Friday, June 14, 2019

Spend Father's Day in Gruene!

June is here and most Dads believe that it’s more like Fathers’ WEEKEND, not Father’s DAY.
Whether he’s a music man or a sommelier in disguise, Father’s Day weekend is best spent in Gruene!

For the Dad who likes to have fun in the sun- floating the Guadalupe River is a must! And after the float, head up the hill to Gruene Hall. There you’ll find free shows inside Texas’ oldest dance hall like Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs on Saturday and the Guy Forsyth Band on Sunday. If he’s a fan of Reckless Kelly, the show starts at 8 on Friday and 9 on Saturday. Advanced tickets are recommended as it’s liable to sell out.

The Grapevine offers a more relaxed setting for Dad to sit and sip fine Texas wines. With free live music all weekend in the Grapevine Garden and a wide range of Texas wines and craft beers, there's no shortage of food and drink to keep him entertained. You might even be able to distract the kids with one of their Boar’s Head cheese plates!

No weekend is complete without delectable food and some Gruene area eateries have recently shaken up their menus. Cantina Del Rio has a new El Rey platter- a twist on the burger favorite, with a cheese topped beef patty, all the fixings, and a to die for homemade ranchero sauce to satisfy cravings. If you’re headed to Mozie’s  start with the new Double Dip (guac and jalapeno pimento cheese with tortilla chips to dip!) and a cold draft beer. Trust us, Dad will be thrilled! If you plan on celebrating with the entire family, Gristmill is the perfect place to enjoy outdoor dining with a vista of the lush foliage and river views. Be sure to order their fall off the bone ribs and an ice cold Shiner for Dad!

And for all you procrastinators out there…
You are sure to find a gift between the likes of the Gruene Hat Company, Gruene Outfitters, and the many specialty vendors on the lawn at Adobe Verde for Gruene Market Days. Market Days are open all day Saturday and Sunday. Why not bring out your Dad and let him mosey around and pick out his gift! From clothes to wood working and leather goods to Texas beef jerky and cigar box guitars, there’s something for every kind of Dad at Gruene Market Days.

If you’re not lucky enough to live nearby, why not hop online and purchase a gift card valid at Gruene area businesses- Cantina del Rio, Mozie’s, Gristmill, and The Grapevine! You can give Dad the gift of a road trip. He’ll be thrilled! Just imagine the good times and great stories that you’ll have after a weekend spent in Gruene!

We’ll see you soon!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Rosé in May

By: Connor Brown
The Grapevine in Gruene

There’s never a better time for a glass of wine than in the sunshine. Fortunately we’ve finally reached the month of May, which means summer is just around the corner. However, this leaves many of us with a tough decision on our patio pounding preferences.

Pedernales Rosé is a wonderful Rohne style rosé made in Fredericksburg, Texas. Made of Carignon and Mourvedre, this lovely wine has beautiful balance between its full body and its crisp acidity. Notes of strawberry and red fruit on the nose forecast a bright flavor profile of ripe fruit, with a balanced zesty-smooth finish. While Pedernales Cellars is known for its Tempranillo and Viognier, the rosé stands on its own, offering unique flavor characteristics that are very approachable to any novice or experienced wine drinker.

Next are a couple selections from a vastly underrated local winemaker, Rae Wilson. In addition to other fine wines from Austin, Rae is responsible for two of the finest Texas Rosé wines around. First we have the Dandy Rosé. Available with or without bubbles, however both provide a fantastic drinking experience. Dandy is a french style Rosé with a lot of flavor. This wine is balanced with a zesty finish, but a lot of flavor upfront. Dandy makes the perfect companion for summer drinking and casual chilling, as it is versatile enough to pair with most meals, but structured enough to enjoy on its own.

Also from Rae Wilson is her Rosato. This Italian style rosé is made of 100% Sangiovese, a naturally acidic wine that makes for a perfectly crisp and even rosé. What makes this wine special, is it’s a sangiovese, a grape commonly found in Texas, though it drinks similarly to a french rosé. One will experience an excellent equilibrium between whats expected from a sangiovese, but also expected from a medium bodied dry white. This rosé carries the entire package of flavor, crispness, and delicacy, without being too much of anything. A solid choice for drinking or pairing.

In addition to these fine Rosé wines, theres a world of wines ready for tasting to compliment your favorite summer past time. Just remember what Texas has to offer, and be amazed what can be found right in your backyard!

Springtime Sippin’

By Connor Brown 
The Grapevine in Gruene

With the sun shining and ideal weather upon us, there is no better time to kick back with some tasty beverages while awaiting the wrath that is Texas summer. However, during the few months we have, let’s think about our springtime thirst-quenchers and consider enjoying the rest of this magnificent season with some fresh and local suggestions from a reputable source, just up the road in your favorite historic district of New Braunfels.

Of everything I’m planning to indulge in this spring, I’m mostly looking forward to the company of a fresh, fun beer, and a delicious and delicate rosé to make the most of this seasons’s offerings.

Out of San Marcos, AquaBrew is responsible for some of the best craft beer within 20 miles of New Braunfels, and can be found in many establishments around town. While AquaBrew boasts a large and diverse portfolio of craft brews, one specific seasonal brew stands out. Ape-Pricot Wheat is a deliciously unique beer that is a must-try for any craft beer enthusiast. On the surface, this is a well done, full bodied wheat beer with a great balanced flavor between its complexity, fresh fruity flavor, and alcohol presence (Only 6.9% ABV!). The name says it all, notes of ripe and juicy apricot can be experienced on the nose and the palate, to create a fun and fresh choice of beverage to enjoy on a beautiful springtime stroll through Gruene.

On the wine front, Lewis Winery already has a great reputation in South Texas with their outstanding Tempranillo, and the fun and fresh Swim Spot. Located in the Hill Country of Johnson City, Lewis Winery produces a fantastic Rosé blend. A wonderful Provence style dry rosé made from a blend of Mourvedre and Grenache varieties. This rosé has pronounced flavors of ripe red fruit and citrus with a pleasantly pungent floral nose. This lovely rosé has patio-pounder capability as it drinks smooth while being incredibly refreshing. Enjoy on a sunny day with fresh fruit and delicious Brie cheese to take total advantage of prolonged visits with mother nature while enjoying the season.

Even if fruit beer or dry rosé doesn’t quite resonate with your palate, these fine examples show that Texas wine and beer makers have what it takes to compete with the trends, and continue to show why Texas has earned its place in the industry. But really, who doesn’t think apricot and beer sounds delicious? And the thought of a crisp rosé while lounging in the sun? Oh my! I know where I stand, try it out!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Bottles and Cans with No Bans

Wine Spotlight from New Braunfels Monthly
March 2019
By: Connor Brown

A beautiful display of beer taps can be quite mesmerizing. It’s easy to go for a pint, and it certainly helps being able to taste it first – but let’s try something different this year. It’s a little known fact that some of The Grapevine’s best Texas craft beer awaits thirsty travelers behind the glass doors of our beer fridge. With over 30 different beers – at least half of those Texas- born – with a myriad of styles and flavors, it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but there is something for everyone, and even the pickiest of beer drinkers will be satisfied.

It always helps to know what you like and to have something in mind before facing a wide selection of bottles and cans. Seek the assistance of a professional if you’re new to beer tasting.

For lighter beer drinkers, try the Independence Brewing Native Texan Pilsner. This is an easy drinking pilsner that loosely resembles everyone’s favorite river beer with some added depth. Since this is still a craft beer, expect more pronounced flavors and substance, but still enjoy the crisp refreshing flavor without simply feeling hydrated.
If you happen to be a middle of the road kind of person, and don’t mind hops, Celis Pale Bock could be a new favorite brew. This touches the spirits of Amber and IPA fanatics alike, displaying a lovely copper color while uniting the worlds of a Bock and Pale Ale style beer, with a smooth malty flavor and a crisp and easy finish. It also helps that Celis can do no wrong (I’m not biased- I promise).

Nevertheless, whatever tastes you prefer, there will be something available to quench your thirst while taking in Texas at its finest. And if all these options seem too daunting, fear not there are lovely wine and beer-tenders always ready for a challenge, and eager to aid in a tasting journey. But let’s explore the best craft beer selection available in New Braunfels - draft, bottle, or can.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Valentine’s Varieties

Wine Spotlight from New Braunfels Monthly
February 2019
By: Connor Brown
Valentine’ Day is right around the corner, and most of us are aware of the stress that can come with it. Often times, it seems that we’re completely on our own trying to make each year better than the last. Fortunately, its very easy to rely on a solid bottle of wine to be your companion for a successful Valentine’s Day. Whether dessert or dinner is the specialty, a good bottle of wine will take the dish to another level. And the least I can do, is recommend a couple of bottles that reserve a special place in my heart for this Valentine’s Day. 
Out of Fredericksburg, Texas, Barons Creek Vineyards makes some of the finest wine known to south Texas. In particular, their Merlot is an easy wine to consider as its complex yet neutral flavor profile compliments any hearty meal. It’s full body and rich ripe cherry notes cascade beautifully into a deep smoky vanilla finish, to provide support to both smooth and savory flavors. This wine also contrasts beautifully with dessert and other sweet treats, so experiment and enjoy!

For a lighter meal with chicken or fish as its focal
point, a dry white wine is ideal. In many occurrences, the zesty and refreshing white wine is paired with lighter fare to bring out the softer, and more delicate flavors of a dish. Try some crisp whites out of Texas like the Fall Creek Sauvignon Blanc. Notes of citrus and mint awaken the palate to form a lasting and rich fruity yet refreshing finish, not only pairing well with a dish, but complimenting it as well.

Sweet treats are best enjoyed with a sweetheart. And with everything that goes into this special day, some slack is always welcome. Don’t sweat it with the chocolate covered strawberries, when you can experience Los Pinos Ranch Besitos De Chocolate. From Pittsburg, Texas, this Lenoir based sweet red wine is literally dessert in a bottle with spot-on notes of chocolate and strawberry and just a hint of alcohol on the finish. Though its one of the most interesting wines to come through The Grapevine, it’s quite delicious and does a solid job of covering dessert for any occasion. 

So here’s to a hopefully less stressful and more successful Valentines Day, with hopes that these Texas wines can help elevate your palate and upgrade your experience on this holiday. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wines for Winter

Wine Spotlight from New Braunfels Monthly
November 2018
By: Connor Brown

Now that its officially cold outside, some of us may be feeling lost or even confused with these sub-80 degree temperatures. Sure, most of us are prepared with some warm clothing or access to heat, but one of the most effective ways to stay warm, is drinking red wine. No foolin’! While alcohol in general will dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow and ultimately heat you up, tannic acid and histamines from red wine pack in a few extra degrees, which helps to explain why many Texans share an adversity towards red wine in the summer. So, let’s take a look at a few wines from around the world, and at home that myself and other Gruene locals have been waiting to indulge in all year.

                Pinot Noir is one of the most popular varietals in the world, and is known for being difficult to grow outside its key climate. Great U.S. Pinot Noir is often found in the northwest regions of the country, with Oregon, and Washington being some of the most popular areas. A local favorite Pinot Noir that exhibits some of the varietals best characteristics, is the A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon. This wine carries wonderful dark cherry and raspberry notes that are well balanced with light acidity and tannins to make this wine as smooth as velvet from start to finish, making it a perfect easy going companion when trying to ease up on the cold. It’s also neat that Gregg Popovich (Coach of the San Antonio Spurs) is a partner of the winery!

                Another favorite for the season is a blend of three popular northern California varietals. The Cleaver Red Blend from Amador County, California boasts a trifecta of red Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, and Syrah. Individually, these varietals have significant flavor differences. On the surface Zinfandel will commonly offer more spicy, tangy, and fruity flavors, Petit Sirah will present more bold fruit notes, weight, and texture, and Syrah will provide structure and dynamic by being well balanced by nature. However, the harmony between these varietals allow The Cleaver to sing lovely notes of dark cherry and vanilla on the nose and palate, while following through with balanced acidity and a nice spicy yet fruity finish. At nearly 15% alcohol, this wine is also very pleasant for being a bit stronger, but is strong enough thaw a frozen Texan.

                Last but certainly not least, we’ll revisit a favorite from the Hill Country that has been previously mentioned, but honestly not mentioned enough. Duchman Aglianico of Driftwood, Texas is always a favorite for those visiting and those who call Texas home. Aglianico is quite the uncommon grape that thrives in environments like Texas, and is slowly becoming more popular at vineyards in Texas, and around the world. Duchman does a fine job of balancing the flavors of the notoriously hearty and tannic grape, while maintaining consistency between vintages. This wine greets the palate with bright cherry and red fruit notes while being carried by a subtle minerality before transforming into a zesty, balanced and oaky finish. While this wine is quite dry, it awakens the palate and leaves the drinker in desire for more, until it’s simply not-so-cold anymore.

                So, with a whole world of wine available to us, and as we adjust to the cold for a few months, just remember to take advantage of this season in more ways than wine. Be sure to try some of the great wine mentioned above with your favorite winos down the street from the Hall, we always love (wine)ing. Come and Taste It, Y’all!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hye Quality Texas Wine

Wine Spotlight from New Braunfels Monthly
August 2018
By: Connor Brown

                Wine in Texas lives and comes from many places in our great state, though many of us are most familiar with those wineries in and around Fredericksburg. Sure, we have the giants like Llano in Lubbock and Messina Hof in College Station, but an up-and-coming area for wine is none other than Hye, Texas. Where is Hye and what’s so special about this area? Well, there’s much more to Hye than just a cool name (and copious amounts of puns). In a previous spotlight, we dove into a little of what Hye had to offer with the William Chris Skeleton Key and Mourvedre. However, just down the road, Hye Meadow makes some equally delicious juice that’s all Texas, using carefully selected varietals and made with nothing but love. I promise this wine won’t sit in your fridge until your next family gathering. 

                With such a vast selection, it’s hard to pick out a favorite. However, in my most semi-professional opinion, the Tempranillo, Trebbiano, and Edelzwicker stand out as exceptional Hye Meadow wines. The Tempranillo takes my top pick for a dry red. It has an excellent robust body with bursting fruit notes throughout and, characteristically for a temp, a tobacco, spice, and oaky finish, without the illusion of drinking tree bark. This varietal is traditionally from Spain but has gained popularity in Texas as it grows so well in our soil and climate. This particular wine has the right balance versus other Texas Tempranillos. Enjoy this with a plethora of hearty meals, but definitely give its complexity a chance to shine alone during a cool evening.

                For a lighter, whiter option, the Trebbiano steals the show even over their Rosato (Rosé in Italy) and usually I’m pretty partial to rosé. Now that doesn’t mean their mastermind blend of Dolcetto, Aglianico, Montepulciano, Negro Amaro, and Sangiovese isn’t amazing, it just means I was blown away by their 100% Trebbiano. It’s different from other Texas Trebbiano as it has more depth and complexity as it’s made with a single varietal. This wine isn’t too light or too much of anything. It has a wonderful body and mouthfeel, but the bursting fruit flavor captivates the drinker and eventually cascades into a delicate lasting finish that’s so smooth and balanced -- no jumpy tannins and nothing is left to be desired. This is an all day, everyday wine. If only there was a place in New Braunfels that had it… *ahem*

                And last but certainly not least, a sweeter option for all our sweethearts out there, the Edelzwicker. A refreshing take on a traditional German grape blend of Reisling, Roussanne, and Malvasia Bianca graces the palate with a subtle sweetness that carries the wine from start to finish. With a slightly higher residual sugar content, it doesn’t disrespect the drinker with brazen sweetness but instead adds to the overall experience of the blend. First, we’re greeted by the roussane and its lovely texture and weight, but then we’re whisked away by the Riesling and its lovely fruity and crisp finish. Definitely, a must to try with dessert or even a spicy dish to compliment the heat and draw out more subtle flavors. Heck, have a glass or two on the porch or by the pool and let it be your companion to cope with this summer’s heat!

                So go ahead and try something from Hye, and taste why you’ll be seeing more from this lovely winery and why their wines rank so Hye on my list of good Texas wines! Keep tasting, Texas!