As beautiful Sunday’s in February go, today was tough to beat. Skies as blue as you could see . . . a warming wind from the southwest . . . and the first ‘top down’ of the year for the Jeep. Well, technically, we only partially opened the roof but it still counts! There is something special about driving a winding Texas backroad with the top of your Jeep Wrangler off and the sun pouring in! And, the best part? It’s ONLY February! Yeah, we’re looking forward to March and April for full-blown, trip-to-the-coast type of weather. It’s coming . . . and it won’t be long!
The other part of this time of the year is — yeah, doing taxes. Hey, the old saying is still true – and always will be true . . . . ‘there’s only two things in this life that are guaranteed, Death and Taxes!’ We’re not so sure that one doesn’t cause the other! Now, you know that we’re no spring chickens, so the fact that we’ve been doing the ‘tax thing’ for a lot of years is no surprise. But, it’s amazing how much MORE complicated it is to do a return today than even five years ago. In fact, before 1996, we used to do taxes the ‘old fashioned’ way – we filled in the forms, BY HAND! We know, we know – how archaic! Computers and software have literally changed the way we do things, and filing taxes is one of those changes. We can still remember waiting until April 15th . . . and driving our return to the Post Office where people were standing outside collecting returns to postmark them before the midnight deadline. TurboTax and HR Block software have really changed the landscape.
Anyway, we digress – it was a Sunday to get some things done around the casa, and to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunshine. It was also time to break out some wine . . . and tonight, we’re staying home – where the buffaloes roamed . . . yep, tonight’s wine is from Texas. Now, before you California, Australia, Chile, Argentina wine fans head for the exits, you need to know that there really are some good wines being made in the Lone Star State. And, while tonight’s wine is a new variety for this wine maker, he is quickly carving a name for itself in the state and in the country. We first visited Brennan Vineyards when driving through Comanche, Texas back in 2009 on our way to Stephenville to visit family for nephew Ryan’s graduation. They had two wines that stood out in our minds . . . a blend called, “Austin Red” and a Syrah. Both of these wines weren’t your normal Texas wines that had all the taste of a chemistry lab and the color of Oklahoma clay. Yeah . . . these wines had something, so when Jean brought home Brennan’s newest wine, a 2010 Buffalo Rhome from her sister weekend in Fredericksburg – they are part of a great little stop on 290 called 4.0 Wine, we knew that it was going to be something special.
Vinted in the Rhone-style of wine making, this wine opened beautifully. It’s nose was fruity with just a hint of spiciness. The first pour was lighter than we’d expected, but still a beautiful red color – not copper!! This wine had a soft, elegant feel with a solid finish that seemed to last forever. We enjoyed this wine after a good old fashioned burger and tater tots meal . . . it was the perfect ending to the day. For a wine like this to catch our fancy, it has to have some muscle, and the flavor, structure, color and finish . . . all combine to make this a good purchase. Available for less than $20 a bottle, you’ll find it to be a better value than other Texas wines with “better” names. We’d suggest that you blow past the labels in the grocery store and find this wine either online or go to Comanche and sample in person – either way, you’ll walk away with a better Texas wine. If you go to Comanche – make sure you meet Dr. Brennan – a super guy and he does hang out at 4.0 on a regular basis.
Now, for those who read this on a regular basis, you’ll note that we are still HUGE fans of Saddlehorn Winery outside Burton, Texas. So, don’t think we’re only singling out one winery in the State. We think that there are other wines that are worthy of review in the blog and we’ll strive to try them–in the meantime, if you think that there’s a Texas wine worthy of notation in our dwindling days of wine reviews . . . let us know.
Otherwise, continue to enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.
Not sure about your neck of the woods, but here in central Texas it was a beautiful “deep blue sky” day and we just knew we had to go for a ride in the Jeep. Sadly it was just a little too cool to go topless (as in, take the top off the Jeep – just thought we’d clarify that) but those days are not too far away. We made it a short ride since Jean’s knee is acting up (injury – NOT old age – just thought we’d clarify that) and sitting for a long ride just wouldn’t do (MRI next week will pronounce judgement on next steps). But, because it was such a fine day we knew we could pull off a quick trip – and since it was “pickup” day at Saddlehorn Winery – off we went. The afternoon was great and we made a couple of new friends . . . hmmmm, wine + beautiful day + on the spot fresh made brick oven pizza = new friends (it’s the new math!). We enjoyed a taste of Red Barn (we’ve blogged about this before and find it to be a great little deck wine and the price is so reasonable for Texas wines) and hung out with Cindi and Leon. It was a great couple of hours – then back in the Jeep and home we went.
For us, meeting new people and just hanging out is one of our favorite hobbies – everyone has a “story” and we just love hearing them and discovering what a small world it really is. As it turns out, Cindi and Brian were at arch rivals Spring and Klein high schools at the same time and actually had a mutual acquaintance. See – we just can’t get enough of this kind of thing – BUT, you won’t ever uncover these stories unless you put yourself out there and share yours.
So, in honor of “hangin’ out” today, we open a 2008 Hangtime Cellars Pinot Noir. Hangtime Cellars is located in northern Sonoma County, CA. The long, narrow Dry Creek Valley lies between the cooler Russian River Valley and the warmer Alexander Valley. The name of the winery comes from a key part of grape growing – the amount of time grapes spend hanging on the vines. The longer the time on the vine, the more concentrated the fruit character, resulting in wines of distinctive, delicious varietal expression. Here we just thought is was for just hanging out with friends and enjoying a glass of wine – nope, wrong answer . . . thanks for playing.
We’re pretty sure we’ve had this wine before at one of our favorite Kerrville haunts – Rails, A Cafe by the Depot. And if memory serves us correctly, we kinda liked it. The color was gorgeous – bright, ruby-red. The nose was fantastic – a combination of plum, a little spice, and bright cherry . . . really, fresh and lively. Kind of what you’d expect from a pinot noir. As it opened up, the aroma was even more pronounced; fruity, spicy and generally awesome to smell. On the palette, it just wasn’t there – not bad, but not good . . . just wasn’t there – not sure if because it was an 2008 or what – just kinda eh. Not a taste that we sat up and said . . . WOW – let’s buy some more or this. But, good enough that we didn’t pour it down the drain (which by now, you know we are capable of doing).
As we wrap up tonight – enjoy your Saturday night . . . hope you stop and take some time to just hang out with friends (old, as in know for a long time – just thought we’d clarify that – or new) – and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine. But remember if you do, to enjoy responsibly and recycle whenever possible.