Wineries in Texas? Yes! Discovering Times Ten Cellars in Dallas by Jennifer

x10 Cellars in Dallas, TexasWhenever 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. Barrel Room at x10

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.


Tasting the 2008 Times Ten Cellars Rose in Dallas

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.


Waits-Mast Wines at Internos Wine Cafe in San Francisco by valleyfog
Internos Wine Cafe on Geary Street in San Francisco

Internos Wine Cafe on Geary Street in San Francisco

Waits-Mast Pinot Noir is now being served by the glass at a new wine bar in the Laurel Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Our 2007 Wentzel Vineyard Pinot Noir is currently on the list and soon, our 2007 La Encantada will be available by the bottle. Geary Street is lined with Irish pubs and Asian restaurants, but clearly there is a dearth of wine bars in this neighborhood. Enter Internos Wine Cafe, the latest addition to the wine bar scene in San Francisco. Run by Adnan Daken and Quinn Longbothum, Internos (Italian for “between us”) has been open for about a month now and already has a loyal following. It’s also getting some great reviews on Yelp which led us to discover this gem in the first place.

The bar has a rustic, warm feel, with great photography and artwork and a small, but growing wine list. We asked Adnan how he builds his wine list and he replied “with wines that I like to drink.” He has good taste and likes to introduce smaller, lesser-known wines to his curious customers. On our first visit there, I enjoyed a Carneros Pinot Noir from Cuvaison – not extremely rare, but not easy to find around town. Plus, Carneros wines don’t get enough exposure these days. Jennifer sampled a number of different white wines before settling into a 2006 JL Colombo Viognier from the Rhone Valley. We also enjoyed some great small plates, including bruschetta, dried meats and wonderful cheeses.0051

Adnan has a long history of owning and working at restaurants and joints in North Beach and after moving to this neighborhood, was ready to establish his own outpost in Laurel Heights. It’s exciting to be working with another wine-related business that is establishing itself and trying new things.  In addition to offering many wines by the glass and bottle, Internos is going to build out a retail section where customers can discover and take home other interesting and eclectic wines.

Check out Internos and their great wines at 3240 Geary Street, San Francisco, between Parker and Spruce. The Bridge Theater is a couple of blocks away, so make a night out of it and see a movie too.

Champagne, Avocado, Cucumbers and Hummus at Internos Wine Cafe by Jennifer
March 20, 2009, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Restaurants, Wine bars | Tags: , , , , ,
Internos Wine Cafe

Internos Wine Cafe

Last weekend we were searching for a quick bite before heading off to finally see Slumdog Millionaire. Brian figured a wine bar would be a great bet and dived into the fun task of searching for a wine bar near The Vogue Theater in San Francisco (one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses). Although it wasn’t walking distance on a rainy Sunday night, the brand-new (opened maybe 3 weeks ago) Internos Wine Cafe (3240 Geary, between Parker and Spruce) was close enough for our purposes.

We popped in and were warmly greeted by owner Adnan, who suggested that we grab seats at the bar. After ordering some wine (Gosset Grande Reserve Champagne for Jennifer and 2006 Cuvaison Pinot Noir from Carneros for Brian) we took Adnan’s advice and ordered the avocado, hummus and cucumbers bruschetta. Wow. Killer combo and so tasty with the bubbly. We also got the fresh mozzarella, diced cherry tomatoes and fresh basil bruschetta, which was equally yummy.010

After finishing up our bruschetta, we continued grazing, consuming both a cheese plate (brie, blue, aged Parmesan and a lick-the-bowl clean delicious house-made honey ricotta) and a cured meats plate (hot coppa, dry salami, and prosciutto). It was all super satisfying and the perfect amount of pre-movie food.

We ordered a bit more wine and Adnan was very helpful in leading Jennifer through some tastings before she decided on a glass of the 2006 JL Colombo Viognier (Rhone, France). Brian stuck with Cuvaison, choosing a glass of their 2005 Mount Veeder Cabernet (Napa Valley) for his second taste of the night.

With wine bars cropping up in neighborhoods all over San Francisco, it was fun to discover Internos Wine Cafe in an unexpected pocket on Geary. From what we hear, it’s already become a popular destination for nearby residents. Not a surprise. It’s a super friendly, casual (but chic) wine bar with a nice wine list and delicious light fare. The only thing missing was dessert and we hear that’s coming soon.