Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Sister Creek Vineyards
The Texas Hill Country holds 24+ wineries. You may remember Comfort Cellars from an earlier post. I'm thinking now to visit all of them, maybe one a month, and report back. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make for my friends.
Sister Creek Vineyards is in Sisterdale, about 13 miles from Comfort, in the historic 1885 Sisterdale Cotton Gin. It's not really on the way to anywhere, but not too far away either. And it's worth a drive, even a weekend visit. Stay at a B&B in Comfort or Boerne or Fredericksburg. Enjoy the scenery, eat good food, drink great wine, go home happy.
The town of Sisterdale is small, somewhere between 25 and 63 residents, depending on whom you believe. Fortunately, they don't need a lot of people to make good wine.
The owners started twenty-one years ago with a vision of fine wine from Texas grapes. A lot of folks are dubious about fine wine from Texas, but they haven't been to Sister Creek Vineyards. The winery makes traditional varieties, around 20,000 cases a year of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon blends and Merlot. Most of the grapes are from Texas, some from Sister Creek's own vineyards.
The winery also makes an Italian style Muscat Canelli. I shook my head when they urged me to try it. The grape grows well in Texas but the other Texas Muscats I've tasted were simple and sweet. I want character.
For a nominal fee you can taste all of the offerings, including reserves. I tasted eight wines and thought all had merit. The most surprising was the Pinot Noir, which exhibited characteristic cherry fruit and Pinot dust. I was surprised because the grape is notoriously thin-skinned and hard to grow. And Texas weather is brutal.
My favorites were two of the Bordeaux-style meritages. I'm not the only one who likes them. Both wines won silver medals at the June 21, 2009 San Francisco International Wine Competition. Read my notes below and see what you think.
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon 4-Blend Reserve (cabernet sauvignon 39%, merlot 23%, cab franc (from CA) 22%, Petite Verdot (from CA) 16%), $29.95. Rich, full, fruity (blackberry, cherry), balanced with nice acidity and silky tannins.
2007 Vintner's Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 5-Blend (cab 45%, merlot 40%, sangiovese 5%, malbec 8%, cab franc (from CA) 2%), $39.95. Lovely. Balances rich fruit (berry), soft toast and acidity. Satisfying and layered.
And, in the end, I tried the 2008 Muscat Canelli and really liked it. Slightly effervescent with flowers, pears and apricot on the nose, followed to finish in an elegant flow of flavors. I wish I'd brought a case home, it might have made our torrid summer easier.