Friday, December 26, 2014

Looking Back to Look Forward: Fly Gap December 2014

I am returning to the blog. My worked quickly filled November and December. However, my three short weeks of vacation has begun, so I am returning to these pages. And it so happens, that the following post is another return.

The clouds seemed to break for us, as we sat down at the picnic table to drink wine and catch up. A chilly breeze blew along the open fields in Mason County. The collection of buildings around us were transforming, slowly developing from dream into reality. This day was very different from the day in early June when I first stepped foot here. As 2014 draws to a close, I see growth and a bright future for Fly Gap Winery.
Mason Punch and Johnny Rojo

In June, Brock Estes allowed me to see his dream. We road through the hills along sandy, red dirt roads to see a place ripe for new life. When we finally arrived at the location that would soon be his winery and tasting room, I looked out on a clean block that would one day become a statue. The production facility had no siding, just an ever developing foundation of concrete vats that, one day, would flow with Mason County grapes. The future tasting room was filled with a collection of many pasts, not yet ready to become a future. The cellar was a roof and three walls with a rough dirt floor. But, I knew that this was only the beginning.

Concrete Vessel, June 2014
Just six months later, the form has begun to take shape. It is rough yet, but it shows signs of what is to be. The production facility now has siding and is better prepared to protect the wine. Boxes of the newest wine fill the space. This wall of white cardboard holds something precious: Brock's first 100% Mason wine and the first to be bottled on the premise. The cellar dives deep into the red earth, on schedule to begin its next phase. The tasting room has begun to let its memories go, and in it is the future back bar.

Production Facility, December 2014
Despite the cold breeze, Brock, my husband Sean, and I sat outside to take everything in. We sipped on the last release – Johnny Rojo – enjoying its growth since the late summer. This wine has begun to mature. It has relaxed into itself, softening its rougher edges and growing more harmonious. This wine lulled us into forgetting that it was December, its warmth a relaxing touch.

Mason Punch, front
And we tasted the newest wine – Mason Punch. This wine is special. The four previous wines, though made from Texas fruit, do not bear the name Fly Gap. These four wines are Dank. The Fly Gap name is reserved for those wines born in Mason County. Mason Punch is only the first. But it is young, much like the ever changing landscape of the winery. On that day, a youthfulness, new spring life, moved through the blend of 44% Touriga and 56% Tempranillo. The dusky terroir was quiet, and the fruit engaged in a frenetic dance. In the bottle, a dream is taking shape. But much like the world around it, it is finding its way.
Mason Punch, back
The sun moved across the sky; we were reminded that it was the shortest day of the year. We let the day slip by: witnessing a dream take shape does that. So we gathered up our wines – the maturing Johnny Rojo and the youthful Mason Punch – and set out into the setting sun.

Note: We all noticed a greenness to the newest wine, indicating that it may yet be too young to drink. However, there is a lot of potential, so we brought a few bottles home and plan to let them age a bit.

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