Of the five wine regions located in Texas, Hill Country is by far the largest. Over 15,000 acres of vineyards make up this region, with an amazing variety of climates and microclimates. Together, these Texas vineyards produce wines that are like no other. This article will provide you with a guide to the wines and grapes of the Texas Hill Country wine region, as well as some recommended vineyards and wineries.
Grapes. Located in central Texas, Hill Country consists of deserts, forests, mountains, wetlands, and almost any other type of climate you can name. So it’s no surprise that this Texas region produces such a variety of grapes. The most common grapes grown in Hill Country include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Muscat Canelli, and Semillon (whites), as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Ruby Cabernet, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc and Barbera (reds).
Vineyards and Wineries. Texas Hill Country is the fastest growing wine destination in the country, second only to Napa (at least, according to Orbitz.) If you enjoy wine tours, the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail offers five self guided events that you drive on your own, with twenty-four “member” wineries on the trail. (Some charge for tasting, tours, etc., while some do not. Click here for more information on the wine trail.) Wineries on the trail include Stone House Vineyard, Becker Vineyards and Fall Creek Vineyards.
If you are interested in visiting Texas wineries and vineyards “off the trail”, check out Fawncrest Vineyards in Canyon Lake and Lost Creek Vineyard in Sunrise Beach. Lost Creek has a wonderful Shiraz (2005, Buddy’s Select.)
Wines. As mentioned above, the wines of Texas Hill Country are as varied as the come, but below are a few of the wines I feel Hill Country does best.
- Barbera. The 2008 from Becker’s Vineyards is superb, with flavors of both cherry and cinnamon. Becker’s 2006 Barbera is another wine not to miss.
- Muscat Canelli. Try the 2009 Stonewall from Pedernales Cellars for a dessert wine touched by passion fruit and grapefruit Another great version of this white wine comes from Pillar Bluff Vineyard’s, a delicious blend of citrus and honey.
- Viognier. Driftwood’s 2008 is a lovely combination of orange, tangerine and peach. Another great Viognier is Alamosa Wine Cellar’s 2007, with apricots and pineapple.
- Tempranillo. Try Fall Creek’s 2008 (cherries, roses, and violets) to truly experience a Tempranillo. Rancher’s Reserve from Rancho Ponte Vineyard is a classic (blackberry and raspberry.)
You should also sample Texas Sangiovese, Orange Muscat, Shiraz, Cabernet, Chardonnay – well, you get the picture. Texas does wine the way it does everything – bigger and with a special twist. You’ll find the wines of Hill Country to be no different.