It’s Texas Wine month. Yes, I know: October is a month of many guises. And this particular juicy, delicious guise could pass by unnoticed in all the hullabaloo of the State Fair, advent of pumpkin spice season, or myriad cultural heritage celebrations. But people have been harvesting and pressing grapes around the world. And they were here, too. (Though you might not know it, our crushing heat means harvest season skews early.) Every time I visit friends (well, almost), I bring a bottle of Texas wine. This is me being an evangelist. It never fails. Someone has not heard of Ab Astris’ clairette blanche. They had no idea that harvests of tinto çao and malvasia blanca and inky, bold tannat were filling out our scene. But yes, Do top me up with the single-vineyard cabernet grown in the Davis Mountains, they say, and When are we popping out the sparkling rosé or the fizzy pét-nat? We have one of the best natural winemakers in the land. And I say this as a California transplant who spent years near Napa—and before that, France. So yes, it’s wine month in Texas, and we very much have crush-worthy wine. Last year, I went on a rollicking road trip—more than 600 miles, 19 wineries, handfuls of winemakers, four days—to scour the Texas Hill Country wine scene. In light of all this, I thought I’d remind you: Read about my rollicking story here, and check out the wineries here. Even for someone who thought she knew Texas wine, it was a beautiful education. A lot has changed in the last several years. So head to Texas Hill Country. It’s a whole world of outdoor film screenings, barrel tastings, and live music. Or just armchair travel, read up on Texas wine’s wild and tangled history and store up ideas for the holidays. But just to whet your appetite, a scene from my trip:
I am here, at last, and I am completely smitten with this enchanted house upon the hill. The tasting room is an ethereal vision of white, like bleached driftwood, with people nestled in swings on the back porch, sipping from glasses of alicante bouschet, overlooking the valley below. I take the vision with me. Just as I take the clouds and the limestone bluffs. Just as I take bottles of new varietals and stories of innovative collectives. Just as I take the lowing cattle and the glow-stick-bedecked ravers. Back down the gravel-slicked hill. Back to my pandemic-rocked city.Also, if you’re not a wine drinker, here’s our recent guide to distilleries. Same thing applies. Lots has changed. Earlier in 2020, we brought out this totally comprehensive and totally badass and beautiful account.