Times Ten Cellars is a different breed than the other wineries in Dallas. Calais and Fuqua are built around a small bar where the tastings can happen and the rest of the space is set aside for the actual winemaking process. When you walk into Times Ten, it would appear that you are walking into a restaurant or lounge instead of a winery. Instead of being surrounded by barrels like at Inwood and Calais, there are tables and chairs. If you want to do a tasting, be sure to go up to the bar area and grab a stool to get some one-on-one interaction.
We decided on a table first because on this Wednesday night, Times Ten was packed. Why? Cane Rosso.
Cane Rosso comes over to the Times Ten Cellars in Dallas every Wednesday and sets up the mobile pizza oven to cook for all those inside. Passing right by the oven when you walk in is a great setup for the evening. Pizza and wine are a classic pairing, especially when you get the Pinot Noir and a Tempranillo to go with your Luana, a Neapolitan pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, Jimmy’s sausage, hot soppresata and mushrooms. Delicious.
The Pinot Noir, made from juice from Santa Barbara, California, had good aromas of red cherry, raspberry and cranberry, mixed with some cigar and mushroom scents. The pairing of the acidity with the tomatoes and the earthiness of the mushrooms in both the food and wine helped balance across the palate and was great. The Tempranillo was bigger than the Pinot, showing more black fruits (blackberry, black cherry and black raspberry) along with some tobacco, vanilla and white pepper aromas that matched a slightly spicy palate. While not as good a match for the food as the Pinot Noir, the Tempranillo was great on its own.
After a great slice (or 4) and two tastes, a spot finally opened up at the bar. Times Ten will only do a tasting if you sit at the bar so this spot was invaluable. During the tasting, two other reds shined, the Malbec and the Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2008 Malbec had the mix of strawberry and cherry mixed with red licorice. On the palate, the fruits had become a bit jammier, persisting mainly with cherry and strawberry notes. A nice comfortable drinking wine. On the bottle, which they place in front of you during the tasting, there was a picture of a very comfortable-looking recliner, representing the big flavors of the wine. The chairs are meant to represent the style of the wine like the beach chair for their Sauvignon Blanc, the metal folding chair for the Rosé or the dining room chair for the Pinot Noir. I applaud such a marketing idea. Some people who might not be comfortable picking varietals can look at the chairs and then make a decision. My wife even asked to see the bottle before ever tasting the wine just so she could feel what the wine would taste like.
Last was the 2007 Alexander Valley Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon. There is no chair on this label so you know this is one of their special wines (or just read limited release). There was a lot going on in the nose of this wine. Red currants, red cherry, mint bay vanilla, clove and violets all seemed to mingle in the nose. When tasting, those flavors follow through, showing currants, cherry, licorice and eucalyptus as well. Overall a very solid wine.
Final words on Times Ten is that it is a great place to hang out, drink some wine with some friends and just enjoy sitting in your chair, with your wine and on Wednesdays, with your pizza.