Monday, December 7, 2020
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
By Connor Brown at The Grapevine
November marks the start of yet another exciting month for New Braunfels, even despite the curveballs our community has been thrown. Sure, things have been different, even strange at times, but more than ever our remarkable resilience is painted proudly on our city as we continue to navigate and persevere through this peculiar period in our history. We've stood up to these challenges and worked our hardest to make the best of a less-than-pleasant experience, and together we've done our finest to preserve one of the oldest industries in Texas. An industry whose creations bring us together to create memories, mementos, and relationships as we continue down an ever curious path. Texas wine isn't going anywhere. Many wineries have doubled down to let us know that they mean business by continuing to innovate and impress even the pickiest palates in the Lone Star State.
Mike and Denise Batek of Hye Meadow winery haven't skipped a beat when it comes to their passion for wine. Throughout the last few months, they've been tending to their expansive, exquisite vineyard and tasting room all while experimenting and concocting new vintages for us all to enjoy. Mr. Batek is a visionary when it comes to winemaking, and isn't afraid to experiment with the various "spices" in his cabinet. In the Come & Taste It interview I had with Mike, he compared his winemaking process to cooking and each element at his disposal could be seen as another spice or seasoning to complete the dish. Of course, a master chef cannot create excellence without an excellent palate, and years of experience and wine tasting led him and Denise to do us all a favor and open Hye Meadow Winery. Hye Meadow excels at capturing the Texas terroir with all of their wines. Their drive for quality and drinkability is abundantly clear with every bottle produced.
A brand new release from Hye Meadow this month is their 2017 Paka Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon. Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular varieties in the entire world. Originating in France, the Cabernet Sauvignon grape has been cloned and planted all over the world, including various regions in Texas. Hye Meadow is astute on quality and harnessing the complexities of our terroir. Key factors to their exceptional wines come from knowledge of what grows well in Texas, what flavors come from our soil, and what regions grow certain grapes the best. The cooler, wetter region of North Texas was the perfect option which led Hye Meadow to seek the Cabernet grapes grown at Paka Vineyards, allowing for unique yet familiar expressions to come from this wine as it's opened.
First impressions are always important, and as soon as this wine is uncorked, get ready for a ride. A deep purple hue on the underside of the cork is the equivalent to an ornate initial at the beginning of any book worth reading. It begins to tell the story even before the wine is decanted, and only then is the beauty clearly seen. Aromas of deep earth and oak permeate the senses before lifting into a beautiful bouquet of ripe red fruit. As soon as it touches the palate, delicate plum and black-currant cascade across a ripe and spicy background, carried by soft vanilla and white pepper undertones. Bold, rich, and full of flavor, this is a cab-drinker's cab that is perfect for dinner, or any special occasion down the road.
Try this and many other selections from Hye Meadow Winery next tie you visit Hye or your friends in Gruene! And a special thank you to Mike and Denise at Hye Meadow Winery for sharing their passion and knowledge with myself, and the great people of Texas for the last 10 years. Cheers!
Thursday, October 1, 2020
By Connor Brown at The Grapevine
In a town known for its events every month, October is the start of the prime season to be a NewBraunfels-er. A month typically bustling with concerts, festivals, artists' markets is gearing up for a one-of-a-kind virtual event! That's right, Gruene Music and Wine Festival is back and more accessible to everyone who loves Texas wine and craft beer.
From the comfiest cushion of your favorite couch, enjoy learning about over 15 different Texas wineries and breweries with valuable information straight from the source. This virtual event will cover information about their establishments as well as fine-tuned tasting notes to accompany their handpicked selections. Expect up to three different styles from each wine or beer maker, specifically chosen to showcase at this event; a list large enough for even the pickiest connoisseurs.
In addition to exclusive beverages and information, another Gruene Music and Wine Fest tradition is the Texas-sized guitar auction, benefiting the United Way of Comal County. This year with more guitars than ever, it's known as the Greatest Great Guitar Auction! A personal favorite, the event features a line-up of guitars that would make a guitar store owner blush, each signed or personalized by an experienced troubadour. And what could be more fun than an evening in with Texas tastes an tunes?
As we continue to adapt and conquer challenges 2020 throws our way, find solace knowing some traditions are too good to go without. This exceptional content will be featured online and free to the public, but that certainly shouldn't keep anyone from a night out in Gruene to gather for pre-festival beer and wine vibes.
Monday, August 31, 2020
By Conner Brown at The Grapevine
Friday, July 31, 2020
By Connor Brown at The Grapevine
The Bent Oak Cabernet Sauvignon, born and raised in our state, is hard to come by in a retail store due to a flavor profile in stark contrast to what wine drinkers are used to in cabernet. After all, the highest rated cabs come from France or California. While cab is grown extensively in Texas and used abundantly in blending across the state and country, it’s not common in my experience to drink a truly exceptional Texas Cabernet Sauvignon. And just when I thought 2020 couldn’t get weirder...
Upon opening the bottle, dark red on the underside of the cork whispers of depth as faint notes of aged amaretto waft into a full bouquet of black cherry and spice on the nose. As the palette prepares for its first sip, white pepper and oak eagerly accompany subtle notes of vanilla and blackberry. The wine is properly aged so tannins make a memorable appearance without overstaying their welcome. Finishing flavors of smokey cranberry cascade across the palette, leaving it eagerly waiting for more. Mr. Catalano makes a wonderful display of winemaking prowess to deliver a familiar cab drinking experience, all while adhering to and exemplifying qualities that make Texas wine unique. This bottle makes a perfect companion for anyone trying to beef up some brisket, or to simply enjoy a cool evening under the Lone Star.
Of all the things that we could be doing right now, it would certainly be worse if we didn’t have wine. An outlet of sorts, enjoying Texas-made wine is also a way to be closer to the community and support one of the oldest industries in the state, all while helping forget about cancelled travel plans and tomorrow's lesson plan for the little ones. But for those serious about Texas wine, this cab is a must try and a great example of what is going on at Bent Oak Winery.
Come on in and start with the cab, it won't be long before their Tempranillo, Rose, or Cuvee start sounding just as delicious. Stay safe, and stay tuned!
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Thursday, July 2, 2020
By Connor Brown at The Grapevine
Sauvignon blanc is one of the most popular grape varietals, known to any wine-lover. Originally from the Bordeaux region in France, sauvignon blanc is a popular grape at vineyards all over the world for its versatility and variety in flavor. With so many different climates and conditions in the world, the flavor of this common grape is distinctly different depending on the region.
This grape can be grown in every corner of the world, but Texans do it particularly well. This varietal demands sunshine, but cannot thrive in high temperatures. Finding the perfect compromise, Llano Estacado grows their fruit in the sweet spot of the high planes so it gets plenty of sunshine without getting battered by the extreme Texas heat.
Llano Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine, boasting aromas of guava and lemon peel. Beginning with beautiful tropical fruit on the nose, a ripe lemon citrus flavor carries a balanced acidity into a pleasantly full-bodied mouthfeel. This wine carries a complexity found in other full-bodied white varietals while maintaining its light and zesty delicacy. This unique balance is what makes it a special, distinct American sauvignon blanc. Easy to drink on a hot summer day, keep a bottle chilled to enjoy in your favorite shady spot.
With growing popularity, rosé has become a new go-to summer wine as more and more people discover its delicately refreshing qualities at the mid-point between white and red.
While there are many ways to achieve a rosé, one of the most common methods is called skin contact. This method basically allows red wine grapes to ferment with the skins for a limited time before the juice is drained and separated, leaving a wonderful pink juice to continue to mature into a delectable rosé wine.
The Llano Rosé is born using this method. After a maximum of 10 hours skin contact to extract flavor and color, the skins are gently pressed and the juice racked into stainless steel tanks where they ferment with a special yeast blend to preserve the delicate aromatics and build citrus flavor. The perfect classic rosé should be aromatic, food friendly and enjoyable on its own. Llano Rosé is all three, to a tee.