Inwood Estates Vineyards Review
Address: 1350 Manufacturing St., Ste. 209 Dallas,Texas 75207.
Phone Number: 214-902-9452
Tasting Hours: Sat 12:00-5:00
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 1/26/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Near the intersection of I-35E and the Dallas North Tollway, one finds the design district, the medical district, a LOT of traffic, and
the Inwood Estates tasting room.
A winery in the middle of the Dallas design district?
Suspend your disbelief. Prepare to be amazed.
The Experience:  Finding the Inwood tasting room requires driving through an extremely industrial-looking area. Do not despair its really there, with an address on Manufacturing Street, located far enough from the road in a convoluted parking area that the UPS drivers might have trouble finding it. If I have one criticism about this winery, its the lack of signage. That might, however, be the only criticism.
The Place:  The tasting rooms store front has been made to look about as pleasant as a manufacturing area store front can look. There are barrels outside, a grapevine growing on the porch railing, and a very comforting sign that indicates you are, in fact, in the right place. A small lobby opens into a rustic, bottle-and-barrel-filled tasting room. A lot of production actually occurs at this facility during the week, but all the toys get put away on the weekends to make room for company. Its really kind of intriguing. You feel like youre really in the middle of where it all happens.
The People:  I visited Inwood on a Saturday afternoon with my boyfriend and a pair of friends who might even enjoy and appreciate wine a tad more than we do. We were greeted by Marc Moberg, the assistant winemaker, and his wife Kinsey, who were graciously manning the store that afternoon. We were the only group there, so we had their full attention.
Marc and Kinsey are great hosts. Marc is a transplant from the Northwest, and started out in the coffee industry, but happily he seems to have gotten to Texas and Inwood as fast as he could. The winemaker, Dan Gatlin, is something of a legend in the Texas winemaking industry. He came by it naturally; the Gatlin family owned Hastys spirits and convenience stores in Dallas, so Dan literally grew up in the beverage industry. As a buyer, Dan learned a great deal about the wine industry in California, and after a lot of research he started planting vineyards in Texas in 1981. Today he still has a small vineyard in Dallas County!
Marc and Kinsey told us a lot about their experiences with wine production at Inwood. We got stories about pruning vines in March, which didnt sound so bad, and covering vines with bug nets in the 100-degree heat in June, which DID sound so bad! I mentioned that we had visited Inwoods central Texas facility (Florence, Texas) the previous summer, during a key period in production Marc and Kinsey knew exactly the week I mentioned, for apparently some significant post-harvesting production had gone on that week with Dan on vacation! I think my favorite story, though, was the tale of Dans buying numerous bottles of old wine for $1.75 a bottle at an estate sale. Those bottles, which turned out to include some collectors bottles, are proudly displayed in a rack in the tasting room. Marc dusted off a bottle and showed it to us, suggesting by the appropriate rate of evaporation over time and the lack of sediment that the significantly aged wine was most likely quite drinkable. (Then he put it safely back in its spot.) In addition to being a good story, it was an interesting lesson in wine aging.
The Wines:  We probably tried six or seven of Inwoods wines; one Chardonnay, the rest red. I liked all of them.
Let me say that again: I liked all of them.
Seriously, if I was made of disposable income, I could have taken a case of each and every one of the wines home with me. Theyre smooth, balanced, complex, and all with their own personality. Inwood produces Tempranillo (they call it Cornelius) by itself and blended with other varietals; as Marc explained, Tempranillo grows very well in Texas because of the similarities between Spains climate and the weather in some parts of Texas. (For out-of-staters, lets just say that we dont get cool nights in the summer. Ever.) Dan Gatlin was one of the first to figure this out, and I think hes spent the rest of his wine career perfecting the art of Tempranillo.
Then theres Magdalena and Magellan, Margaux- and Pauillac-style blends, respectively. Marc described Magdalena as the little sister of Magellan, which is the big bold daddy of Inwoods wines. Each of us took home a bottle of the Tempranillo-Cabernet, which I can only describe as just plain yummy. My boyfriend liked the Segundo, made from grapes that are not quite up to the standards of inclusion in a Magdalena or a Magellan, but definitely not second-class citizens. Our friends bought a bottle of Magellan, ostensibly with the idea of aging it. But I have a feeling Magellan will just be too tempting and will meet a palate within a year or so. I hope they invite us over.
Did I mention I liked every single wine I tasted?
Insiders Tip:  In addition to its locations in Dallas and Florence, Inwood Estates will soon be opening a new winery in Fredericksburg, Texas. Marc said this facility will have something for everyone options for the casual taster, education for the interested wine consumer, and high-end opportunities for the true enthusiast. Another thing we all noticed was that Marc, taking true pride in what he created, tasted everything before he served it to us. Not only did he verify that he was serving his guests the highest quality, but it was kind of fun to drink with the winemaker!