In our part of the world, today was a beautiful Sunday with sunny skies and warm temperatures. It was the kind of Sunday where after Church you pack the Jeep and head out on a road trip. With a rough idea of where we wanted to go, we set out around 10 this morning, and after driving through Martindale, we turned on Hwy. 142 with Smithville as our intended destination . . . Smithville, Texas was where the Sandra Bullock movie, Hope Floats was filmed. As we made our way towards our destination, we turned on to Farm Road 535 and found ourselves going past the Rockne Museum in Rockne! Whoa, is that a bust of Knute Rockne? We turned the Jeep around and pulled into the museum parking lot and lo and behold, it was! So, we then asked ourselves, was Knute Rockne from Texas? We sure didn’t think he was, and a little research confirmed that he was actually born in Norway and moved to Chicago when he was five years old. Okay, so what’s the deal?
As we left the museum, we drove next door to the historical marker in front of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. And, here’s what we found out, “Rockne has been known by several names. First called Walnut Creek because of its proximity to the stream, it was known as Lehmanville when the Lehman Post Office was established in 1900, and as Hilbigville after William Hilbig opened a store here. In 1931 the children of Sacred Heart School were given the opportunity to permanently name their town. A vote was taken, with the children electing to name the community Rockne in honor of Knute Rockne, the famous Notre Dame University football player and head coach who had died in a plane crash in 1931.” How about that? A Sunday drive – AND – we learned something!
After stopping and scouring Smithville for antiques (good thing we had the Jeep – all the stuff we liked wouldn’t fit in the back), we hit the road for LaGrange, and found our way to a winery just northeast of town, called Rosemary’s Vineyard & Winery where we met Emmett. No worries, we’ll talk more about them at a later date. Continuing on our trip we drove through Round Top – which may be the ‘Antique Capitol’ of Texas. When we stopped at a roadside antique shop, we learned that in the Spring, there are 25 miles of antique shops, vendors, booths, tents and such but only for two weeks. We’ll keep you posted on that! After driving, what seemed to be forever, we stopped at the Windy Winery and sampled a little of their wine . . . and, more about them later as well. Back on the road, and heading towards Brenham, home of Bluebell Ice Cream . . . not open, GRRRR!! Heading back on 290 West and just outside of town is a beautiful red barn, that when you turn on the road, you can’t miss it! Inside this former horse barn is the Saddlehorn Winery. The tasting room is beautiful – complete with clear windows to see through to the wine making operation.
Tonight’s wine is from Saddlehorn, it’s their Barn Red. Those who know us, know that we aren’t huge fans of Texas wines. As a rule, they’re either too sweet, too expensive or in many cases, both. So, we’re naturally skeptical when it comes to a blend, and Barn Red is a blend of Cabernet, Syrah and Zinfandel. The wine showcases rich berry fruit with a touch of oak. It’s a light to medium body wine with a fresh nose of dark berries and a hint of spice. As wines go, it was better than some of the wines we’ve talked about in our first 140 days of the blog, but we’re not quite ready to go full boar into Texas wines. Steve Morgan and his family are building a nice business, and as tough as the wine making business is, we like to see folks like them succeed, so here’s a shout out to Barn Red from Saddlehorn Winery! If you’re looking for that special Texas wine with a great name and a nice blend, then this is your chance. And, if you’re looking to make a trip to the “Bluebonnet Country” this Spring, then stop in and visit Steve.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll drive through Rockne, Texas on the way! More research on the plane crash that killed Rockne turned up the following, “After visiting his two sons in Kansas City , Mo. , Rockne boarded Transcontinental-Western’s Flight 599 to Los Angeles on March 31, 1931. Shortly after takeoff, one of the plane’s wings separated in flight and the aircraft plummeted into a wheat field near Bazaar, Kan. There were no survivors. Rockne was 43 years old.” Sad passing of a notable person who left their thumbprint on the world – and can you imagine having a town that you have no connection with named after you by a group of school children – what an honor. A great reminder that we touch lives each and every day, some we know and many we don’t.
Enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.