As a gift for a recent special occasion (my and Jon's one year anniversary of dating to be exact!), I bought us a Houston-area day trip with Texas Winos. We finally cashed in on that trip last month, and we had a total blast!
Included with the purchase of a ticket with Texas Winos is brunch downtown (even though you're also encouraged to bring food to nosh on throughout the day), transportation to and from three wineries (not always the same wineries) within an hour outside of Houston, and all wine tastings at the wineries.
Oh and speaking of wine (I'm slightly derailing for a second here) - I recently became a volunteer for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Garden Committee, which I'm super pumped about! As it gets closer to rodeo time, I'll be social media-ing out my schedule working the garden, and I'd love it if you stopped by and said hello!
Back to Texas Winos - Brunch that day began with food at Mia Bella Trattoria (where coincidentally, I'll be having dinner tonight with my family before we see BILLY JOEL in concert! More on that in a later post).
Our group of roughly twenty lively wine lovers was presented with a prix fixe menu to choose our food from. I opted for the eggs mia bella, which is basically an eggs florentine benedict. The flavors of the benedict were rich, savory, and creamy, but the food was a tad cold since they were feeding the masses all at once. The fruit served with the entrees was fresh and sweet, with a delightful side of yogurt for dipping. I'm definitely excited to try their food tonight!
And to the shock of absolutely no one, Jon and I obviously ordered bottomless drinks - bloodys for me, and mimosas for him!
Our tour guide for the day was David, and he was super informative, friendly, and just all around awesome.
The first winery we stopped at was Texas Star Winery in Chappell Hill.
The wines themselves were certainly some of the most unique wines I had ever tasted. We started off with a sweet prickly pear wine, which they also used to make a winerita (using the wine instead of tequila for a margarita). I'm not a big sweet wine or margarita fan, but it was interesting to learn that the wine was made using prickly pear cacti from Lubbock. We also tasted a tart cranberry wine, an incredibly sweet sherry, a fuller bodied chardonnay made from Washington grapes, a lighter "Starlight White" blend made from California grapes, and a dry, complex "Sunset Red." Of the six we tasted, the starlight white was my favorite, with the chardonnay coming in at a close second!
The woodsy, quaint grounds of the Texas Star Winery were beautiful, so I was a little disappointed that the tasting was done in the florescent-lit tank room. While it was interesting to see some of the mechanics, I would have much preferred to sit in the beautiful outside area!
Next up was the Pleasant Hill Winery, located in Brenham.
Pleasant Hill Winery houses a vineyard and uses all Texas grapes for its wines. The scenery was absolutely stunning, and we were able to sit on the airy, front porch for our tasting. This was also where Jon and I dug into the food that we brought. We were given a menu, and we were allowed to choose which wines we'd like to sample. I went with the mostly dry, lemony, collina bianca "White Hill"; the fuller bodied collina rossa, which had a nice, mahogany aroma; the dry, slightly sour tasting sangiovese, which was made from Lubbock grapes; the sweet, light, and refreshing rosé; and the spicy, deep cabernet that Jon ordered, which had a very rich aroma. Of the five, my favorites were the collina rossa and the collina bianca, and we bought a bottle of each to take home. I was a big, BIG fan of Pleasant Hill Winery!
Our final stop of the day was at Yellow Brick Road Winery, located in Sealy.
To answer all of the burning questions I know you have right now: yes Sealy has a winery, yes it is incredible, and yes one of the owners is Gerry Math, who - fun fact - composed music for some little low budget films such as Titanic, Last of the Mohicans, Legends of the Fall, and Forrest Gump, EVER HEARD OF THEM?
And yes, I was gifted with a solo violin serenading sesh after I'd gushed to Gerry about my undying love for Titanic and how I'd seen it in the theater five times when I was 12, so basically dreams do come true.
Aside from the fact that this winery was beautiful, unexpected, and interesting, and aside from the fact that we heard gorgeous music while enjoying our wine and food that we brought, the wine itself was also wonderful. Yellow Brick Road Winery's wines are grown on their 50 acres of property, processed downtown, and mostly blended. We sampled four different wines: a full, fruity-yet-dry petite syrah/cab franc blend; a sweet, smooth chocolate wine that is made from combining grapes with chocolate cream (I liked it more than I thought I would); a smooth, dry, lemony white blend (not sure what the exact blend was because I can't really read my handwriting from this point on, #wine); and a spicy, dry, full malbec from Argentina. We purchased a bottle of the white blend, the red blend, and the malbec to take back with us.
Jon and I LOVED this winery. From the classy interior, to the interesting backstory, to the beautiful music, to the truly enjoyable wines, we couldn't get enough and plan on going back on our own, especially since it's not too far from Houston!
|Photo Credit: David, Texas Winos|
(okay, that's probably not hard to believe).
Whether you are a wine expert or someone who just enjoys kicking back with a few glasses, taking a Houston-area trip with Texas Winos is a fun, interesting, and FANTASTIC way to spend a day. You'll be whisked away to charming locations not too far outside of Houston that you might not otherwise think of visiting. And if you click on this link [at least for now] you can get an awesome deal on tickets! I cannot recommend this wonderful experience enough!