It’s always a good day when you can visit new wineries in the Texas Hill Country. There has been such explosive growth in wineries – it’s hard to catch up. I managed some quick visits and power tastings (as in “serious spitting”) at three new wineries and I look forward to going back to all of them! (Will share tasting notes on the wines I purchased in later posts.)

Signor Vineyards

A stunning tasting room and property right off of Highway 290, any signs of stress will quickly dissipate as you enter the property. Pretty tables line the outside of the tasting room, encouraging you to sit and stay awhile. The winery is co-owned by the third generation of two families – Clay Signor and winemaker Eric Weisinger (of The Weisinger Family Vineyard in Oregon).

Both Oregon and Texas wines make up their wine list – while I love Oregon wines, I only tasted the two Texas wines on the tasting menu – the Signor Vineyards 2016 Roussanne and the 2017 Sangiovese. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t care for Roussanne, but this one is quite bright, with citrus notes that I really loved, and that I can’t turn down a good Sangiovese.

Don’t miss the sweet market shop next to the tasting room – super cute glassware and other pretty things.

Next up: Ab Astris Winery

I was so curious about the name – it means “from the stars,” quite fitting given its location near the expansive LBJ Park where there are few lights and the stars do all the work. Two daughters of this family-owned winery were working in the tasting room, sharing Roussanne, Tannat, Tempranillo, Montepulciano, Malbec. A sucker for Italian grapes, I bought the Montepulciano, which is a lighter style than most. I also enjoyed the Tannat, always a favorite.

The tasting room overlooks the trees and vineyard, with ample outdoor seating.

A little further down the road in Hye, in the former Compass Rose Cellars tasting room, is the new French Connection Wines.

Owned by dear friend (and WSET Dip) Sheri Patillo and her husband Pat, and Ben Calais of Calais Winery and Victoria Gimino, French Connection Wine focuses on Rhone-style wines, currently offering 2018 Rosé Vin Gris (Cinsault), 2018 La Connection Rosé (Mourvèdre), 2018 La Connection White (Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier), 2017 La Connection Red (Syrah and Mourvèdre), 2017 Syrah and a 2015 Roussanne Port Style (pineapple, floral, caramel deliciousness).

Could not resist the structure and hint of tannins in the Mourvèdre Rosé — a bright rosé that will pair nicely with Thanksgiving dishes. That’s my plan at least!

This tasting room has beautiful Hill Country views and little maisonettes/casitas for rent. I want to stay there!

Couldn’t ask for a better day in the Texas Hill Country to taste fantastic wines. What are you waiting for?

Cheers,  Denise

Certified Wine Educator, WSET Advanced, Certified Sommelier, French Wine Scholar, Les Dames D’Escoffier Austin
Phone: (512) 587-5879