By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery
We are busy in the vineyards harvesting wine grapes for what looks like another stellar vintage in the Texas wine country. This is the time of year when we see all of our hard work pay off with gorgeous clusters of grapes coming to ripeness, and making their way into the winery.
It has been a fairly ideal growing season. We started out the season with bud break about 10 to14 days earlier than normal in most grape varieties. Fortunately, we did not experience late spring frost events to destroy the young growth, even though it was close on several mornings around 36 degrees. We didn’t sustain lasting damage from limited early season light hail. The hail size, duration of the storm and vine phenology all determine damage.
Early in the season, just after fruit set, we had nice rainfall that helped determined the size of the grape clusters during this cell division stage. I'm seeing unusually large size clusters in varieties like Roussanne, Viognier and Mourvèdre. On the other hand, rainfall and wind conditions during fruit set of our Grenache vines have yielded smaller clusters and less fruit.
We had a battle with the birds this year too. Normally we don't install our bird netting in the Hill Country until early July. However, this year with the hot conditions the birds arrived early and in great numbers forcing a frenzy to get our netting up in early June.
The frequent rains this season let us bypass irrigation for the most part in our Hill Country vineyards, with the exception of new plantings. The rain also spurred a late burst of additional canopy growth. While this isn’t typically desirable, especially in vineyards with bird netting installed, it has not caused any problems with fruit quality. In fact, those new leaves are providing a little shade for the fruit during high sun intensity. Rainfall has helped keep the canopy healthy and producing sugars.
Normally, even with an early bud break the vine slows growth and the actual harvest timing is not earlier. However, this year it appears that our harvest will be earlier on most all varieties. The most significant differences I've seen are in Mourvèdre and Roussanne, which are our late ripening varieties, and they are going to be ready up to two weeks early. We will harvest right on time for our estate Viognier this week, and our Syrah will quickly follow next week.
Right now, the weather is shaping up to be pretty good for that last push of grape maturation. We’ve had hot and dry conditions with intermittent rainfall, with some vineyards receiving upwards of two inches in past four weeks. Luckily rain has been followed by heat drying down soils, which prevents berry swell and burst, and reduces the potential for cluster rot.
We are right on track to bring in projected tonnage from our estate, managed and contracted vineyards around the state. I update my early season yield estimates every month from fruit set through pre-harvest as conditions in the field change. Estimates are crucial for a successful harvest so that we allocate funds to pay our growers, arrange for proper number of picking bins to be transported from the winery to the field, hire the appropriate level of labor, order supplies like yeast and oak barrels, and plan tank space in the cellar. Late season reds, from the High Plains are likely not to find a home in any cellar in Texas unless yield estimates are right on target. We can’t bring in more grapes than we have tank space to process. The good news is we are right on track to hit our estimates for an abundant crop.
Not only is the quantity looking great but so is the quality! This year is shaping up to be a respectable vintage as the fruit is holding well in the field and developing delicious flavor profiles. While sugars are steadily increasing, the acids are holding well too.
We’re not to the finish line yet. If we receive significant rainfall between now and the end of harvest, the quality of some varieties may suffer. Rainfall will wash out the sugars and flavors, and then we’ll have to delay harvest for these elements to come together again. Normally this is only problematic in later ripening varieties with tropical moisture events later in summer, but the tropical storms have started earlier than normal this year. Please do your “No Rain” dance for just a short time until we get all of the grapes in the cellar.
Grape growing isn’t easy business. There are so many variables that are out of our hands that we have to manage. It is so satisfying to see everything coming together for another stand-out harvest. This means a fantastic 2017 vintage of wines is coming your way next year.
By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery
June is traditionally the most popular month to get married. As the winemaker at a winery named for the 400-year-old Wedding Oak Tree where people have gathered for countless weddings over the centuries, this month caused me to reflect on the nature of marital unions. The most successful marriages bring out the best characteristics of both people as individuals, while also establishing a completely new couple’s persona that is only possible through the blending of those two people’s finest traits.
The same is true with wine. (Yes, it is true that as a winemaker almost everything makes me think of a corollary in the wine world, but stick with me. . . wine and marriage do have similarities.) There are many excellent wines that are made with a singular grape variety. Think of Oregon Pinot Noir. And there are sundry stellar wines that are always made as blends. Think of Bordeaux wines made with a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other varieties.
I’ve typically approached winemaking with an old-world approach, taking inspiration from classic wines like Spanish Rioja-styles. I blend complimentary grapes to make wines that are stylistically similar to how they are made in other areas of the world. For instance, I make our Terre Blanc with the same grape blends as you’ll find in Rhône white wines — Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. This is a wonderful marriage of the elegant qualities of all three grapes. As the dominant partner, Marsanne, gives the blend its rich color, opulent pear aromas, and silky body. Roussanne contributes finesse to the blend with more depth, more richness, and intense aromatics. Viognier brings full-bodied peach, tangerine and honeysuckle scents and flavors to the union. The result of the marriage is a wine with complex herbal, nutty, and stone-fruit characters that aren’t fully present in any of the three individual wines.
While I’ve always made some single variety wines, like our award winning Viognier, this vintage we had such stellar quantities and quality of grapes, I decided to make single variety Roussanne and Marsanne wines too. Now you have the opportunity to taste all three wines on their own, and as a wedded wine.
The Roussanne grape can be persnickety and difficult to grow in great quantities, but the 2016 harvest from the Narra Vineyard in the Texas High Plains was exceptional. The grapes produced a wine with a beautiful golden straw color, powerful scents of fresh flowers, peaches, spice tea, roasted cashews and black pepper. This opulent wine has layers of honey and pear flavors. It’s lively acidity and a beautiful lingering finish make it a great accompaniment to Texas shellfish, grilled pork tenderloin, veal, and spicy Asian dishes. Our 2016 Roussanne won a gold medal at the prestigious 34th annual Lone Star International Wine Competition.
This wine is as bright as a sunny summer day in Texas. The grapes are gown on a steep hillside with deep limestone and clay soils in our estate High Valley Vineyard in San Saba County. Typically, all of Marsanne grapes from this block go into our Terre Blanc wine, but in 2016, I separated a portion of the grapes to play with. I’m incredibly happy that I did. This wine has a rich, mineral texture that will become more complex with time. It bursts with spicy aromatics, and is lush with flavors of Meyer lemon and roasted almonds, with a creamy vanilla finish. It’s a great wine to serve with rich seafood dishes, and grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.
While each of those single grapes make fantastic wines on their own, they make a wholly different and equally gorgeous Rhône-style blend made with 67% Marsanne, 21% Roussanne and 12 % Viognier. The grapes for this wine were harvested over a three-week period, with Roussanne coming into the cellar two weeks after the Viognier harvest, and the Marsanne harvested in between. Terre Blanc has a rich golden color, and opens with soft aromatics of honeycomb and chamomile. This lively blend has toasted almond, honeydew melon and pear flavors, and a crisp mineral-like mouthfeel. This perky white wine pairs nicely with chicken, pork and especially with Texas seafood on the grill.
Give these two newly released, single variety white wines a try this summer. Then, see what the Roussanne and Marsanne taste like married together in our Terre Blanc. We think each of these wines will conjure the same romance as a wedding day.
If you are planning a wedding, we also have a full suite of bridal themed wines, each made with a blend of grapes. They’re a great addition to any celebration of love.
Wedding Oak Winery was recognized with 22 medals — including two gold medals — at the prestigious 34th annual Lone Star International Wine Competition conducted by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA), June 5-6, 2017 at the Grapevine Convention Center. In all, Wedding Oak Winery was awarded two gold medals, 10 silver medals and 10 bronze medals in both Texas and International categories for its wines made with 100 percent Texas-grown grapes.
The gold medal winning 2016 Wedding Oak Winery, Roussanne and 2015 Wedding Oak Winery, Tempranillo Reserve were just released and are now available. Both wines are made using 100 percent Texas grown grapes.
The 2016 Roussanne is made with grapes harvested at night from the Narra Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. It has a beautiful golden straw color and powerful aromatics of fresh fruit, spice tea, cashews and black pepper. The opulent wine has layers of honey and pear flavors with lively acidity that let it pair incredibly well with Texas shellfish, grilled pork tenderloin, and dishes with savory sauces.
The 2015 Tempranillo Reserva is made with grapes grown at Mirasol Vineyard in Lampasas County, managed by Wedding Oak Winery viticulturist and winemaker Penny Adams. The grapes were hand harvested in the early morning hours in early August. A touch of Viognier lees was used to help stick the color of the finished wine. The wine was barrel aged in neutral French oak for 14 months. It is full of cherry, cedar and tobacco box aromatics. The tart black cherry flavors and racy acidity make this a terrific food wine that pairs incredibly well with BBQ ribs, smoked pork tenderloin, and creamy mushroom risotto or paella.
“I'm honored by this recognition from the prestigious Lone Star Wine Competition for the quality wines we produce,” says Penny Adams, winemaker. “The many hours of preparation and hard work that go into each vintage, with contributions by many people in the vineyards and cellar, is validated with these awards. While I’m proud of each accolade, I also use these results as a benchmark to challenge our winemaking to be even better in future vintages.”
The Lone Star International Wine Competition was started in 1984 and is the oldest wine competition in Texas. The competition judged 595 wines submitted from around the world in more than 30 categories by a panel of restaurant owners, sommeliers, chefs, media, trade representatives and other wine experts from Texas and California.
2017 Lone Star International Wine Competition Awards
- Wedding Oak Winery, Roussanne, Texas High Plains, Narra Vineyards, 2016 — Gold (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Tempranillo Reserve, Texas Hill Country, Mirasol Vineyard, 2015 — Gold (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Wild Seed Farms, Baby's Breath, Texas High Plains, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Bridal Blush, Texas High Plains, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Marsanne, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2016 — Silver (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Marsanne, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2016 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Rose de Dolcetto, Texas High Plains, Diamante Doble Vineyards, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Sangiovese, Texas Hill Country, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Tioja, Texas Hill Country, Mirasol Vineyard, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Viognier, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2016 — Silver (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Viognier, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2016 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Wild Seed Farms, Wine Cup, Texas High Plains, 2015 — Silver (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Bridal Veil, Texas High Plains, White Wine, 2016 — Bronze (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Harmony Ridge, Texas Red Wine, 2015 — Bronze (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Rose de Dolcetto, Texas High Plains, Diamante Doble Vineyard, 2016 — Bronze (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Roussanne, Texas High Plains, Narra Vineyards, 2016 — Bronze (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Sangiovese, Texas Hill Country, 2015 — Bronze (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Sweet Alyssum, Texas High Plains, 2015 — Bronze (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Tempranillo Reserve, Texas Hill Country, Mirasol Vineyard, 2015 — Bronze (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Terre Blanc, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2015 — Bronze (International)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Terre Blanc, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2015 — Bronze (Texas)
- Wedding Oak Winery, Terre Rouge, Texas Hill Country, High Valley Estate Vineyard, 2015 — Bronze (Texas)
By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery
This gorgeous spring weather in Texas calls for a picnic. Why wait for Memorial Day when you can pack a basket of delicious food and Texas wine to drink with it. Here are three food friendly wines that will feel right at home on a picnic blanket, paired with excellent recipes from the United Tastes of Texas cookbook by Jessica Dupuy.
There is no better wine to serve at a picnic than a dry rosé. The crisp, acidic qualities of rosé makes it versatile and the perfect match with a wide range of flavors in picnic dishes. Our rosé is made with Dolcetto grapes grown in the Diamante Doble Vineyard in Tokio, Texas. It is a party in a bottle with fresh scents of red berry fruit with peppery undertones. It has vibrant flavors of raspberry, cranberry and fresh-picked strawberry with a touch of lemon zest. I recommend pairing it with a hearty potato salad.
Hill Country Potato Salad (Page 14 of United Tastes of Texas)
- Bring potatoes, salt, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until tender, drain and rinse under cold water 1 minute. Drain well.
- Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat 8 minutes or until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tsbsp. Drippings. Crumble bacon.
- Peel potatoes, and cut into 1-inch pieces. Combine potatoes, bacon, reserved 2 Tbsp. warm drippings, eggs, next 5 ingredients, and pickles, if desired, in a large bowl. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
A chilled, bright white wine is always a fantastic choice for a picnic. Our Baby’s Breath is a festive wine that is perfect on a sunny day. And, it is packaged in a twist top, so no corkscrew is necessary. It has wonderful floral aromas from Riesling grown in the Texas High Plains, and rich honeyed pear flavors from the Roussanne grape. It is complex without being fussy with fresh citrus, candied lemon peel, baked apples with cinnamon, and firm minerals with a clean finish. It has just a hint of sweetness balanced with a slight tartness that pairs gorgeously with fried chicken.
Honey-friend Chicken with White Wine Cream Sauce (Page 84 of United Tastes of Texas)
- Combine first 4 ingredients in a large glass or ceramic bowl; add chicken. Cover and chill 4 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.
- Remove chicken from marinade; drain on paper towels. Pour marinade through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, reserving 2 Tbsp. marinade. Discard remaining marinade.
- Place flour in a shallow dish. Whisk eggs with buttermilk in a separate shallow dish. Dip chicken in egg mixture; dredge in flour, shaking off excess.
- Pour oil to depth of 1 inch into a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 275 F. Fry chicken, in batches, turning occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes or until evenly browned and done. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste while hot.
- Remove and discard oil from skillet. Reserving drippings in skillet. Add wine, and cook 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add broth, and simmer 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Add cream and reserved 2 Tbsp. marinade. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 6 minutes or until mixture thickens and coats a spoon.
- Pour sauce through a wire-mesh strainer into a serving bowl. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with fried chicken.
For you red wine lovers, we have a fantastic wine to sip under the Texas sky. Texedo Red made with a blend of Dolcetto, Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Tannat grapes is a lush wine full of raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, plum and concentrated dried berries mingled with tobacco and vanilla. It has a velvety mouth feel with just a touch of sweetness wrapped around a core of grippy tannins. Serve it lightly chilled with a variety of spicy and tangy dishes. I love it with tortilla chips and Texas Caviar.
Texas Caviar (Page 204 of United Tastes of Texas)
Stir together all ingredients in a serving bowl. Cover and chill, stirring occasionally, 8 hours.
No matter what food you choose to pair with our wines, we want to make it easy for you to plan. We have packaged these three wines in a convenient “Summer Picnic Basket” special. Just click here to order our “Summer Picnic Basket.”
By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist for Wedding Oak Winery
You know that sickening feeling you get when a storm is barreling down on you, and your car is left out in the elements? You just know that it is going to be pummeled by hail, resulting in a costly trip to the body shop.
Now imagine how you would feel if your entire livelihood was in the path of that same storm? That is exactly the situation Texas winemakers face each spring when extreme weather threatens the fresh growth of grape vines left helpless to the elements in the vineyard. If not a late frost, it is hail, severe winds, or a deluge of flooding rain that threaten our vines.
To make matters a bit more precarious than usual, the warmer than average January temperatures led to the growing season starting out much earlier than normal in vineyards across the state. Having bud break this early always puts growers on edge. The delicate buds are exposed to the risk of late spring frost that can decimate a crop. Additionally, spring storms rife with hail can be particularly devastating in young vineyards where vine trunks and cordons are developing. The earlier in the season when a hail event occurs, the more catastrophic it can be, as the more exposed newly developing buds are likely to be damaged.
Most varieties in the Hill Country are at bloom in their phenological calendar now, and factors like extreme rainfall and wind during this time can impact fruit set, and ultimately yield. In most grape variety blocks, we are in growth phases that range from pre-bloom to just post fruit-set. We are now in mid-season, and the fruit is better protected by larger leaf area acting as umbrellas of sorts.
In spite of the risks, the growing season is going well so far. Several storms have moved through our Hill Country vineyards recently causing limited hail damage to upper canopies and wind damage to canes. I've seen limited damage to Viognier clusters that are just beyond fruit set, so I expect no impact on yield. The storms last week fell in line with our normal "Easter Freeze" events that often plague Texas winegrape production. Several contracted vineyards in the Texas High Plains suffered severe loss of fruit for this season, but fortunately most have been spared.
Spring Planting and Vineyard Management
We continue to plant to vineyard acreage, and diligently maintain our existing vineyards. It’s a busy time in the vineyards.
We have completed spring planting of seventeen acres in our various contracted Hill Country vineyards with Viognier, Trebbiano, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Dolcetto, Graciano, Mourvèdre, Syrah and Tannat to bolster our production levels for our growing markets. I'm particularly excited about the Graciano and Carignan plantings because these varieties will contribute important complexities to our lineup, especially in our Rioja-style red wines. The nice spring rainfall created a little bit of a dance of sorts regarding getting into the vineyards to plant.
In vineyards planted last year, we are training young vines, which includes developing trunks, cordons and spurs, with frequent vineyard passes during the vines "grand period of growth." During this approximately six-week period of rapid vine growth, they can grow more than an inch per day. As you can probably guess these tender new shoots are especially vulnerable to damage during this critical vine development stage. If damaged by weather, they may need to be retrained from the ground up: a devastating additional expense for vineyard owners.
In our older vineyards we are finishing up shoot removal along the cordons, opening up the canopies to more sunlight and allowing leaves to dry after spring rain. This also allows fungicide sprays to better penetrate the canopies and protect the fruit from the many fungal pressures we have here in the Hill Country during this critical time of the season.
With the early bud break, I predict we will have a slightly earlier harvest here in our Hill Country varieties, particularly Viognier. Despite the vines jumping out of their dormancy early this season, and the minor weather impacts on fruit crop, this 2017 vintage is looking better than ever!
Spring is here! We’re celebrating the First Day of Spring and the Vernal Equinox this week, which is a perfect opportunity for us to try different food and wine pairings. Spring is a perfect time to break out refreshing white and rosé wines. We have a few highly acclaimed recommendations for you with top wines from the Texas Wine Journal, and a medal winner from the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
In its recently published review of white wine blends, the Texas Wine Journal evaluated 17 wines submitted by 12 producers in Texas. Seven wine professionals evaluated the wines in a blind tasting format using a specific scoring system. In a state as large as Texas, it’s easy to understand that several white grape varieties were used in the blends. What’s interesting is that The Top 5 all contain Roussanne and all Top 10 contain Rhone Varietals. We are thrilled to have both our 2015 Bridal Veil and 2015 Terre Blanc selected in the Top 10.
The TEXSOM International Wine Awards continues to grow in its importance, and attracted a record 3,581 entries from 29 countries and 19 U.S. States this year. All wines were blind-tasted and judged by 71 internationally renowned industry influencers from 5 countries. Texas wines fared well with several awards. Our 2015 Rosé de Dolcetto won a Bronze Medal in the prestigious competition.
Pairing Top Rated Wines with Grilled Food
Spring is a perfect time to grill food outside in the beautiful Texas weather. Wine is a fantastic accompaniment with grilled food as the naturally occurring sugar, acidity and alcohol in wine complement almost anything cooked with flames.
Here are my recommendations for Spring wine and grilled food pairings with our wines:
Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Veil 2015, Texas High Plains with Grilled Veggies
Whether grilled veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and corn are your main course or a side dish, picking the right wine can turn it into the star of the show. The fire-roasted char and caramelization of grilled vegetables beg for fuller-bodied whites with a hint of residual sugar.
Our 2015 Bridal Veil, made with a blend of Trebbiano and Vermentino has enticing tropical aromas of pineapple and mango that bring out the fragrance of charred vegetables. These vibrant fruity flavors carry through to the finish, with crisp acidity that makes it versatile with a wide selection of veggies.
Wedding Oak Winery Terre Blanc 2015, Texas Hill Country and Grilled Chicken
Grilled chicken always makes me think of carefree days and picnics by the lake. The hot coals bring out the best in the bird. The sweet caramelization and bitter char from the grill make it an excellent partner with buoyant white wines. Well textured Marsanne, aromatic peachy Viognier and tart, Trebbiano are all excellent choices to pair with grilled chicken.
Our Terre Blanc 2015 is an amazing wine with a fruitiness and lively tanginess that goes great with almost any style of grilled chicken. It’s made with estate -grown Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne grapes. It has a rich texture, honeysuckle fragrance, scents of tea, with spiced apricot, ripe pear and white peach flavors and a bit of spice.
Wedding Oak Winery 2015 Rosé de Dolcetto, Texas High Plains, Diamante Doble Vineyard and Grilled Fish
Selecting the right wine to pair well with grilled seafood is probably easier than grilling the fish itself. A range of wines with high acid are great with grilled seafood. Think of the kind of wines that make you pucker a little bit like tart, minerally dry rosé. These types of wines go well with any type of seafood that you would normally squeeze a little lemon onto.
Our Rosé De Dolcetto 2015 is delicate enough that it won’t overpower lighter fish, but fruity and vibrant enough for fattier fish like trout or salmon. It was made using the Saignée method, separating out the juice just after crushing the fruit with slight amount of skin contact time, giving it a delightful watermelon color. This wine has fresh aromas and flavors of red berry fruit, including red currant, raspberry, cranberry and fresh picked strawberry with a touch of lemon zest. The mouth feel is bright in the front with a warm clove-like spiciness in the mid to end palate.
Spring doesn't last long in Texas so no matter what you choose to grill, take this opportunity to try a variety of award winning Wedding Oak wine pairings to discover which ones you like most.
We love seeing how our wines compare to other great wines in similar categories. We’re thrilled to be awarded 11 medals — including a Best of Class award — at the revered San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest wine contest of solely American wines in the world.
Our wines made with 100 percent Texas-grown fruit were certainly put through their paces at the competition. A panel of sixty wine experts from the media, education, trade, and hospitality judged 7,100 submissions from small boutique wineries and large-scale suppliers from across the country.
An amazing thing happened this year: seven Texas wineries won Best of Class awards with their categories. That’s a huge accomplishment for one state to get that many awards, and second only to California. Best of Class Awards were also awarded to American wines recognized for extraordinary quality. The Texas wineries Best in Class award winners in 2017 are:
- Brennan Vineyards – Viognier 2015 (Viognier – $25.00 and above)
- Haak Vineyards & Winery – Tempranillo 2015 (Tempranillo – $0.00 – $24.99)
- Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards – Sweet Blush Colibri (Dry Rose/Blush – RS >.25)
- Messina Hof Winery – Merlot 2015 (Merlot – $15.00 – $18.99)
- Perissos Vineyards and Winery – Dolcetto 2015 (Dolcetto)
- Trilogy Cellars – Malbec 2015 (Malbec – $25.00 and above)
- Wedding Oak Winery – Sweet Alyssum 2015 (White Blends – $20.00 and above)
We’re honored to win a “Best in Class” award for our Sweet Alyssum, which was just introduced last Spring as part of our Wildseed Farms Series. This slightly sweet wine has been a crowd pleaser. It’s incredibly fragrant with pear, orange peel, and dried flowers scents that set a cheery tone. A blend of primarily Muscat Canelli and Riesling gives this wine fresh flavors of ripe pear, navel orange, honey dew melon and a floral finish that fills the mouth with abandon.
Want to taste what the San Francisco judges loved? Try it with spicy foods like Thai noodles, pasta arrabiata, and shrimp diablo.
If you want to try our other 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition medal winners, here is a full list:
- Wedding Oak Winery Sweet Alyssum 2015— Best of Class
- Wedding Oak Winery Baby's Breath 2015— Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Bliss 2015 — Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Blush 2014—Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Veil 2015— Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Sangiovese 2014— Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Tempranillo Reserva 2014 — Silver
- Wedding Oak Winery Rosé de Dolcetto 2015 — Bronze
- Wedding Oak Winery Tioja 2014— Bronze
- Wedding Oak Winery Viognier 2015 — Bronze
- Wedding Oak Winery Wine Cup 2015— Bronze
December is stuffed with a myriad of opportunities to open a bottle of wine with friends and family. The last thing you need is the extra stress of figuring out what kind of wine to buy for parties, festive meals and holiday get-togethers. We’ve got you covered with a few holiday wine shopping recommendations.
Holiday parties are fun, and buying the wine for them can be almost as enjoyable. To help take the stress out of planning the wine for your party we’ve put together these simple tips. Let’s just say we were inspired not only by the holidays, but also by winning several noteworthy awards at prominent competitions.
Get the Right Amount
Figuring out how much wine to buy is as simple as understanding how many servings are in a bottle, how much your guests will drink and the number of guests you expect.
Step 1: Serving size
One 750-milileter bottle = five 5-ounce servings One case (12 750-milileter bottles) = 60 servings
Step 2: Consumption average
Assume guests at a holiday party will consume up to two glasses of wine per hour.
Step 3: Simple equation
One hour at two glasses per person x 10 guests = four bottles of wine. Extrapolate from there.
Get the Right MixIf your party begins before 5 p.m., get a mix that includes 20 percent sparkling wine, 20 percent rosé, 30 percent white wine and 30 percent red wine. If your party starts after 5 p.m., your mix should include 30 percent sparkling wine, 10 percent rosé, 10 percent white wine and 50 percent red wine.
Get the Right WinesIt’s always nice to pick crowd-pleaser wines that are both versatile with food and recognizable. One way to ensure a wine is recognizable is by choosing wines that have won awards at prestigious competitions. We have you covered with recommendations of some of our wines that just won significant awards.
Award Winning Holiday Choices
Serving holiday dinner without a white wine is like starting the day without coffee. You just wouldn’t do it. Put our food-friendly Wedding Oak Winery Albariño on your shopping list. This versatile wine pairs well with a wide variety of holiday fare, with flavors of crushed pineapple, ruby red grapefruit and red apple, with a lingering finish of lemon zest. Wedding Oak Winery Albariño, Texas High Plains, 2015 just won a Gold Medal at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo 2017 International Wine Competition, and it won a Silver medal and Texas Class Champion at the 2017 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. Grab a bottle or two for $27 https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/albario-2015.
Beyond being incredibly beautiful to serve on a holiday table, rosé is a fantastic light, refreshing style of wine tailor made for complex menus. Our Bridal Blush has the acidity and fruit to make it a great wine to drink with Christmas dinner. It’s as festive as the holidays with fresh apricots and cherry scents and juicy strawberry flavor. Impress your guests with telling them the Wedding Oak Winery Bridal Blush, Texas High Plains, 2014 Rosé won Double Gold, and was a Class Champion and a Texas Class Champion at the 2017 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. It is a bargain for $21. https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/bridal-blush-2014
That shimmering Christmas goose might make you crave white wine, but our 2014 Tempranillo Reserva will give it wings. Its invigorating acidity, sumptuous fruit and soft tannins make it the perfect bedfellow with not only fowl, but also just about anything. It is elegant and complex without being fussy. Our recently released Wedding Oak Winery Tempranillo Reserva, Texas Hill Country, 2014 recently won a Silver Medal at the 2017 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. This impressive wine is available to our club members only for $35 (join the club!). https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/tempranillo-reserva-2014
An alternate red wine for those of you who like a hint of sweetness is our newest release, our 2015 Texedo Red. Be one of the first people in Texas to taste this complex wine full of raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blackberry, stewed plum and concentrated currants mingled with tobacco and vanilla. It has a velvety mouth feel with a hint of sweetness wrapped around a core of grippy tannins. It will be a perfect pair with Beef Wellington for the holidays and sells for $27. https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/texedo-red-2015
Wedding Oak Winery Award Winners
We are thrilled to receive several medals at both the recent at the 2017 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition and the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo 2017 International Wine Competition. It is excellent validation that the wines we make for you are of the utmost quantity.
Including the wines above, Wedding Oak Winery has been recognized with three Class Champion awards, four Texas Class Champion awards, a Double Gold, two Golds, five Silvers, and several Bronze medals. We’re humbled by the recognition, and all the more committed to continuing to strive for excellence in our winemaking.
We wish you and yours the happiest holiday season filled with wine and cheer.
By Penny Adams, winemaker
I love Thanksgiving. It’s a fantastic day to enjoy the company of family and friends, reflect on the best parts of our lives and to break out a few bottles of delicious wine. It may seem daunting to pick the perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner. A complex menu like those serve at traditional Thanksgiving begs for versatile wines. A sure fire key to success is selecting more than one type of wine to pair with different dishes and to please a plenitude of palates.
Whether you are cooking at home or attending dinner at a friend’s house, plan to have one bottle of each wine for every two people in attendance. As a guest, you might not need to supply all the wine, but you should always bring a bottle of something to augment the host’s supply. It’s a nice gift if it isn’t served.
I’m a traditionalist and wouldn’t consider serving anything but a domestic wine on a truly American holiday like Thanksgiving. And being a Texan, I can’t help but reach for Texas wines to pour for this important celebration of thankfulness. Here are a couple of my recommendations for your feast.
The Right White
In general, white wines tend to be food friendly with bright acidity that brings various flavors of food to life. They typically don’t overpower a meal either.
2014 Terre Blanc
French Rhone blends, like our Terre Blanc, are excellent for the Thanksgiving table. It’s fruitiness and lively tanginess makes it versatile to pair well with a wide variety of food on the Thanksgiving table. The 2014 vintage is a blend of Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne grapes, with a dash of Trebbiano grapes grown in the Texas Hill Country. The dominance of Marsanne grapes gives it a rich texture, honeysuckle fragrance, with pear and white peach flavors and a bit of spice. The Roussanne brings scents of tea, and spiced apricot flavors. They are a great match for the stone fruit, ripe pear, and lemon zest flavors of the Viognier.
Together the grapes make a lovely wine with the weight, bright finish and complexity to go with anything Thanksgiving can throw at it.
Don’t Forget the Red Wine
The table is loaded with an incredible array of foods from tart cranberries and creamy green bean casserole to buttery mashed potatoes and savory stuffing to the luscious pièce de résistance, the turkey. You might not think of red wine when you gaze at that succulent turkey breast, but lighter style reds deserve a seat at your table. Wines with lush fruit, mild alcohol and soft tannins give it the versatility to pairs well with not only Turkey, but also with red meats and just about any dish.
Our salute to the Spanish Rioja region, Tioja is made predominantly with the Tempranillo grape from Mirasol Vineyard and Tio Pancho Vineyard, in the Texas Hill Country AVA. It’s an elegant, fruity red wine with fresh acidity that loves the rich fat of the turkey dark meat and the gravy. Unlike some of your relatives, these wines won’t dominate the conversation — or the food. Better yet, this earthy, spicy wine with sweet tobacco, blackberry, and plum flavors won’t get lost in the cacophony of flavors in the feast.
Like its sister Spanish wines, our Tioja has a backbone of dusty tannins. I recommend decanting this wine an hour before serving to really see it shine.
We’ve Made Ordering Wine for Thanksgiving Easy
To help take the hassle holiday planning, we’ve prepared a Thanksgiving and Holiday Special with both wines for only $48 with discounted shipping.
Get yours today: https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/thanksgiving-holiday-special
By Penny S. Adams, winemaker and viticulturist
Wedding Oak Winery welcomes the Wine Tourism Conference to Fredericksburg, Texas. We’re glad you are here!
The bucolic beauty, rolling landscape striped by rows of grapevines, and concentration of wineries has made the Texas Hill Country a tourist destination. In fact, Wine Enthusiast recently rated the Texas Hill Country as the fourth Best Wine Travel Destination in the world. Not bad!
Earlier this year, we opened a second location in a picturesque setting at Wildseed Farms, among 200 acres of lush wildflowers in Fredericksburg, Texas. The gorgeous facilities and vineyards are an excellent wine destination in the heart of Texas’ wine tourism on the Wine Road 290. Wildseed Farms has long been a popular tourist destination with its sprawling outdoor marketplace, gardens, gift shop and café. The concentration of tourists thirsty for a taste of quality Texas wine was certainly an important factor in our selection of Fredericksburg as a site for our second winery location.
But tourism isn’t the only reason we are expanding in the Hill Country. As both the viticulturist and winemaker, I see distinct advantages to investing in vineyard growth in the Texas Hill Country.
The majority of wine grapes in Texas are grown in the High Plains. The demand for these grapes by wineries around the state has been greater than the supply. Until recently, grape growers have been sitting in the proverbial “catbird seat,” controlling destination and pricing of their fruit. In fact, many new wineries have had to go out of state to secure grapes for wine production.
In the past few years, plantings of vineyards throughout Texas have increased to thousands of acres, providing plenty of fruit to all Texas wineries. This addition of much more vineyard acreage is creating a competitive marketplace is helping to stabilize the pricing of fruit and increase quality of fruit.
The Texas Hill Country is seeing growth in vineyard planting. It’s the home to many of the state’s wineries, making it the destination for most of the grapes grown in the High Plains. Now the Texas Hill Country is producing some of the finest quality fruit ever grown in Texas. Growers are choosing better sites and planting varieties that grow best, creating better wines than ever before. In the past, growers avoided planting white grape varieties which generally begin to grow earlier than red grape varieties, thereby making them more susceptible to frost damage. With the advent of frost abatement technologies, many larger growers in the Hill Country have been more apt to plant white grapes knowing they are able to mediate the temperatures enough to save a crop even in an occasional frost.
The Texas Hill Country is the largest viticultural area in the state and the second largest in the U.S., comprising 58 different soil associations distributed over approximately 9 million acres. It is a great location for growing wine grapes with its karst topography with thin layers of soil atop limestone or granite underpinnings. Water is generally available in sufficient quantity and quality to irrigate all vineyards in the Texas Hill Country. Winemakers understand these advantages and are now teasing out the intricacies of each terroir throughout the region.
At Wedding Oak Winery, we certainly see distinct advantages to have deep relationships with quality growers in the High Plains, as well as maintaining vineyards in the Hill Country. We are at the mercy of the weather to grow premium quality fruit each year. Diversifying our vineyard locations in different regions of the state reduces our susceptibility to being wiped out by winter freeze, late spring frost, and hail that inevitably have tremendous impact on the grape crop each year. While we may have a great crop set in one vineyard, another just a few miles down the road may have poor fruit set or no fruit set at all. Imagine the variance in weather we see with vineyards 350 miles apart.
In addition, there is a huge advantage to having Hill Country vineyards planted close to our production facility in San Saba, Texas. The availability of premium quality grapes planted closer to the winery creates a more streamlined production process. Grapes harvested locally suffer less stress than those that have to be transported long distances to the winery, thereby eliminating oxidation and other potential maladies in the finished wines.
To augment wine grape production from our estate vineyards in the Hill Country, we are well underway with vineyard plantings at our new location at Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg. We currently have planted two acres of Alvarinho, six acres of Tempranillo, and three acres of Mourvèdre. We’re ready for more and have plenty of room to grow. The 2017 planting will include two acres of Viognier, two acres of Trebbiano, and three acres of Dolcetto grapes. The 2018 planting will include two acres of Vermentino, three acres of Montepulciano, and three acres of Aglianico, providing us with an abundance of grapes to continue to increase the amount of wine we make with 100 percent Texas grown grapes.
Because wine education is close to my heart, and important to Wildseed Farms owner, John Thomas, we are planting a unique one-acre Demonstration Vineyard. This distinctive site will feature four different clones of Syrah, grafted on two different rootstocks, planted on five different trellis systems that will be available for public education sessions.
We are excited by the opportunity to expand our presence in the Texas Hill Country with our new vineyards and winery facility at Wildseed Farms. We welcome wine tourism and strive to provide a unique experience. We’re also thrilled by the ability to have much larger plantings of grapes that do incredibly well in the Hill Country climate. We know the Texas Hill Country is only at the start of its true potential.