Tag Archives: fellow wine lovers

Enoteca–Flat Creek arrives IN Marble Falls

Enoteca (EnoTECa)…literally means “wine repository.” It has been used more recently to mean a wine bar giving visitors the opportunity to taste a variety of wines. Flat Creek Estate Winery is doing this at their new wine bar/tasting room and light fare restaurant in Marble Falls called simply The Enoteca. Located just at the bridge on 281 crossing the Colorado River in a building they renovated for this venture, you can find a tasting room with a fine select variety of Flat Creek wines to sample, a wide variety of Flat Creek wines in the bottle to purchase, and…surprise…a nice group of import wines from Italy to purchase!

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I have been anxiously watching the progress of Enoteca on Facebook as the construction has taken shape. We definitely made it a place to stop as we were planning our annual trek to visit the Hill Country wineries over Memorial Day to meet up with friends from different corners of Texas. When we arrived at the bistro we were warmly greeted at the door by Jessie and he offered us a complementary tasting of Blanco Brio as he explained how the concept works. He said it will be “go at your own pace” where you can step up to the tasting bar and enjoy a wine flight tasting, place your food order, place your wine order, and take your selections back to any number of seating arrangements inside or outside on the good sized patio that looks toward the river. He explained the wines available at the tasting bar will change weekly in order to keep the variety fresh. The wines are ordered by tasting flight of either dry red, dry white, or sweet; by bottle; or by full glass or by half glass.

There is a woodfired pizza oven, the tasting bar, gift shop items, and a back patio. The pizza oven definitely turned out some fine pizzas. We ordered the Margherita Pizza and the La Banderia Pizza. They also have beautiful sandwiches (I saw a patron eating one and it looked great) and salads in addition to cheese trays and simple dessert options. The chef that oversees the Bistro at the winery also oversees the menu at Enoteca so it is definitely up to his exacting standards.

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We decided on sharing the dry red flight consisting of the 2012 Super Texan (a bold Sangiovese), the 2010 Tempranillo, and the Trooper Red. The Trooper ends up being the Super Texan just not aged as long and available “on tap.”

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I also ordered a half glass of the Tempranillo to drink as I finished my half of the pizzas.

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While we were enjoying our pizzas and wines we looked up as the front door opened and in walked Rick Naber, owner of Flat Creek Estate Winery and now this Enoteca Tasting Room. After quick hugs he asked how we were enjoying our experience? We assured him that it was very enjoyable and Jessie was doing a great job taking care of us and keeping us happy. Rick let us know they had their “soft opening” starting last Sunday so they could iron out any kinks before the Memorial Day Holiday hopefully brought in more people. I’ll be watching to see if they have their Grand Opening and hopefully we can make a quick run down for it.

Come for lunch, come for happy hour, come to sit and rest a bit with your friends. Come on your way through as you visit either end of the Hill Country wineries.

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Texas Friends and Texas Wines

Cookies and milk

Chips and dip

Bogey and Bacall

Wine and friends

Some things just seem to go better together. We love Texas wines. We love being with our friends. Visiting Texas wineries with our friends really brings it all together.

It may be several months between our visits, but when we meet up for either a few hours or a couple of days we are guaranteed fun and laughter.

Wineries just have a knack for bringing people together with something in common…to have a good time! This weekend was planned as a tasting weekend. We met up with our friend and Texas wine blogger Jeff Cope at Kiepersol Estates Winery…outside of Bullard just south of Tyler. Fellow wine lovers Roger and Darlene Bruckbauer met us there as well. They live in the area so they are frequent visitors to Kiepersol. We met Roger and Darlene last year at a wine festival in Fredericksburg and had a great time. Through social media, in this case Facebook, we follow each other’s wine adventures.

TXWineLover Jeff Cope Roger and Darlene Bruckbauer
TXWineLover Jeff Cope
Roger and Darlene Bruckbauer

We spent a few wonderful hours touring and tasting at Kiepersol and even though we had more stops on our schedule, we found it hard to say our goodbyes and leave.

We made our way to the next wineries on Jeff’s list, Briar Creek Vineyards, KE Cellars, and Crump Valley Vineyards, visiting and tasting and purchasing as we went. Briar Creek Vineyards opened just last year having planted their first vines in 2007. In true Texas fashion, Kiepersol helped them out while they got their winery set up and their equipment purchased and in place. That happens often throughout the Texas wine industry, winery helping winery.

We ended up at our final destination for the evening: Dave and Kelli Potter’s house. They too are Texas wine lovers and bloggers we met through social media groups and we’ve attended several festivals and tastings with them. We stayed up talking and drinking more wine as we related our day’s adventures and laid out the plan of attack for the next day.

The Grapes Across Texas Bloggers Kelli and Dave Potter Texas Wine Lover Blogger Jeff Cope Wines At Road's End Blogger Laurie Ware
The Grapes Around Texas Blogger Kelli Potter
Texas Wine Lover Blogger Jeff Cope
Wines At Road’s End Bloggers Shelly and  Laurie Ware

We filled the next morning with coffee, breakfast, clean up, and dinner preparations before we headed out the door to the wineries on the list to visit for the day: Mitas Hill, Caudalie Crest, and Eden Hill Winery. It was wonderful visiting these new wineries and hearing about their plans to be part of the exciting future of the Texas wine scene.

We visited with vineyard owners, asked questions of wine makers, and tasted wines made with new grapes being grown in the area. While Shelly and I have enjoyed our visits to wineries as a couple over the years, we have really come to appreciate the fellowship of our friends and the different perspective and questions that they think to ask as they continue to learn more about wines and grapes too.

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Kelli Potter, Jeff Cope, Shelly Ware, Chris Hornbaker (winemaker at Eden Hill)
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Caudalie Crest Winery

Battle of the Texas Roussannes

On a Saturday in July, Shelly and I travelled down to Houston and found ourselves among some pretty interesting members of the Texas wine industry: vineyard owners, wine makers, wine educators, sommeliers, chefs, wine bloggers, and fellow wine lovers. We were all invited to the NICE Winery by wine bloggers Jeff Cope and his fiancée Gloria Schlanser for one reason, this time…to participate in a wine smackdown! Well, actually a Battle of the Texas Roussannes. I have tasted a few Roussannes on our Texas wine travels. All I knew about it was it’s a white wine grape that is proving to be a decent variety for Texas. I further learned that night that it does very well in the Texas High Plains due to its late bud break and its affinity for the warm sunny days and somewhat cool nights.

Disclaimer: Shelly and I are not huge white wine fans. We are still trying to find a white that we can claim as one we really like. The Roussanne is on the fringe of this claim. It is dry, crisp, tropically-fruity, and a little earthy.

This tasting would be conducted “blind.” That is to say that the whole bottle would be hidden in a paper sack and the sack would have only a number on it. There were 17 bottles that had been purchased from wineries or various retail outlets. It was explained to us that we would be judging two glasses at a time and we were given a quick lesson on the scoring system on the score sheet. There were plates of cheeses, crackers, and grapes and glasses of water to cleanse our palates between flights. It was suggested that a time limit of 5 minutes would be used for each flight in order to keep things moving along. Due to the number of people participating (19), a 1-ounce measured pourer was used to insure there would be enough of each wine to go around.

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As the tastings proceeded I found some tastes that I liked and some I did not. It still amazes me that the same grape is really not the same over all. Where it is grown, how it is handled, and what the wine maker does with it all have influences on the final product.

After the tasting was complete Jeff unbagged the bottles as we called out our scores. The wines being judged turned out to be from Becker Vineyards, McPherson Cellars, Brennan Vineyards, Blue Ostrich Winery, Brushy Creek Vineyards, Arche, Spicewood Vineyards, Wedding Oak Winery, Calais Winery, and Cap Rock Winery. Most of the bottles were 100% Roussannes, but there were a couple of Roussanne blends. We did not know where these were in the lineup. There were some surprises as the bags came off. Jeff then took our scoring sheets into another room and quickly entered our scores into a spreadsheet designed for this purpose. The wines were ranked and presented:

(88.21) McPherson Cellars, Texas, 2012 Reserve Roussanne
(87.53) McPherson Cellars, Texas, 2011 Roussanne
(86.95) McPherson Cellars, Texas, 2012 Roussanne
(85.95) Brennan Vineyards, Texas, 2011 Roussanne Lily blend
(85.74) Brennan Vineyards, Texas, 2012 Roussanne Lily blend

We were amazed that McPherson Cellars took the top three and Brennan Vineyards Lily blend rounded out the top five.

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It was a wonderful July evening spent tasting Texas wine and talking about Texas wine with people who also enjoy and support the Texas wine industry.

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Wine blogger Jeff Cope (rear)
Wine lover Delia Cuellar (left) and wine blogger, author, Russ Kane (right)
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•Daniel Kelada – GUSTO Founder, Executive Wine Sommelier, Senior Wine Instructor, International Wine Guild Master Candidate, Vice President The Texas Wine and Food Consortium (seated)
•Dave Foley – Sommelier (standing)

For a more thorough account of the evening be sure and visit Jeff Cope’s blogpost Battle of the Texas Roussannes. While there take some time and read his other posts. He has written about quite a number of Texas wineries he and his fiancée Gloria have visited across the state over the years.

Wine blogger and author Russ Kane also provides his account of the evening along with further insight of the Roussanne grape on his blogpost It’s the Right Time for Texas Roussanne.