by David Donalson
When walking into Homestead Winery, the first impression you get is not with your eyes or your nose but actually with your ears. Homestead has a beautiful old wood floor that creaks with every step and as you creak your way to the tasting room, you also notice notes left by customers literally written on the walls and the ceilings for those tall enough; messages about who was here, which side of the Red River Rivalry they root for and so many others. Homestead’s belief is if you had a good time, let everyone know for as long as the ceiling lasts. But I was not here just for the atmosphere I was here for wine.
When approaching John Hatcher, the tasting coordinator on this particular day, was chatting it up with a couple of regulars and greeted us warmly, asking what we wanted to try. My reply was everything, leading me to tasting 10 different wines, with a few standouts.
The first wine that I tasted was probably the most intriguing. Homestead Winery just released their Viognier ($15.99) to their wine club members last week. Homestead’s viognier had notes of melon and honeysuckle on the nose and palate. There were hints of residual sugar but it was not overwhelming and showed the true potential of what viognier could do in Texas. Because this is the first bottling of the viognier, I am interested to see the future of this wine and what it will become.
As I tasted through the other whites, the two regulars had become interested in what I was doing and my personal opinions on the wines. Never one to be shy, I explained how I was looking for good wine in Texas and Homestead was one of my stops. Julie Beal, one of the regulars, looked at me and said I had to try the Ivanhoe Knights ($16.99), a blend of 94% ruby cabernet and 6% malbec, because it was “100% delicious” and delicious it was with flavors of green pepper, smoke and cherry. It was begging for some etouffee. Even more interesting was the 2007 Syrah ($15.99) with nice cherry and blackberry characteristics, followed by some light pepper notes on the finish; a solid wine.
No visit to Homestead Winery would be complete without a tasting of Homestead’s cream sherry, the Crema de Sol. As John Hatcher put it so eloquently: “There are only three things that cannot be overhyped: the Grand Canyon, Tiger Woods and Homestead’s cream sherry.” Big words, especially for a $60 price point but I dare say I have walked out with more than one bottle before and this tasting reminded me why. The sherry pours deep amber with a nose of caramel, baked apples and caramelized brown sugar. This does not disappoint on the taste, with strong notes of baked apples, butterscotch, crème brulee and a strong note of pecans. This is perfect for a cold evening sipper or a nightcap before bed.
While Homestead Winery had mostly good wines, with the sherry and the viognier being the most interesting of the bunch, I can easily see myself returning just for the atmosphere. Located just off Main St. in Grapevine, it is close enough to sip and talk without feeling the crush of the weekend traffic. I highly recommend going and seeing what this winery has to offer and maybe signing your name on the ceiling for a lasting memory and some wine.
Homestead Winery at Grapevine
Wine Tasting Room
211 E. Worth Grapevine, Texas