Thursday, September 5, 2013

32 is Pretty Awesome- Grape Creek Winery

For my 32nd birthday my husband and I went to visit Fredericksburg to do a little wine tasting and enjoy the sights of the Texas Hill Country.  

We visited three tasting rooms/wineries, walked the sleepy streets of Fredericksburg (everything but the restaurants close down at 5 or 6 pm), enjoyed an awesome dinner with some yummy game meat and then walked it all off by climbing Enchanted Rock the morning after. 

Since that's a lot for a day and a half, I'm just going to talk about our first wine-tasting stop in this post.
Hamming it up at Grape Creek like we do.
Lucky number one was Grape Creek Winery - their winemaker is a gentleman named Jason (we didn't get to meet him), our tour guide was Maureen. 

Some tools of the trade:
The containers in which they receive their grapes
The mashers
Shiny gadgets
Stainless Steel Fermentation Tanks
Some fun facts about Grape Creek:
  • All their whites are aged in stainless steel
  • All their reds are aged in French or American oak barrels
  • At Grape Creek they have happy cows. They feed the cows on their property with the fermented skins from the red wine (the skins stay in with the reds during crushing and early in fermentation to give them the color).
Happy cows
Fun facts about all wines we learned at Grape Creek:
  • Barrels are typically only used twice- they char the inside for flavor and the flavor is typically gone after the second aging
  • When a wine is dry that means it has little to no sugar
  • The date on the bottle is the vintage date- that's the date the grapes were picked
We learned these fun facts because we did the tour and tasting and it was totally worth the $32 per person.

We got to do a barrel tasting of a 2013 Sangiovese- from the following barrels:
  • First-time use American oak
  • Second-time use American oak
  • First-time use French oak
This Sangiovese was a nice, easy-to-drink table red from all of the barrels. Justin said he preferred the French oak.  I’m thinking I did too, but the tasting pours were generous and at this point in time we were only fortified with a Whataburger taquito breakfast.
The winner!

**Disclaimer I don't know that much about wine but I am learning and this was an awesome learning experience. I started drinking wine with sweet Rieslings.  Justin naturally tended to favor the big bold Cabernet Sauvignons and over time I've dried out my palate and now tend to prefer these dry, bold flavors as well.** 

The tasting room for those on the tour was in the Barrel Room with all of the barrels aging.

View from the inside!
They had orange and blue pens for taking notes on which wines you liked best.  In my head that means they cheer for the Gators, but that's only cause Orange and Blue makes me swoon (proof positive is my Pinterest board).

Naturally, there were lots of barrels aging and they have them labeled with their own secret codes.  We tried to guess what barrels had what grapes, but apparently some of the coding also indicated what vineyard the grapes are from.
Shh, the code is a secret
Leading into the barrel room was the owner's wine library- impressive collection of his vineyard's wines.  
Homer Simpson would say "Donuts." We say "Wine."
Of course the door was locked. So all we could do was point.

While this area may not yet be seen as being on par with Napa/Sonoma and Paso Robles, it is coming into its own and it's only 45 minutes from our house versus a half day of air travel.  

Our glasses are empty.  More wine!
During our tasting we only had the reds.  And while we enjoyed tasting the reds - and I know what I said about our preferences - we both really enjoy their Cuvée Blanc. This wasn’t our first Grape Creek rodeo.   The Cuvée Blanc is a light, dry, white wine that can go with anything or nothing at all.  It is a go-to bottle for us that we can comfortably serve to anyone who comes to our house and feel confident that they will enjoy it.  It might not blow someone away, but it's also not going to make them grimace and ask for a chaser.

The timing of the trip was perfect because we'd almost gone through the case I bought in 2012 when I went for a bachelorette party.  When you buy the case it comes out to about $14.50 a bottle.  To us that's not an awful value for something you can serve anytime.

To learn more about the history of Grape Creek visit their website.
Where the Grape Creek wine magic happens.

Next time I’ll talk about our fun private tour at Becker Vineyards.

No comments:

Post a Comment