Tag Archive | "Texas Hill Country Wine"

Bending Branch Winery Brings Home the Gold

COMFORT – Bending Branch Winery is rolling in gold.

bending branchThe Hill Country winery recently won three Best-of-Appellation Double Gold Medals and one Gold Medal for four Texas wines from Appellation America, an online source of information on North American wines and wineries. Its Best-of-Appellation program recognizes the distinctive character and “sense of place” of wines produced in different regions and appellations.

“Being recognized for Best of Appellation (BOA) wines for four different varietals grown in Texas is a milestone for Bending Branch Winery,” said Robert Young, a founder of Bending Branch and co-winemaker with John Rivenburgh. “We are particularly thrilled that our Estate Tannat and Picpoul Blanc achieved BOA recognition.

Bending Branch won a total of four Best-of-Appellation Double Gold Medals, signifying exceptional expression of regional character/quality, including the following three Texas wines:

  • 2012 Picpoul Blanc, Estate (Texas Hill Country) – bright acidity dances on your palate with tastes of tropical fruits and sweet citrus layered with hints of honey and cream.
  • 2011 Tempranillo, Newsom Vineyards (Texas High Plains) – often referred to as the noble grape of Spain, Tempranillo has earned its accolades as one of the preeminent red varieties of Texas. It has classic notes of espresso grounds, sweet pipe tobacco, with rich bing cherry and raspberry notes.
  • 2011 Tannat, Estate (Texas Hill Country) – Tannat, a Southern French native, is a signature grape for Bending Branch, offering black cherry and raspberry flavors and hints of white pepper and Indian spice.

bendingbranchwinery_tannatBending Branch also was awarded a BOA Double Gold for its NV Souzao, Silvaspoons Vineyard, AVA Alta Meza, in Lodi, California.

Its 2011 Mourvedre, Reddy Vineyards (Texas High Plains), won a Best-of-Appellation Gold Medal. The Mourvedre has a nose of violets and rich dark berry fruits, and raspberry and rhubarb flavors complimented by star anise, vanilla and chai spices.

“Every Texas winery acknowledges that Bob Young and John Rivenburgh are leading the charge in the growing excellence of Texas wines,” said Clark Smith, author of “Postmodern Winemaking.” “Rather than sheepishly following the received wisdom from California, they apply thorough study to the suitability of novel varieties and new technologies, and then follow up with courageous investments of both capital and attention to detail.  Realizing that the perceived quality of all local wines is critical to their success, their experiments are geared to benefit the whole industry throughout Texas.  Appellation has rated its Estate Tannat and Picpoul Blanc and the Texas High Plains Tempranillo among the best wines produced in America.”

Bending Branch Winery, a boutique winery near Comfort in the Texas Hill Country AVA, is a sustainable practices and organically focused operation with 20 acres of vines comprising 16 grape varieties, including its signature varieties, Tannat and Picpoul Blanc. It produces wines from both Texas and California appellations.

For more information about Bending Branch Winery, visit the website at

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On the Wine Trail: Chisholm Trail, Becker, Dry Comal Creek Plan Events

The hustle of the holiday season is over, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay home. Several Hill Country wineries are offering events to tempt your taste buds.

Jazz at Chisholm Trail

Chisholm Trail Winery,  2367 Usener Road, Fredericksburg, is offering two events in January.  On Jan. 14, the winery will hold its annual Jazz in January event. The George Eychner Quartet will perform from 2 to 5 p.m. Listen to the smooth jazz while having some wine and lunch from the winery’s restaurant, the Oval Oven, featuring wood-fired gourmet pizza.

On Jan. 21, Chisholm Trail will be part of the Wine Road 290 Port and Pairings Event. Complimentary samples of Bourbon Orange Pecan Pie from the Fredericksburg Pie Company will be paired with the winery’s Port-style dessert wine, Almagres. The Oval Oven will also be open during normal winery hours.

For more information on Chisholm Trail, click here or call 830-990-2675. For more on the Wine Road 290 schedule, click here.

Winery U at Dry Comal Creek

The fourth annual Winery U at Dry Comal Creek Vineyards, 1741 Herbelin Road, New Braunfels, begins Jan. 14.

Sessions are held once a month on Saturday mornings, with each class focusing on a different aspect of wine “in as non-pretentious a way as allowed by law,” says instructor David King, who holds the Certified Specialist of Wine certificate from the Society of Wine Educators.  “We keep it fun and entertaining, because when you come right down to it, wine should be fun and entertaining. I talk for a while, and then we taste wine. Or in the case of the Food and Wine Pairings class, I talk very little and we eat and drink at lot.”

Here’s the lineup for the 2012 classes, subject to the water rising in the Dry Comal Creek:

  • Jan. 14: Introduction to Wine
  • Feb. 11: Texas Wines
  • March 13: Decoding the Wine Label
  • April 7: Growing Grapes and Making Wine
  • May 19: Wines of France
  • June 9: The Black Spanish Grape
  • July 21: Sensory Evaluation
  • Aug. 18: Wines of Spain and Italy
  • Sept. 15: Sauvignon Blanc
  • Oct. 20: Food and Wine Pairings
  • Nov. 10: Wines of the Southern Hemisphere
  • Dec. 8: Cabernet Sauvignon

Classes are $30 each, or $25 if four or more are purchased at once. For information and registration, click here.

Hill Top hosts Becker dinner

Hill Top Cafe, 10661 U.S. Highway 87, Fredericksburg, is hosting Richard and Bunny Becker at a dinner featuring a collection of Becker Vineyards wines from the Tallent vineyard and from Mason County. The dinner begins at 5 p.m. Jan. 29.

Reception wines include the 2011 Provençal and 2010 Reserve Grenache, followed by a first course of  Moroccan Red Lentil and Lamb Bessara with the 2010 Raven. Winter Salad with Bartlett Pears, Prosciutto and Fresh Texas Goat Cheese will be paired with the 2010 Albariño, followed by  Steamed Gulf Prawns with Sweet Ginger, Curry and Scallions and the 2011 Pinot Grigio.  Braised Texas Dry-aged Beef Short Ribs in Puff Pastry with Winter Vegetables and the 2009 Raven will be served before a dessert of El Rey Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Chantilly Cream and Becker Vineyards’ 2010 Vintage Port.

The cost is $75 a person plus tax and tip. Call 830-997-8922 or email


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