The Definitive Guide to America's Most Unexpected Great Wine Destination

The 290 wine trail, through the Texas Hill Country, offers many good things to drink (along with occasional deception)

This article is about wineries on, or near, U.S. 290

Stonewall

Kuhlman Cellars: A new winery (2014) currently sourcing grapes from Texas and elsewhere with the intention of going overwhelmingly Texas. They see a minority of California fruit in their lineup over the long term as a diversification strategy against the risks of Texas frost. They also see California sourcing as a chance to experiment with grape varieties not currently in Texas. This was what led to them planting carignan (cariñena) in their estate vineyard. Currently their roussanne and viognier/trebbiano blends are showing well. The winemaker, Bénédicte Rhyne, is French and graduated from the oenologically significant University of Dijon. The winery has a large tasting room with a rooftop patio (do visit there; the impressive views north look into a state park and will never be built on). Among the staff are some really knowledgeable people. Strongly recommended is the food wine pairing session ($25) led by a credentialed leader (a Certified Specialist of Wine or Certified Sommelier) with food by onsite chef Chris Cook. Reservations required. Well-funded, this is a winery to watch.

Tasting sheet: All wines grape origin clearly marked.

Winemaker/viticulturist/expert around to talk details: In this case the expert is a certified sommelier on staff.

Special Amenities: Patio. Great grounds. Beautiful view. Wine and food tasting experience.

wine

Andrew Chalk

Kuhlman Cellars

Pedernales Cellars : One of the most awarded wineries in Texas, and very busy in the summer. This is the place that started the high-touch one-on-one tasting experience with an expert. Originally, you could book a place ($25) in their Reserve Room and a Certified Sommelier (or the equivalent) would take two of you through a vertical of their best wines. No crowds (a maximum of eight people at a time took part), no noise. You got to keep the Riedel tasting glass at the end. In 2015 ,the Reserve Room became a wine club room and the reserve tasting moved to a cramped corner of the main tasting room. It's still worthwhile, but less exclusive and less quiet than the old arrangement.

Tasting sheet: All wines grape origin clearly marked.

Winemaker/viticulturist/expert around to talk details: In this case, the expert is a certified sommelier on staff.

Special Amenities: Great grounds. Beautiful view. Live music. Reserve Tasting.

100 percent Texas wine.

Woodrose Winery and Vineyards: A massive number of wines.

Tasting sheet: Origin of the wine not marked.

Winemaker/viticulturist/expert around to talk details: No.

Special Amenities: Live music on patio at weekends.

100 percent Texas wine.