Filed under: Tasting rooms, Wine bars, Wine travel | Tags: Dallas wine bars, Dallas wineries, Texas wine, Times Ten Cellars, Wine bars
Whenever we travel out of town we’re on the lookout for wine bars and wineries, especially when visiting places not typically regarded as wine destinations.
Last week we found ourselves in Dallas, Texas with a few hours to kill on a Sunday afternoon and our first instinct was to track down a wine bar for a quick bite to eat. Serendipitously, the one wine bar that was open at 3pm on a Sunday also happened to be a functioning winery.
Times Ten Cellars operates a gorgeous tasting room out of a former post office location from the 1940s. It’s located in a residential neighborhood and its customers primarily draw from the surrounding area. In fact, the afternoon of our visit they were setting up for an event in their tasting room, as one of their regular customers was going to use the beautiful setting for their wedding.
Before the festivities began, we sampled some wines from both California and Texas and got the chance to tour x10 Cellars’ onsite winery. Design-wise, it was an amazing space; probably the most glamorous winery we’d ever seen. Chandeliers hung from the ceiling of the barrel room and from the tasting room one could look through large windows into the clearly labeled laboratory, barrel room, and tank room.
At the tasting bar one can sample wines crafted by x10 Cellars, which at this stage primarily consists of wines made in Texas using grapes imported from California. As one of only four wineries in Dallas, x10 also makes wine from their own 7 acre vineyard.
Located in Alpine, Texas, Cathedral Mountain Vineyards was planted in 2004 with primarily Spanish and Rhone varietals, including Grenache, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Mouvedre, and Petit Sirah and had its first crop in 2006. The vineyard was chosen for its high desert location at 4800 feet and for its volcanic soil.
We began our tasting with a sample of the only sparkling wine from Texas (and the only wine we tried that was not made by x10). With its winery located in Lubbock, Texas, La Diosa‘s sparkling wine is crafted with Chenin Blanc grapes and was a lovely start to our tasting as it was crisp and refreshing, with hints of apple.
In terms of the x10 wines, we sampled a wide range of reds and whites; all with different labels utilizing a chair motif. According to our host, “chairs, like wine, have a unique personality,” so specific chair imagery was chosen to identify each wine. For example, the 2008 Lake County (CA) Rose had a drawing of a french bistro chair on the label; whereas a 2007 Sonoma Pinot Noir featured the picture of a vintage arm chair.
Everything we tried was quite tasty, from the yellow cake batter-scented 2008 Lake County Rose made from Syrah grapes, to the chocolate-kissed 2005 Petit Sirah from five old vine vineyards in Napa (only 4 cases left) that we couldn’t leave without.
We also really loved their 2007 Pinot Noir from Sonoma and a number of their other reds.
We particularly enjoyed the first wine crafted from their very own vineyard in Texas. The 2007 Cathedral Mountain Vineyard Vino de Tierra Alta Texas Red Wine is a blend of 5 grapes: mainly tempranillo, syrah and grenache with a splash of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. It was a wonderful wine and a nice reminder of what wine is all about – exploration and discovery, the sweetest discovery being the unexpected and the seemingly uncharted territory.
With x10’s first full harvest this year, it will be interesting to explore their full line up of Texas wines in the years to come.
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