Friday, 5 July 2013


Wineries in Texas: Although I'd visited my long time friend in San Antonio in 2007 (pre-sommelier days), I wasn't aware of the thriving grape growing and wine making industry in Texas until my recent visit when we went to a quaint restaurant (The Creek) in Boerne, north of San Antonio. Given we both ordered fish we tried a delicious white blend (Chardonnay, Riesling, and Viognier) from the Lubbock area.

There are four geographical regions in Texas with San Antonio in the Central Region, at the edge of the Southeast Region.  I found to be the easiest website, among several, to navigate. The site shows the four major regions and the eight approved viticultural appellations. On our visit to Gruene (pronounced Green) I learned that while many wineries are located north of San Antonio in Hill Country, grapes are generally grown near Lubbock and Fredericksburg, both recognized viticultural areas.

Tasting at Vineyard at Gruene: The name Vineyard at Gruene is a bit of a misnomer as their grapes are grown in the Lubbock (Becker) area in the Central wine region and wine production occurs in Fredericksburg. We tasted 6 wines including two dry white blends, a sweet rosé and three dry reds.  The server did a great job answering my questions...even though she quietly admitted that it was her first day serving. 
 Tasting Notes
Comal Springs: a dry citrus forward Sauvignon Blanc/Viognier blend ($21 bottle)

Blanco Dulce: a chardonnay/viognier blend that had a red grapefuit, pineapple and vanilla/oak aromas and flavours. This was our favourite white blend. ($24)

Gruene Rosé: a sweet wine (19% residual sugar) suitable for dessert ($20)

Guadalupe Valley Red: aged 6 months in barrel (propietary blend) with jam, cedar and red berries aromas ($24)

Landa River Red:  a syrah/petite syrah blend. Toasty vanilla on the nose but more acidic than you'd expect for a shiraz with sour black cherry, licorice, and spice flavours ($25)

1190 Gruene Road Reserve 2010: our favourite was this cabernet sauvignon/merlot blend;  black furit, baking spices, vanilla, smoky aromas and similar tasting notes; label description:  aged in barrel 8-10 months, integrated tannins; black berry, black current($32 bottle)

Grist Mill Restaurant
After a stroll through town, a refreshing stop at Oma's Secret Garten for a local beer, and visits to shops we finally decided we needed to eat lunch. The Grist Mill is on the edge of the Guadalupe River behind the Gruene dance hall and beside Gruene's landmark water tower.  It is built on the site of a grist mill which was later (in 1878) transformed to a cotton gin. In 1922 the structure burned and all that remains now is the three story brick boiler room which provides a rustic dining backdrop.  I ordered ribs, the house specialty, and decided to pair my meal with red wine rather than beer.


Dry Comal Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon had rich aromas of leather, plum, cedar, smoky/cigar box and the taste was more complex than I expected: dark fruit, eucalyptus, tobacco, and a hint of vanilla and burnt sugar on the finish.  It was a surprisingly good accompaniment to the ribs. This wine is locally produced in New Braunfels:

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