Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Flavor Trip

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

Wine and Recline

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.