Winemaker Patty McNeil came down from her scenic vineyard and winery on Canyon Lake. This winery has limited hours -- Patty still holds down a normal job in addition to making wine and running the winery -- so I was glad they were in attendance. Sean and I tasted their bronze medal Meritage and the gold medal Cabernet Franc. These reds were brilliant with strong fruit and earthy flavors. I was impressed and can't wait for a visit.
Kerrville Hills Winery
Kerrville Hills paired up with ARC Tours to bring a selection of whites and reds. I tried their dry and fruit forward Blanc du Bois and the deep, rich Cabernet Sauvignon; these wines were strong and balanced. I was also encouraged to come out and see their beautiful tasting room.
Vineyard at Gruene
Operations Manager Wendy Wolf was at the show to introduce the crowd to one of the newest area wineries (in Gruene near New Braunfels). They brought two stand out reds, the Guadalupe Valley Red and 1190 Gruene Road. The more traditional 1190 blend was solid and strong; the Guadalupe blend that uses more Texas friendly grapes was interesting and complex. I am eager to seek out this exciting new winery very soon.
This more northern and eastern vineyard came a long way to showcase some of the most interesting options at the show. Winemaker R. L. Winters walked me through his wines and discussed a bit of his research, especially his work on the Black Spanish Grape. This winery showcased a number of US hybrid grapes and wine, such as Blanc du Bois and Chambourcin. The Chambourcin was the most interesting, providing some fascinating variations and wines. This wine had a wonderful strawberry nose that was accentuated in one wine by the addition of strawberry extract (bringing out a natural undertone of strawberry). Winters' love for the wines was infectious, making a vineyard visit a must (when I finally get out of my little area).
Shannon brought a few Pedernales label wines (the 2010 Tempranillo was soft and rich) and a number of the fun Armadillo's Leap wines. I love the fact that Pedernales has been making a concerted effort to encourage Texas wine drinking in San Antonio. Bringing the accessible Armadillo's Leap and the newer Tempranillo did get many new fans. The best thing for most of us is that these wines can be found a local retailers at good prices; Specs carries them, and in San Antonio, Vinously Speaking has them as well. Unfortunately, these are not available at the winery.
I spent much of my visit just visiting these five spots, and it was well worth it. The increasing appearance of Texas wines in San Antonio is a good sign, one I hope to see more of in the future.