Sunday, December 27, 2009

Texas Hill Country Winery Tour

Roger here.... "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille....."

Don't worry, no one is leaving anyone, but the memory of how our day of wine tours ended was highlighted with the refrain of this song by a lonely cowboy playing his guitar in the warm Texas sun. More about that later.

The day began with a three-mile walk with the dogs to the dead-end on the road where our RV resort is located. Our resort, The Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, is located in a quiet area in the Texas Hill Country. There was little to no traffic on the road during the walk through the pastoral rolling hills, other than other walkers and bicyclers from the resort. The topography is like no other place we have been - hills, limestone outcroppings, small streams, scattered live oak trees, and oh that bright, bright sun and beautiful blue sky. It was chilly, actually below freezing, when we left, but by the time we returned we were forced to shed our coats. The "boys" appreciated the long walk since they have been few and far between lately.

After a change of clothes we crated the dogs and headed for the Texas Wine Trail. When we investigated the Hill Country we had heard good things about the wines here. As it turns out, there are fourteen wineries just outside of the town of
Fredericksburg, many of them adjacent to each other. In Texas style, the people who own the wineries consider them to rival and exceed Napa and Sonoma. In fact, they refuse to use anything other than Texas grapes in the wines that they produce, thumbing their noses at California grapes.

In the Hill Country, the people (many of German heritage) celebrate Boxing Day. The result for us was live music, food, and congenial people at each of our stops. Our first stop was at the Becker Vinyards and Lavendar Farm. Becker wines have been served at the White House and have been featured in Wine Spectator and the Food Network. The setting was spectacular in the large limestone building (the one with Dianne standing in the front).
As we were entering a group of people were sitting in a circle doing a "Boxing Day" recitation. Dianne and I wandered to the tasting room (Roger standing by the counter),
where we tasted five wines for $5. (For those of you who have not done a wine tasting, the tastes are just that, a taste - pretty much a couple sips of each selection. We both liked the Syrah, so we bought a bottle to take home and two glasses of wine to enjoy outside with a plate of delicious snacks - the smoked
salmon was s-o-o-o good.

We picked a bench on the porch in a sunny
area where we listened to a live Blues Band and watched other people doing the same. A couple of people brought their dogs (wish we had known it was OK to do this). Dianne had to take pictures of the
Pointer and the very friendly Pit Bull.
By the way, the small cabin
with the windmill in the background is actually part of a bed and breakfast.

Our next stop was the Torre di Pietra Vinyard. (The only picture here was of the front door)
Dianne wanted to sample the Sangiovese Wine that they advertised. Unfortunately, they had sold out, so we did not sample the wines at this vineyard. We needed to pace ourselves, as we planned to make one more stop and did not want to be unsafe. Dianne did sample the apricot jelly and bought a jar. We also bought a string of lighted grape lights that look very festive along the window on the dashboard of our motorhome. A fitting souvineer of our day in the wine country of Texas!

On to our favorite stop, the Grape Creek Vineyards!
The setting, both inside and outside, was along a sprawling replica of a Tuscan Villa.
We did do a tasting here, again for $5, and enjoyed a variety of dry red wines topped off by a small taste of port with chocolate. We both really liked these wines, and though they were more expensive than the wine that we typically buy (in a box :-) ) we purchased six bottles that we only intend to open on special occasions. Our favorites were the Super Tuscan - Bellissimo, and the Mosaic (more expensive) that was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. We are definitely not wine snobs and certainly cannot describe the subtleties of different wines, but we did like these.

We carried our purchase to the car and sauntered back to enjoy a glass of the Bellissimo in the warm Texas sunshine. We picked a spot at one of the picnic tables next to a warm fire
that was blazing in a huge fire pit. A lone musician with his guitar
played his repertoire of cowboy songs as we enjoyed the afternoon. After a short time, two young couples asked if they could join us at the table. (Smoke from the fire was blowing directly at their table). We had a great time talking with them as we enjoyed the atmosphere. They were all graduates of Texas A&M and live near Austin. We kind of hit it off. We talked about Texas, travel, A&M football, Austin, traffic in Austin :( , and other places that we should visit in the Hill Country, for about 45 minutes.
They highly recommended that we visit the town of Luckenbach, which boasts a post office, a famous dance hall, and nothing else other than a famous country song. We'll probably do that tomorrow. We took each other's pictures before they took off for the next winery. Nice kids - friendly people in Texas.

After our young friends left, Dianne took a picture of the beautiful
tile roof and the singing cowboy. I took a picture of the very bright afternoon moon through one of the live oak trees.
Then, it was time to go home to the refrain of the lonely cowboy singing, "You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille....."

We truly love this place. There is a lot to see and do here, and we are falling far behind on posting blogs about our explorations. We intend to do blogs about the resort where we are staying, as well as a blog on "Texasisms."
In addition, we still have a lot to see and do here before we leave. We may be posting every other day for a while, so be sure to scroll back in case you miss one.

1 comment:

Margie and Roger said...

Loved the photos! What a fun day you had touring the wineries. The first photo of the two of you holding your wine glasses is cool. You both look so happy - isn't this RV lifestyle terrific!