Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Grape Stomp 2012, Day One?

The grape stomp season is in full swing, so I decided to enjoy the first day of Hill Country festivities by visiting Pedernales Cellars and William Chris Vineyards for their stomps (they will continue the fun on August 25 & 26). Sean and I revisited some fine wines and felt the grapes squish between our toes.

Both stomps I attended were relatively low key. Pedernales enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, especially groups, as they headed out into the field to leave their purple foot prints. Despite the numbers, the stomp was not the focus there; the wine and enjoyment of the slightly cooler weather on the porch seemed to predominate. When we arrived at William Chris, Hye Society members seemed to be most enjoying the stomp -- we ran into some familiar faces while stomping. The clam day allowed us to unwind and relax as we caught up with people we hadn't seen in awhile.

Stomping at Pedernales

At Pedernales: A Texas tub of Tempranillo

At Pedernales, an old claw-foot tub was filled with Tempranillo. We had to wait a bit, as when we prepared to stomp, they needed to bring out some new grapes. The wait seemed to go on, but it was well worth it. Before stomping, we got a chance to try some of the Tempranillo. The grape was rich and full. Though not as juicy as the Tannat I had at Bending Branch several weeks ago, the flavor was wonderful. It coated my mouth with a deep fruitiness that hinted at spice. Sean commented that he never expected the grape to hint so much at the wine (one we had just enjoyed with a picnic on the porch).

Finishing my stomp

Sean leaving his prints

The great taste wasn't the only benefit gained from waiting. The new grapes were cool and full. As I stomped, the grapes enveloped my feet in a cool veneer that was quite enjoyable. The grapes squishing between my toes and the exfoliation of the seeds made the stomp a pleasurable experience.

My big purple foot prints

The steady stream of stompers continued to gather out under the trees in sight of the porch, waiting for their turn to stomp. The music from the porch made its way down to the trees, providing a soundtrack for the stomping. In fact, it was unusually pleasant. A light cloud cover and breeze kept the heat at bay. I almost forgot it was August.

Stomping at William Chris

The juicy grapes at William Chris

We were greeted by what seemed like everyone at William Chris and made our way to the stomp by the barrel rooms. Under the awning, we stomped a mixture of Cabernet grapes and store bought grapes (they had few grapes to use for the stomp, so they made it last by adding a little extra). I got lost in the conversation as I stomped, but I did concentrate just enough. Knowing that store bought grapes don't make the best imprint, and after viewing some weak prints from previous stompers, I made sure to crush the Cabernet, stomping up and down the metal tub of grapes. Sean thought I was being silly, but the proof was on the shirt; my prints came out clear and strong.

Beginning to stomp

The humidity was rising, and so despite the cloud cover, it was getting warm; in fact, Andy (who helped me stomp) was already getting a bit red from the heat. We escaped inside for the tasting. The rooms were packed with tasters. Just like at Pedernales, the guests were much more interested in the wine. We had to wait for our tasting, but it was well worth it again. We had a chance to see some of the work on the expansion taking place, but then we got an entire tasting bar to ourselves. We lingered over the tasting, chatting with our steward.
My prints
 We ended our day early so we could go to dinner. Though we could have pushed on to Texas Hills (they will continue stomping August 25-26) for one more stomp, we quickly turned home -- I had scored some great dinner reservations for the Culinaria Restaurant Week in San Antonio (which runs until through Saturday, August 25). We left behind a sky heavy with rain clouds yet not yet raining to head for dinner. We hope to be back for the Becker stomp (Aug 25-26 and Sept. 1-2), and maybe even Chisholm Trail or Westcave. Even if we don't make it, we have the perfect wardrobe for next month's wine club pick-up parties.

Upcoming Stomps

1 comment:

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