Spicewood Vineyards Review
Address: 1419 Burnet County Rd. 409 Spicewood,Texas 78669.
Phone Number: 830-693-5328
Tasting Hours: Wed-Sat 10:00-6:00, Sun 12:00-5:00 and by appt.
Region: Texas Hill Country AVA, Texas
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 8/31/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Spicewood Vineyards was our last stop of the afternoon on a hot day in August. I was thinking it might just be a quick stop and then wed get on the road to Dallas not a fun drive on a Sunday evening, especially if you take the interstate.
But Spicewood had other ideas. Its the kind of place where time seems to slow down, and you just dont want to leave.
The Place:  We had a bit of a snafu finding the place. County Road 409 was blocked off at highway 71 on one end. Fortunately, our Garmin found a way in from the other direction (thank you Trudy) and we got to drive in past the vineyards. I think the drive into a winery really should include passing vineyards, and it wasnt that far of a detour, so all in all I think it was a good thing.
We pulled into the parking lot to be greeted by a large-ish, grey, very friendly dog, who I soon found out is named Elway props to the winery people who also know their football! Elway has a buddy, Anna, who was close behind, completing the welcome wagon. They escorted us up onto the porch and to the door.
Coming onto the Spicewood Vineyards property feels a bit like coming on to an estate. There are two buildings with lots of fabulous porch space, a view of the vineyards, and even a babbling brook to lend even more atmosphere. The winerys website indicates the structures were built to resemble a 19th-century Hill Country home. If thats the case, Texans in the 1800s lived pretty well!
The tasting room is a large, high-ceilinged room that, for some reason, seemed to have the feel of a Knights of Columbus meeting hall I dont know why! Maybe it was the big rectangular room with the bar running along the entirety of the short side of the room (like an end zone) but hey, they had a TV so I could find out that the Rangers were losing. Actually, the length of the bar is certainly a good thing when a winery is busy. Spicewood wasnt busy on this particular afternoon, but its an appealing place, so I can see where a large bar would be useful.
The People:  Because it was slow, there was only one person behind the bar, the very efficient Dalena (my apologies if I spelled that incorrectly!). There was a gentleman with longish hair and a beard outside with another party; having seen his picture on the Spicewood website, I surmised that he was either a relative of the owners or perhaps the winemaker. He was taking care of the outside and letting Dalena hang out with the patrons inside. We never had to wait; she did a great job of helping everyone and not making anyone feel either neglected or rushed.
The Wines:  We got seven tastes for $5, which I think is a serious bargain. We tasted two whites, a dry Rose, and four reds. (Sorry California, but where in your state can you get seven good tastes for $5?!) I liked both the whites; the Albarino was nice and crisp, very drinkable in hot weather it had a bit of a strange finish, but otherwise good. The Viognier was good too and would go well with spicy food.
The Rose is a dry Tempranillo Rose; the tasting sheet describes it as having flavors of bubble gum and red berries. What? Bubble gum? I was scared, and feared what meant dry to them didnt mean dry to me. But I tasted it, and it was dry, and sure enough, right at the end, I got the bubble gum! And it really wasnt a bad thing! I think that was a first for me, though, having a wine described as tasting of bubble gum.
The Cabernet Claret is very light, a touch sweet, with a tannic mouth feel. It wasnt my favorite. So I happily moved on to the Grenache, and I wrote down that it tasted like Grenache is supposed to taste. Its light, but theres some substance to it, and I got a bit of white pepper with the fruit. I found the Tempranillo good but a bit tannic for my taste. If it aged for a bit and mellowed, it might be more to my personal liking. But if you like a tannic wine, this is for you. My hands-down favorite, though, was the Zinfandel, made with Paso Robles grapes. Of course, I love Zinfandel, but it has to be a good Zinfandel. This one gave me black plum and vanilla and my fiancé said that if I took a bottle home, I wasnt allowed to drink it without him. So we took two bottles home, AND got a glass apiece to enjoy out on the patio.
The Experience:  I said at the top that time kind of slows down at this place. I think they have a weather warp, too even though the temperature was fairly high (it was August), it was fairly comfortable outside on the patio. We petted Anna, looked out over the vineyard, and watched Elway run around and greet more guests, since he was far too busy to stay still and be petted. It was a great day with some really good wine, and an experience Id like to repeat.