bandit. Note they are the same blend but with Mourvèdre substituted for Petite Sirah on the latter. It was impressive how that small substitution made each wine a unique experience.
Indeed, all of the wines were impressive. Each of the blends were very well done, and the single varietals showed good typicity while still presenting that unique Texoma terroir and style. In the end, we chose a couple of favorites to take home but the choice was not easy. All the more reason to return.
It will be exciting to watch this young winery as it grows and matures. I’m certain we can expect great things from them to come.
Saying our farewells to this amazing couple, we started our long journey home satisfied that the day was well spent. If you reside in, or find yourself near, the North Texas region, I highly recommend both of these great Texas wineries where you will enjoy good food, great wines, and amazing people. What better way to spend a day?