Wine of the Week - Texas Hills Vineyard

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2009 was not a great year for the Texas Hills Vineyard crop. With three weekends of 80 degree weather in January followed by a hard freeze, Texas Hills lost all its crop for 2009. Not to worry, though, they still have plenty of wine to sample and buy at their tasting room in Johnson City, about 50 miles outside of Austin.

Texas Hills Vineyard opened in 1999, which grows all the grape varietals except for the Sauvignon Blanc (it doesn't grow very well in Texas). And because the vineyard doesn't have its own Sauvignon Blanc, it features one from California. The vineyard's other wines are 100 percent Texas grapes, although some are from other vineyards around Texas.

When we drove up to the winery, the parking lot was full of Porsches. We jokingly asked ourselves if we were fancy enough in our jeans and hoodies, but then we remembered we were in the Hill Country. Anything short of pajamas was fine.

That day, we opted to try the regular tasting menu and the reserve tasting menu. For the regular, we could choose four tastings from 14 offerings for free. The hardest part was deciding which four to choose. Fortunately, we all chose different ones, so we could try them all. For the reserve, everyone got to taste all four offerings for $5. Plus, as a holiday treat, Texas Hills was offering mulled wine for free. We liked the mulled wine so much, they had to make more after we left.

Although we didn't find anything that blew us away, we did have our favorites. The No. 1 favorite of the day was the Orange Moscato, followed by the 2006 Kick Butt Cab and the Roussanne. The sweet and citrusy Moscato is a perfect end to a gluttonous holiday meal, especially if the dessert is chocolate. We were easily convinced to buy a few bottles for our holiday celebrations. If you can't make it to Johnson City, Spec's sells both the Moscato and the Kick Butt Cab.

We also bought a bottle of the Roussanne. Apparently, you don't hear about this white wine grape very often because it is usually blended. However, Texas Hills' Roussanne is not blended, producing a very clean and crisp white wine. It's the perfect wine to sit on their patio overlooking the Hill Country.

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