Monday, May 21, 2012

Winery Adventure Day Two

On Sunday, my husband Sean and I visited the rest of the Northern Hill Country wineries: Perissos, Pillar Bluff, and Texas Legato. It was a magnificent day full of surprises.

Surprise one wasn't wine related. We had about an hour and a half to find something to do, so we thought we would stop by Inks Lake State Park. Upon entering, the first person we met actually used to live close to where we do. We chatted about home for a bit; our area of San Antonio has changed rapidly over the last twenty years (something both Sean and I have seen). And for me, a resident of over 30 years, it has REALLY changed. After that, we went out to the Devil's Waterhole to hike. This spot along the the lake is extraordinary. The rock formations and views were breathtaking. And the crazy lizards along the rocks were fun as well. I wish we had been better prepared and had more time; this place is well worth an extended visit (and it is just down the road from Perissos).

At Perissos, we met Ray who walked us through a terrific tasting. I have to say that I am always impressed by wineries that focus on their own grapes, or have close relationships with the vineyards they buy from. Ray was very nice and knowledgeable about the wines and the grapes, always a serious plus. Of course, the wines were great; it was easy to tell that the entirety of Perissos is truly invested in each bottle. The few whites they had were nice, but the reds were "knock your socks off" good. While there, we attracted quite a crowd -- there were three other tasting groups that showed up just after us at opening on a Sunday. We also watched some of the labeling of new bottles. And the visit wasn't complete without the attention of two of the largest, friendliest, most laid back wine dogs I ever met -- Charlie and Baron.

We moved on to the two twin wineries -- Pillar Bluff and Texas Legato. Each owned by one of a pair of identical twins, these wineries provided a great diversity and selection of wines (more on them in a later post, as their story reminds me of the Drops of God twins). It is a MUST to visit both.

We started at Pillar Bluff where we met Heather. Now, this is when coincidence catches up with us. Heather, like Sean and I, was an English major at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and we were all there at the same time. It was nice to chat with a fellow Runner, and it was great to talk about classes and professors (especially since I have since joined the ranks). Heather also told us all about Bill -- the owner at Pillar Bluff -- and Gill -- the owner at Texas Legato. Suffice it to say, we lingered quite awhile chatting and learning about an owner who is invested heart and soul into his wine -- no wonder some family friends are close to the folks at Pillar Bluff. Oh, and the '09 Double Gold Merlot is absolutely incredible; these folks have crafted a great Merlot.

When we went around the corner to Texas Legato, we were in store for a real treat. It was packed, but only because the staff and friends were there helping with bottling. We were treated to a quick lesson in small production bottling -- from cleaning out the bottles, filling them, corking them, and sealing them. Squishing into the small and packed back room was wonderful. But so were the wines. They won me over with their Malbec -- one of my favorite varietals -- but the Family Reunion and the port were also big winners. My husband is an avid port drinker, but me, not so much. Occasionally, I find a port I can sip at some. Well, the port at Texas Legato was so smooth and light compared to most; I found it very delightful.

This day was one full of fun and new friends -- the very reason I got so into wine and started this blog. And despite the distance, I will definitely be making future visits. The wine is worth it, but the new friends were even better.

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