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Tag Archive | "Alamosa Wine Cellars"

The Johnsons to Retire, Sell Alamosa Wine Cellars


It wasn’t the best of news for Texas wine lovers: Jim and Karen Johnson have announced that they’re selling Alamosa Wine Cellars, the winery they built in Bend, where they produced award-winners including El Guapo and Scissortail. But we wish them well in their retirement.
Jim Johnson (Photo courtesy alamosawinecellars.com)

Jim Johnson (Photo courtesy alamosawinecellars.com)

Here’s the release they sent out:

After nearly twenty years in the business, we have decided to sell Alamosa Wine Cellars. We will be operating the vineyard until the property is sold.  The tasting room will operate on a regular basis through the Labor Day Weekend and we want to see as many of our customers, friends and fans as we can before that day.  We have some fun events and great sales to let you stock up on your favorite Alamosa wines as long as they last.  Come soon for the best selections.  We will also be holding a special Library Tasting in August when you will be able to taste through several of our older, special vintages with other wine lovers guided by Jim and Karen.  Look for those announcements and tickets very soon.
We are looking forward to retirement but with a bit of a heavy heart as we leave a place that has occupied so much of our efforts and passion for many years.  Most of all we’ll miss the opportunity to see so many people who have made the journey so much fun.  Retirement will allow us to do a lot more of the travel we so love, and to spend more time with our family, especially our little grandsons.
Save these dates:
July 11th  Sales begin
Aug 1st, Library Tasting, tickets required, only 24 spaces. (info soon)
Aug  8th  Final Wine Club Party (afternoon)
Aug  22   Retirement Celebration and Sale
September 4-6 Final Weekend.
Special mention must be made of how Jim Johnson helped pioneer the use of new varietals of grapes on the state’s wine scene, grapes that were able to produce great flavors and still thrive in the heat. The list includes Northern Rhone varietals such as Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah among the reds as well as the whites Viognier, Verdelho, Roussanne and Marsanne.
The Johnsons were also instrumental in developing Way Out Wineries, a group that helped promote the Hill Country wineries beyond the Fredericksburg area.

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Griffin to Go: A Taste of Texas Wine Offers Something Beyond the Same Old Chardonnay


Kim Murray McDonald of flutiemcd.com and Sarah Vernetti of WanderingOff.com enjoy the wines at the Taste of Texas Wine.

Veronique Barretto of VinouslySpeaking.com

Steinheimer’s Lounge at the Westin La Cantera features a treasure map on the ceiling that supposedly points to hidden gold. But on Friday night, the gold was found in glasses, as the bar was the setting of a Taste of Texas Wine Tweet-Up.

Wine from Haak, Becker, Alamosa and Inwood Estates.

Resort sommelier Steven Krueger and Vintage Texas wine blogger Russ Kane led a tasting of four uniquely different Texas wines, each made from grapes that extend far beyond the California classics, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.

“Texas is its own growing region, unique,” Krueger told the audience of local bloggers and tweeters. “You walk into a Texas winery and you don’t know what they’re going to serve you … and that’s a challenge.”

Grapes with names like Aglianico, Touriga Nacional and Vermentino aren’t household favorites, Kane admitted. Yet these seem to be among the grapes that are proving to be perfect for the state’s climate and great for those “locapours” out there who want to drink locally, he said.

“Our wine experience is not going to be what a California wine experience will be,” Kane said.

Westin sommelier Steven Krueger leads the discussion.

California has cast a giant shadow that the rest of the wine growing regions in the nation all have to operate under, Krueger said.

But Texas winemakers are making strides with lesser-known varietals that are offer great flavors in the glass.

To prove that, Krueger started the tasting with the 2009 Haak Vineyards Blanc du Bois, which was steely and bracing with a citrus edge. “Lemon meringue pie,” pronounced Veronique Barretto, who writes the Vinously Speaking blog.

Blanc du Bois is a grape that was introduced in 1987. It was developed in Florida to withstand harsh growing conditions while being resistant to Pierce’s disease, a bacterial infection that has wiped out countless acres of vineyards in the U.S. and beyond. With a grape so new, “there’s not a history or tradition of making it,” Krueger said.

So, people like Raymond Haak of Haak Vineyards are writing that history with their attempts. Though the version poured at Steinheimer’s was dry, Haak also produces a sweet Blanc du Bois.

The main point of the event was to spread the word about Texas wine, which the various writers did with their tweets. The gathering included Heather Hernandez of GeeketteBits.com; Lauren Madrid, @ohmypuddin; Kim Murray McDonald of flutiemcd.com; Emily Stringer, @definedelicious; Stacy Teet, @steet; and Sarah Vernetti of WanderingOff.com.

While the bloggers tweeted away, our attention turned to the 2010 Becker Vineyards Viognier, all viscous and full of peach or apricot flavors. This is another grape that grows well in Texas, so well, in fact, that “it has kind of become our Chardonnay,” Kane said.

Richard and Bunny Becker have been pioneers of the grape in the state, Krueger said, adding that Bunny deserves credit for pushing for the grape’s growing acceptance among wine drinkers and growers alike.

Heather Hernandez of GeeketteBits.com (from left), John Madrid, Lauren Madrid of ohmypuddin and Stacy Teet of @steet

Third was the Alamosa Wine Cellars Palette, a Rhone-style blend that winemaker Jim Johnson likes to call “Chateauneuf-du-Bend,” a reference to the grapes’ Texas home town. This blend features Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre, with a touch of the aromatic Viognier added for good measure.

Kruger said the wine showed Johnson’s “Old World soul” in its rustic yet elegant nature, with a slight touch of barnyard on the nose.

The tasting concluded with the 2007 Inwood Estates Tempranillo, another grape that is gaining great reviews for its robust flavors and adaptability to Texas soil. Tasting this made me want a large glass alongside venison with a blueberry or huckleberry sauce.

Russ Kane of VintageTexas.com tweets.

Barretto pointed out an almost Port-like quality to the wine, though it was dry. That could be because the Tempranillo grape is related to Touriga Nacional, the major grape used in Port, Kane answered.

When the wine opened, huge aromas of toffee, caramel, cajeta and other sweet and creamy combinations seemed to explode from the glass, all the while maintaining its fruit flavor.

But don’t take my word for it. Or Krueger’s, Kane’s or any of the bloggers on the scene. Only you can tell you what kind of wine you’ll like. And you can sample four Texas wines for $10 every evening from 5 to 6 p.m. at Steinheimers in the Westin la Cantera, 16641 La Cantera Parkway. Krueger changes the selection regularly, so there’s always something new to taste.

 

 

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Wondering About Wine? GoTexan WineCasts Can Help


winecast-screenshot-2009-06-09The Texas Department of Agriculture wants you to know more about wine.

To that end, it has produced a six-video series featuring some of the state’s winemakers and vineyard owners discussing grape varieties and wine styles. The series can be found at  gotexanwine.org or at the GO TEXAN YouTube channel (click here).

In the introduction, Susan Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow discusses the growth and history of the Texas wine industry with Tanji Patton.

In the second clip, Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards in Comanche details the rise of viognier (vee-ohn-yay) as one of the white grapes proving especially suited to Texas soils. Viognier displays peach, apricot, honey and citrus characteristics, and it can be paired with a variety of foods.

Kim McPherson of McPherson Vineyards in Lubbock talks about the success Texas winemakers have had with sangiovese in the third installment. This light-bodied Italian varietal goes well with pork, spicy fish dishes and cheeses.

Jim Johnson of Alamosa Wine Cellars in Bend discusses the Spanish varietal tempranillo, which loves hot climates like those found across Texas. In the fourth video, he talks about pairing the hearty red wine with leg of lamb.

Franklin Houser of Dry Comal Creek in New Braunfels showcases Black Spanish in the fifth piece. This varietal is proving to be resistant to disease, heat and humidity, making it an appealing option for grape growers and winemakers alike.

In the final video, Merrill Bonarrigo of Messina Hof in Bryan discusses port-style wines and other dessert wines that Texas is producing.

These videos are great introductions. Now, take that information and apply it to your tastings.

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