Thanksgiving’s around the corner and if Fortune smiles upon me, I will be having deep fried rather than roasted turkey. I was curious about what wine would complement that dish. Lucky me, with a true oenophile for a tour guide, I had an opportunity to visit two different wineries, part of the Guadalupe Valley Wine Country. Both were accessible from Highway 27 in Comfort, off I-10.
Bending Branch Winery represents the combined efforts of Robert W. Young, MD, of Atlanta, and John Rivenburgh, a native of San Antonio. Both are members of The American Society for Enology and Viticulture and have pursued viticulture and winemaking courses at the university level. I got to taste six wines: three whites, a dry rosé and two reds. Could be that I simply was thirsty after a lovely but long country drive but I found the first, Bending Branch Vermentino, especially refreshing. Bending Branch’s High Plain Rosé did seem as though it would make a good pairing with fried turkey. It’s a blend of Tannat, a varietal that originiated in the Pyrenees foothils south of Bordeaux, and Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre from two Texas High Plains Vineyards. I bought a bottle of each to take home.
Next was the Singing Water Winery. In 1993, Dick and Julie Holmberg found the Texas Hill Country irresistible, so plans were made to move there permanently. Inspired by their love of wine and travels to major wine regions, they studied the feasibility of planting a vineyard. In 1998 their home was built, the first Merlot vineyard was planted and Singing Water Vineyards was born. It became a bonded winery in 2004 and the next year, the first commercial wines were sold.
The day I was there, Singing Water was not only sampling wines but holding their Freedom Day celebration, with a color guard presentation, music and barbeque, adding a festival atmosphere to the tasting. I got to try five wines, including the Sweet Lupe, a semi-sweet Merlot processed with 3 percent sugar which is named in honor of their director of hospitality, their yellow Lab puppy. The Sweet Lupe wine also seemed like a good candidate to pair with deep fried turkey so I got a bottle of that, too.
For more information about the wineries, visit the Web sites at http://bendingbranchwinery.com/index.htm and http://www.singingwatervineyards.com/. To learn more about the Guadalupe Valley Wine Trail, check out http://www.guadalupevalleywinetrail.com/