vino

I finally had a three day weekend. Claire and I decided to take full advantage of it too. In early February the Central Texas Wineries get together and do what is called the Wine Lover's Trail, which is basically a self guided tour of all the wineries around the hills of central Texas. However, since Claire and I waited til' the last minute to buy the 30 dollar ticket we missed out on some of the extra treats that you get when you a "official" part of the tour. Howie, Claire's cousin, assured us there would be no need for a ticket and we would be able to taste for free or for a minimal fee at most of the wineries. This ended up being true.

So on Saturday the 7th we loaded up with Howie and Jenny in our Jeep with some crackers, cheese, and no map at all. Luckily Howie has recently become a wine connoisseur and has visited most of the wineries about 5 or so times and has it all mapped in his head.


The first stop was Spicewood Vineyards. The place was pretty nice. Since this was the first time I had been on any wine tasting I didn't really know what to expect. So it was nice to find a relaxing, unpretentious place to sit and chat while tasting. The best wine they had was the Semillon.


After that we headed through the middle of nowhere to McReynolds Wineries where we found one of most entertaining hosts of the whole trip, lots of good chocolates and snacks, and some dogs. Jenny said she judged a winery by how cute the dog they had was. McReynolds is a experience. Wasn't really impressed by the wine but it was fun to listen to this lady talk about everything while tasting.


Next up was Texas Hills Vineyard. They have a incredibly nice building and set up but it was jam packed full of people and so the tasting experience was somewhat rushed. Claire and I have had their Orange Muscat before and it is delicious.

On our way into Fredericksburg we hit up Perdenales Cellars where we debated whether this Buffalo was wearing a blanket or just had a white stripe.


He had a white stripe, it turns out. Becker Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, and Woodrose Winery were also on the way into town. At Becker there was a HUGE! tree by the vineyards. Notice the tiny human being (below the tree) photographing this giant of nature.


I think we did a total of 9 wineries the first day, which I thought was a ton but Howie said he has done more. Like I said he is a pro. Grape Creek was probably our favorite of the day as they had some really good white wines and nice hosts and facilities.


Although it was about 3pm when we got into Fredericksburg no one was hungry for lunch because we had snacked on cheese and crackers while driving. MMM...Beemster Vlaskaas is so good! Once we found our awesome Bed and Breakfast, Das Garten Haus, we unpacked and headed into town to check out some shops.


Our first stop however was for ice cream at The Clear River Pecan Company. They had some fun hats which Howie and I proudly modeled.


More importantly they had tons of varietals of homemade ice cream and all I can say is YUM. We walked around on main street and checked out some of the design stores that Claire enjoys as well as the toy store, dog store, and the famous Rustlin' Rob's gourmet foods.


They have thousands of sauces, jams, dips, etc for the tasting. So even though no one was hungry we managed to eat ice cream and a billion dips. Since we were planning on having a nice dinner later that night at The Nest (reviewed at my other blog) so we tried not to stuff ourselves. Anyways, after wandering around for a bit more we headed to the Fredericksburg Winery on main street where you can taste like 10 wines for free. Howie and I got started on this while Jenny chatted on the phone outside and Claire attempted to go to a store she'd really wanted to visit, Red, which was closed. She joined us eventually. I decided I liked almost every wine they had and so it quickly became one of my favorite wineries.


By this time we are all exhausted so we head to the B&B to chill for a bit. Our dinner spot, The Nest, happened to be across the street from Das Garten Haus so we just walked on over and had a very interesting dinner to say the least. We had steak, scallops, and lamb. Claire just had soup but was satisfied and the soup was actually one of the best plates on the table. The restaurant was nice and tasty but service just wasn't up to par. We were all pretty tired after that so we headed back to our rooms and relaxed, watched some TV, made coffee, snacked on toffee and sat outside on the patio for a bit.

DAY 2
In the morning we got up for our first ever Bed and Breakfast experience. It was incredible actually. The food was superb, most notably the pear baked in cream. We chatted with some other guests for about an hour and enjoyed a relaxing morning with coffee and incredible food. There is just something about rolling out of bed in your pajamas and walking down to a table prepared with delicious homemade food.


As the everyone got ready Claire and I took photos of our B&B. Then we headed north to visit another 4 wineries before heading home.


We visited Fall Creek Vineyards which really is in the middle of nowhere but they had some really cheap, good wines. After that we dined gourmet at Dairy Queen. At Alamosa Wineries we stopped and hung our for a while. We bought a bottle and drank it out on the patio. The wind was like west Texas and was blowing 100 miles an hour. It was still nice to take it slow rather than rush from winery to winery.


We visited two more wineries, Texas Legato and Pillar Bluff, before the day was over. Pillar Bluff had the most amazing blue cheese dip. It outshone all of their wines. Howie has the recipe and someday we will have to re-create it.

We finally headed home after a whirlwind of a two day trip. Having Howie as a guide was fantastic as we didn't really have to worry about finding the places. He only had us take a few wrong turns, which only resulted in minor bickering.


It was a lot of fun to taste and learn about all the different grapes and the wine making process. I would probably take it a bit slower next time and just do a few select wineries and hang out in Fredericksburg. I had a blast just hanging out with Claire, Howie, and Jenny. We fought over Buffalo in blankets, wrong turns, Howie going paparazzi, whether Claire wants salad or not, and probably a multitude of other things. Those little things are what make trips like this so much fun and so memorable though. It is great to get to do things like this with good friends because you can always go back and laugh at the demanding waitress or the crazy wine hostess. The wine, the company, the food, and the Texas countryside were all great. I can't wait till the next time around.

6 comments:

Summer said...

Sounds like a great getaway!

elizabethcarroll said...

Jealous. I'm ready for a weekend off from normal life!

And the Oreo cows (or buffalo, or whatever it is)! I see those when I'm driving sometimes I freak out because they look like Oreos! I always point them out to people.

We've only been to two or three of the local wineries, Spicewood being one of them. Can't say Texas wines get me very excited (but, um, I'm kinda comparing them to our 1st anniversary in Sonoma, so take that with a grain of salt), but I do like the Becker Iconoclast. . .

Glad you guys had such a great weekend! :)

Sara said...

Looks like fun! I've always wanted to try a wine tasting tour.

And Claire, I LOVE that necklace - so pretty :)

susan j. said...

we honeymooned at lake buchanan & drove our jetskis right under the falls of fall creek vineyards! we also popped by the burnet HEB for a selection of local wines - fall creek & sister creek were our favorites. next time you're out i suggest heading a little further south to visit sisterdale, its just north of boerne.
one of the most difficult things about living outside the state of texas is finding good texas wines... we're having to adjust.

Claire said...

@Summer - yes, yes it was. Wish it were longer.

@Beth - I emailed you. Lol.

@Sara - y'all should go for a weekend getaway sometime when they do one of the wine trails...it's fun! Or..just on your own. It's pretty darn cheap really. We probably got away with spending maaaybe $35-40 on tastings at 13 wineries. Not bad.

And the necklace - I like it too. My new favorite accessories store, lol. Bealls. There's one right by our house and they've always got stuff on like 90% off sale. I got that necklace for $2.44, I believe.

@Susan - Oh man - the jetskiing under the falls sounds cool. Although, this year..there aren't really any falls due to the whole NO RAIN ALL YEAR thing. Lol.

You'll have to pick up some wines when you visit! (:

knack said...

claire,

I didn't put two and two together .... thanks for reminding me!!

I'm even more impressed that your hubby was responsible for the food.... I somehow missed that part! :)

I love these pics they remind me of Napa valley in CA near where I grew up.......

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