Today I’m going to share with you my experience visiting Heath Sparkling Wines in Fredericksburg, Texas.
This one was an interesting visit in that I really didn’t get to make any tasting notes. Normally, when visiting a vineyard I learn about the grapes, tour the grounds and hear stories about how the owners started their work in the wine industry. Due to so many new rules and regulations during this pandemic the tasting wasn’t quite the experience that I would have gotten if I had arrived on any other given day. While there, I was hoping to learn some tips about tasting sparkling wines and there were a few additional questions that I had. However, the tasting felt rushed, there weren’t any tours and there wasn’t any history or sparkling wine tips given during the tasting. I literally took a sip, took a bite, sipped again and moved on.
Although this pandemic has created a form of chaos in the wine industry, I am all about making the most of my experience. What I did enjoy were the delicious pairings, the friendliness of the staff, the beauty of the courtyard, and the quietness of sipping my sparkling wine near the water fountain. And most of all, I enjoyed who I shared this experience with.
The tasting consisted of four sparkling wines accompanied with four delicious pairings created by their Chef. Each tasting was delicious but my favorite wine and favorite pairing was the Blanc de Blancs paired with a Watermelon Feta Salad.
All in all, although times have changed, that doesn’t mean that your spirit and joy have to as well. Make each day count. Cherish those special moments that you have with your loved ones while you can. And most of all: KEEP SMILING! In the meantime, I look forward to returning and discovering more of what Heath Sparkling Wines has to offer.
XOXO, Smiling Danny, Salu’d
A lot of people have asked me how to go about pairing food and wine. I usually say it’s all trial and error and ask more questions to gauge what they’re going for with the dish. Here are a few other tips that may help as you explore pairing food and wine:
- Balance the weight of the food with the weight of the wine. The bolder the flavor of the dish, the bolder the wine should be to stand with the meal. The reverse also applies, the lighter the dish, the lighter the wine as to not overwhelm the flavors of the dish.
- Take into account how your meal has been prepared. Steaming a fish will have a delicate flavor versus a meat that has been grilled. Here you will want to serve a light bodied wine because the steamed fish is a delicate dish. A bold wine with tannins is great for a dish that has been grilled or broiled.
- Dishes packed with citrus, vinegar or other acids will pair well with a wine that is equally as acidic. Normally, a white wine or a red wine that does not have a lot of tannins is recommended for citrus dishes because tannins clash with acidic food.
- Acidic wines pair well with fatty dishes causing the dish to appear less rich. The acidic wine will also heighten the flavor of the meal.
- The sweeter the food, the sweeter the wine. If you pair a dessert with a dry wine, you will notice that the wine will taste tart and thin. Of course, this is not an exact all be all. There are beautiful marriages of sweet and savory that can occur, you just have to explore and be willing to continue to try until you find it. I have found a few myself. (Note: you can check out my previous post: “Leading My First Wine Pairing Class, October 27, 2019” to see some of those marriages.)
- The best partner for a wine with tannins is meat. Meat perfectly smooths out the tannins in the wine. Cheese and eggs aren’t the best of friends when it comes to tannins; probably because, these two are usually considered to be delicate dishes.
Let’s Be Adventurous
Normally, white wine is suggested as a pairing for fish but the next time you are ordering dinner or grocery shopping, I challenge you to get a broiled salmon and to pair it with a Pinot Noir. Notice I said a broiled salmon, not just salmon. I haven’t tried this yet myself so let’s come back and share notes. You can share your thoughts on today’s Instagram post or here on the blog.
I hope you find this helpful as you continue to explore the World of Wines.
XOXO, Smiling Danny
This Mother’s Day, I had the privilege of visiting English Newsom Cellars in Lubbock, Tx. Formerly known as Caprock Winery, English Newsom has made its own mark with wines produced there on the Estate and sourced from Hockley County. I truly loved my visit as the Sommelier’s, Production Manager, Wine Maker and English Family made me feel like a QUEEN. It was my very first visit and I wasn’t even a club member but they made me feel just as special.
I ended up doing a six taste wine tasting and hubby did also. We both got six different wines that way we could try twelve. After I requested the six taste, I immediately regretted it remembering that the last time I did that all the wines began tasting alike and my body felt awful. I didn’t say anything to the Sommelier because she already began our pour. What really impressed me with this tasting is that my body didn’t feel awful at all and I was able to pick up the notes on each individual wine. I was so surprised! I also enjoyed that these wines were not heavy on the Oak; I think that’s what usually makes my body feel crummy when doing more than four. I mentioned to the staff how I usually can’t taste more than four wines at a time but here I was able to pick up the notes on all twelve. They were so happy that I mentioned that because they work very hard to make sure that the Oak does not overpower the grape.
My two favorite wines were:
- Flirt: This is a Blush Table Wine rated Double Gold Best of Class by the San Francisco Chronicle. It has notes of Cotton Candy and Strawberry Sour Punch Straws.
- Spider Rock: This is a Cabernet aged in a bourbon barrel for five years. It’s a Port with Notes of German Chocolate Cake ( and I mean EVERY SINGLE LAYER- From the Coconut to the Chocolate, Pecans and Sweet Buttered Milk Icing (not buttermilk). It also has Notes of Raisin, Whisky and Bourbon.
**Both of these are Fan Favorites. Also Google Spider Rock Treasure, Haskell County.**
As you can see, I had a great time at English Newsom Cellars and of the twelve wines that we tasted, I can’t say that there was one that I didn’t enjoy and that is very rare. So, if you are ever in Lubbock, Texas stop by and tell’ em Smiling Danny sent you and shoot me a note sharing with me your experience.
Happy Mother’s Day, XOXO, Smiling Danny
I hope that you had a wonderful month last month, I sure did as hubby and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. As part of our anniversary festivities, we took a trip to Hye, TX and visited William Chris Vineyards. We had such a wonderful time!
Once we arrived at William Chris we were welcomed with a glass of their Pe’tillant Nature’l. This was a nice refreshing glass of Rose’. It had notes of grapefruit that wasn’t overbearing and had a nice effervescence that cooled us off in the Texas heat. Next, we were escorted to the tasting room where we were able to taste six of their wines.
This month, I thought I would share with you notes on three of the wines that I enjoyed during the tasting. Yes, only three, that way, when you go you will have your own fresh experience.
- 2017 Mary Ruth: This is a blend of Malvasia Bianca, Muscat Blanc and Blanc du Bois. You can enjoy it as an apertif or with a good book. Mary Ruth is a light, dry white wine with an aroma and notes of peach. She has a hint of sweetness but finishes with a subtle acidity.
- 2017 Roussanne: Bouquet- Crisp, Light, Hint of Raisin and Cobbler. Taste- Sweet, Butter, Prune with a nice acidity.
- 2017 Malbec Rose’: This wine is special because it was aged in concrete. The Rose’ can also be enjoyed as an apertif with notes of strawberry and cherry and very little acidity.
I truly enjoyed my time at this Vineyard. There is so much history associated with the wines, the vineyard and even the uniqueness of the wine label. I encourage you to visit and tell ’em Smiling Danny sent ya! (not sponsored).
It was our goal to visit several wineries while in Hye but I recommend that you visit one winery at a time that way you can truly experience the wine and pick up on the distinct notes of each one.
Happy Tasting, XOXO Smiling Danny