Five miles east of Fredericksburg, Texas is the newest addition to the 290 Wine Corridor, Rancho Ponte Vineyard. This family-owned winery opened in early 2009 and features, in my opinion, some of the better Texas wines. Rancho Ponte offers tastings Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For $8, you can try five of the ten wines.
This past weekend, we tried the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Rose, Meritage, Tempranillo, Merlot and the famous Triple M Blend. Rancho Ponte is known for the last wine, a slightly sweet red blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Muscat Canelli. The owners sadly reported that they only have a few cases left of this particular blend, but they have plans to bottle more in the future. Rancho Ponte also features a late-harvest sweet Merlot. Although unique, sweet Merlot was a first and a last for me.
After the tasting, we enjoyed a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio on the porch overlooking the Hill Country. It was hard to leave the comfy spot, but our empty stomachs needed food. Before we left, we grabbed a bottle of our favorites - Meritage, Tempranillo and Triple M Blend. When you buy three bottles, they waive your tasting fee.
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Right now, you can only get Rancho Ponte wines at the winery or by having it shipped to you. It's a great excuse to take the short trip to the Hill Country. While you are out there, stop by some of the other nearby wineries - www.gotexanwine.org will help you plan.