Marker Cellars Review
Address: 1484 County Road 2585 Alvord,Texas 76225.
Phone Number: 214-632-0383
Tasting Hours: Fri-Sat and by appt.
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 11/1/2014
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Every once in a while, while visiting wineries, I feel like I’ve uncovered a well-kept secret.
I didn’t know Marker Cellars was there until I looked on American Winery Guide’s Texas winery map to see what was close to Brushy Creek. There was Marker Cellars, in the same city limits but I didn’t remember it being there before. I looked up the website, and it said tastings were by appointment only, but usually available on weekends. Since we were going to be in the area on a Saturday, I called and left a message. One minute later, I got a call back from the vintner, Mark Rogers, saying sure, come on!
We came on. And I think we found a winery whose progress we’re going to want to watch.
The Place/The People:  Marker Cellars is hard to find. First, our Garmin tried to send us through someone’s private property. Then, as Mark had predicted, it tried to take us to an address about half a mile down the road. Make note of the address; the mailboxes are well marked.
Once we arrived, we drove in to see a closed gate and three lovely horses, staring at us curiously. I called the number again; Mark answered, said he could see us at the gate, and came toodling out on a golf cart to let us in. He was followed closely by his wife, Becky, and their two dogs, Vino and Blue. Vino greeted us with much vigor; Blue, being an older chap, took his time, and then set up guard duty on the porch.
The tasting room is small, but there’s a glassed-in area that allows a peek into the barrel room. Mark and Becky live on the property; they told us they just moved there three months ago, which explains why I hadn’t noticed this winery on the map before. They’re just getting established! I felt like a reporter who had gotten a scoop.
I apologized to Mark for interrupting his work, but he was thrilled to have the chance to share his wine rather than work! He asked us what kinds of wine we typically drink, and made recommendations accordingly, and while he explained the wines, he tasted with us. By the time we got to the reds, Becky came in for a taste too. I really like it when proprietors do that they can tell us what they taste while we’re telling them what we taste. These are super nice, genuine people, who really love the wine business. They have just recently commercialized, and only make about 900 cases a year, but they seem to be off to a great start.
On a side note, the three horses kept grazing closer and closer to the tasting room door they either wanted to see what all the action was, or they wanted a taste, too!
The Wines:  Marker Cellars already has a tasting notes sheet, which I appreciate so much! It even includes suggested food pairings. They have two dry whites, a Viognier and a Chenin Blanc. The Viognier is a pretty typical Viognier, a touch sweeter on the finish than I expected it to be. Mark warned me that I might not like the Chenin Blanc because it’s sweeter, but it’s a pleasant off-dry wine, something I could see drinking well-chilled during the summer. My husband tried the Moscato, which he really enjoyed.
We passed on the Riesling and Sweet Red, but tried the Chambourcin. It’s a very interesting purple color and smells like Welch’s grape juice, and tastes like a tart version of Welch’s grape juice. I wasn’t terribly crazy about it, but to each his own.
My favorite, hands down, was the 2012 Texas Blend. This is a 40-40-20 blend of Merlot, Ruby Cabernet, and Syrah; incidentally, the Syrah is grown there in Alvord, but Mark sources the rest of his grapes from places such as West Texas and the Hill Country. We discussed the process of deciding on the 40-40-20 blend. It seems Mark tried several percentage combinations for that blend and couldn’t decide what he liked best, so he brought several blends to an event involving a bunch of firefighters, and let them choose! Overwhelmingly, the choice was the 40-40-20. Kudos to both Mark and the firefighters, because they did GREAT. This is an awesome wine. It’s well-balanced, smooth, and makes you want to keep drinking it. This is the kind of wine that could put Marker on the map.
I think I’d better go buy some more before he runs out!