Monday, May 12, 2014

Wineries - Top Ten List

Roger here....  During the past five years we have visited some very interesting wineries.  Some had wines that we liked.  Some had great atmospheres. Some had both.  This top ten list includes our favorite winery visits from the past five years of travel in our motor home.

Before taking a look at the list, it is important to know that we are not wine connoissuers.  We do know what we like, but do not have well-developed palates that can recognize all those hints of flavor that afficionados boast about.  We tend to prefer most red wines with the exception of pinots.  Cabs are not our favorite, but as our tastes have changed, we are developing a taste for them.  Dianne and I really like the chiantis and sangioveses that some people do not like.  Here goes:

1.  Grape Creek Winery.  Fredericksburg, Texas.

 Sorry California, but our favorite winery is in Texas.  We stop here every time we visit the Texas Hill Country.  This is the place we go when friends and family visit.  We love the blended red wines here.  It is so relaxing to sit outside....

... in the Texas sun with a glass of wine while listening to live music.

Jeff Wood performed during our most recent visit.  We bought one of his CDs before leaving.   Talented young man.

2.  Rotta.  Paso Robles, California.

OK.  Here we are in California.  Our friends, Jay and Nancy, treated us to a limo winery tour during our short time together in Morro Bay.  The wines were the stars at Rotta (as well as the personable lady who poured our samples).  We bought several bottles of our favorites including an amazing dessert wine that we poured over ice cream.  Yum.

3. Desert Wind.  Prosser, Washington.

We had heard that the Yakima Valley of Washington had excellent wine.  We spent a couple of days there for that specific reason. 
We liked the wines at Desert Wind so much that we ordered a case of Sangiovese and a case of Ruah (a red blend) after we returned to our winter home in Texas.

Dianne enjoyed the gift shop here, as well.  Take a look at the orange disk on top of the wine glass on the table.  It is called a wine tapa.  It works very well protecting wine from the pesky gnats that often hover over our glasses.  I don't need insects as a source of protein.  With wine I would rather have cheese or chocolate :-)

4. Cap Rock Winery.  Lubbock, Texas.

We are members of a club, Harvest Hosts.  This club allows us to park our motor home over night in selected member wineries and orchards.  On our way through the Texas Panhandle we spent a quiet night at the Cap Rock Winery.  We were surrounded by cotton fields and were the only people there.  We had the undivided attention of the man who poured our free wine samples.  We liked the wine.

Dianne bought one of her favorite t-shirts here.  

I discovered that I really like Sauvignon Blanc, a white wine.  Expanding my horizons!  We enjoyed lounging with glasses of wine under the covered patio.

5 (tie).  Abacela.  Roseburg, Oregon.

Friends from Retama Village, John and Audrey, suggested that we stop here as we traveled from Crater Lake to the Oregon coast.  They said that the tempranillo from this Umpqua Valley winery was excellent.  We arrived a half hour before the sampling room closed.  Glad we made it.  Very tasty.

5. (tie).  Argyle.  Dundee, Oregon

We were with Jay and Nancy touring the Willamette Valley wineries of Oregon when we stopped here.  This winery strongly resembles our last sticks and bricks home in Pendleton, Indiana --- a nice feeling for us.  Argyle specializes in sparkling wines, and they were delicious.  Many have been served at White House dinners by several presidents.

Nancy, Dianne and I spent some quality time strolling through the landscaped gardens while Jay negotiated the purchase of quite a bit of sparkling wine.

7.  Alpha Omega, Napa Valley, California.

We were near Napa and wanted to spend a day visiting a few wineries.  I called my friend Jay for recommendations.  Alpha Omega was at the top of his list.  I now understand why some people pay a lot of money for a great cab.

The drive to the valley was a frustrating one, traffic-wise.  We had stopped at a small grocery to pick up sandwiches for a picnic at the third winery on our list.  We never made it to the third winery.

Instead we opted to enjoy our lunch with a glass of Alpha Omega cabernet sauvignon, and skip the frustrating traffic.

Pretty nice setting.  

We spent more money for two bottles (one to share with Jay and Nancy) than we would normally spend on a case.  Oh well.  The splurge was nice.

8.  Chateau Aux Arc.  Alton, Arkansas.

Early in our travels, we decided to follow the billboards along the highway to the winery region of Arkansas.  

Yes, the winery region of Arkansas!  We stopped at four wineries and discovered that they were built by Swiss immigrants and are among the oldest wineries in the country.  Chateau Aux Arc was our favorite of the four.

9. (tie).  Mountainview Winery and Orchard.  Olathe, Colorado.

This was another Harvest Hosts stop.  We spent the night next to one of the barns after tasting several great wines.

This laid back doggie led us on a long walk through the vineyards and orchards.  Quite the relaxing stop.

9 (tie).  Shelton Winery,  Yadkin Valley, North Carolina.

We were in Mt. Airy (Andy Griffith's Mayberry) and heard that the nearby Yadkin Valley had some good wineries.

The Shelton Winery was our favorite.  Worth a return visit the next time we visit the Blue Ridge Mountains.

9. (tie).  Becker Winery.  Fredericksburg, Texas.

We started the list in the Hill Country of Texas, and that is where we will finish.  Just around the corner from our favorite winery (Grape Creek) the Becker Winery always lures us to visit. Great wines.  Live music. Bucolic setting.

The Pet Picture of the Day is a nostalgic photo of Chaplin.  We miss him so much.  This is how he might have looked had he accompanied us on our wine tastings :-)

Oh, how he loved to lay in lush grass!
Dianne here:  This photo of  Chaplin was taken after we had been traveling for several months in desert states, where all he saw was hardpan, sparse grass, and goat head burrs.  This was the first stop in half a year where he could stretch out and dream about the soft, thick grass he left behind at our former home in Indiana.  Ahhhh!

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Now that is the kind of list I can memorize:)