Rising Star Vineyards – Salado Review
Address: 110 North Main Street Salado,Texas 76571.
Phone Number: 254-947-5247
Tasting Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:00-5:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-6:00, Sun 11:00-5:00
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 3/13/2014
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Salado, Texas is one of those little towns that seems to have a lot to discover. I only spent an afternoon there, but there’s shopping, dining, nice scenery, interesting people, and, of course, wineries. Salado has three wineries located on the main road; Rising Star was our third stop. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the highlight.
The Place:  The vendor next door was out on her porch and is a bit of a welcome wagon. We knew about the 50% merchandise sale before we even got in the door. That was definitely a highlight of the visit. Rising Star’s front room is a small gift shop, and nearly everything was 50% off. My mom got a wine rack and some birthday gifts for my brother I was upset because she got to the last set of oven mitts before I did.
Rising Star’s facilities are long and narrow. The tasting room is in the back and has a spacious, open feel, perhaps due to the high ceilings. The colorful wood on the walls and ceilings makes for a beautiful room.
The People:  We were helped by a lovely young lady named Ashley who was very knowledgeable about the history of the winery and its wines. She obviously enjoys her job and meeting with new people. In reading Rising Star’s website, the winery is owned by a couple (Michael and Vicki Oubre) and Michael is the winemaker, but obviously they had the day off and left the tasting room in Ashley’s capable hands.
The Wines:  Here’s where the good experience unfortunately fell off. I tasted four wines for a $5 fee one white and three reds. The Chardonnay was pleasant but fairly unremarkable. It turned out to be my favorite of the three. The reds Cabernet, Merlot, and a blend of both all tasted very similar. Two of the three are described on Rising Star’s website as having firm tannins since the Rustler’s Red is a blend of those two, it stands to reason that that description applies to the third as well. Indeed, I found the wines overly tannic. While they are described as big and bold, I just found them somewhat abrasive with a harsh mouth feel.
I asked if Ashley knew how Rustlers Red had gotten its name. She did and thus I have a story to tell! Apparently Rising Stars vineyard was robbed, and some ripening vines were stolen. (I was quite horrified, as I’m sure the owners of the vines were at the time!) To make matters worse, in pulling a vehicle into the vineyard to steal the vines, the thieves crushed numerous other vines. It took some time to recover. But when they did Rustler’s Red. At least they got something out of the whole debacle!
The Experience:  This is a good place to do some shopping, especially when there’s a sale. The atmosphere, inside and outside in the yard, is great. The staff member was good too. But the wines were lacking. I’ve tasted a lot of Texas wines, and these have a long way to go.