With a little spare time before heading back to my paying job in January, I took the opportunity to have some time off and visit a couple more wineries in the Hill Country, with my partner in wine.
When a reservation fell through at one winery – we decided to stop in at Horn Winery and Tasting Room in Hye, Texas. We’ll go back for a tasting at Azeo Distillery – located in the same building. Brad Cummins, the winemaker, was doing tastings on the day we dropped in and so we spent a very pleasant hour and a half discussing wine, wine making wine education and the overall state of the Texas Wine industry. If you just do a tasting, it’s only about 45 minutes.
The Symphony Flight
This mixed flight consisted of two whites, a rose, and two reds.
Accent – 2017 Vermentino
Their Notes: 100% Texas Vermentino strikes first with hints of citrus leaf and orange blossom honey, strikes hard with hints of pear and lychee and shows no mercy for its finish that elicits no apology. Pairings: Spinach, Oysters, Fennel Flavors
My Notes: Lots of peach and citrus on the nose but the flavor is overwhelmed by the sugary taste – despite the very low residual sugar in this one. It was like drinking a simple syrup. I can’t wait to sit down with a cozy mystery book in front of the fire and just sip on this one. Though, I might hold onto it for a day I can sit in the sun on the porch and enjoy it. This is truly a porch wine… not a porch pounder.
We skipped the Marcato, the 2018 Orange Muscat, and substituted the Albariño instead.
My Notes: This all stainless steel fermented Albariño is 100% Texas High Plains from Reddy Vineyards. Brad noted he did no malolactic fermentation on it when I commented on its buttery taste. Personally, I thought it smelled better than it tasted with a sweet floral scent muck like a perfume. The taste had more citrus than floral, with a buttery-ness to it. Overall a strong Texas Albariño. I did suggest he consider oak aging some of his next vintage – just to see what happens. I gave it a Wednesday rating.
Segue – 2019 Cinsault Rosé
Their Notes: Pair with gruyere cheese, grilled vegetables or smoked salmon.
My Notes: A very drinkable Rosé – though my partner in wine was not fond of it. I got lots of peach on the scent and taste – but not that overwhelming cloying peach in bath products or southern potpourri. It has a light caramel flavor hiding in it too. I can see it going with the gruyere, but I think the sweetness might overwhelm even a smoked salmon. I ranked it a Tuesday.
Melody – 2018 Bordeaux Blend
Their Notes: Pairs with Truffles, Roasted Garlic Potatoes, Veal.
See below for my notes
Serenade Reserve – 2018 Tempranillo
Their Notes: The same as below, but pairing suggestions are with Manchego, Rack of Lamb or Prosciutto.
My Notes: This Tempranillo spent an extra six months in oak. I think this is a date wine while the regular Serenade is a Thursday. Brad disagrees and reverses them. Regardless, he did agree to my assessment that this one has more of an anise flavor. Normally this isn’t something I’d like, but its good in this one. Despite being grown in the Texas High Plains, I get no petroleum flavor in this one. And I still think its fruit forward taste is better for date night when I have time to really savor it.
The Baritone Flight
This all red flight covered the major reds offered by Horn Winery.
Aria – 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon
Their Notes: A showcase of our Cabernet Sauvignon taking center stage. A combination of French, American and Hungarian Oak with medium and medium plus toasting round out the performance leading to an extended finish. Pair with Gorgonzola Cheese, Lamb or Portobello Mushrooms.
My Notes: This is not 100% Texas fruit. I loved the smell and could have sniffed the glass all afternoon. Its a smooth cab, perfect for a Tuesday night with some portobello stuffed ravioli in a lemony cream sauce.
De Capo – 2018 Cabernet Franc
Their Notes: Pair with Goat Cheese, Beef Stew, or Roasted Duck or Roasted Lamb.
My Notes: This has the typical Texas High Plains acidity scent to it for me. Not a bad thing, but had you told me it was a Cab Franc and asked where it was grown I would have definitely told you Texas. There’s an underlying grape scent followed by a strong green bell pepper scent. The bell pepper is not evident in the taste. This was my partner in wine’s favorite. Despite not loving it, I gave it a Thursday rating.
Motif – 2019 Montepulciano
Their Notes: Pair with Parmesan, Tomato Sauces or Beef Brisket.
My Notes: It has an odd smell I can’t place but a very good flavor. It’s a light montepulciano, so easy to drink. Its a perfect Tuesday night Bolognese wine.
Melody – 2018 Bordeaux Blend
Their Notes: Cabernet Sauvignon (42.5%) , Cabernet Franc (42.5%) & Merlot (20%) combines this composition of Old-World tradition with New World media. Pair with Cheddar, Mushrooms or Filet Mignon.
My Notes: The 2018 is is not 100% Texas – but the next vintage should be 100%. Brad calls this his “Netflix and Chill Wine.” I called it a Book Club wine – easy to drink, not too sweet but not too cabernet-ish. Despite being very fruit forward, this wine drinks like a pinot noir – it will go with just about anything. But I’m thinking the truffe mac and cheese from H-E-B and binging Bridgerton. (Yes, a bottle came home for me to try it.)
I find it interesting to note that the pairing suggestions on the Symphony Flight do not match the pairing suggestions on the Baritone flight. But I think that just goes to show the versatility of this wine.
Serenade – 2018 Tempranillo
Their Notes: This thoughtfully composed Tempranillo serenades the beauty of Texas winemaking with its combination of French and American oak and its soulful extended finish. Pour a generous glass that will woo your tastes like songs beneath open windows and night skies. Pairs with Baked pasta, garlic chicken or roast beef.
My Notes: This Tempranillo is aged in 30-40% new oak, just six months less than the Reserve version. It has a good cherry flavor that leaves your mouth very wet. I didn’t get much smell on this one like I did on the reserve, but it definitely has less anise flavor. Overall, it’s a good Thursday night wine (or a date night wine – seriously, you really can’t go wrong with this one).
I can’t wait to head back in the spring to see how Brad is coming on his Mourvèdre and the white he’s aging in Acacia wood. Unfortunately, our impromptu barrel tasting was interrupted by two older couples coming in, who were disappointed to hear they didn’t really do sweet wine. Needless to say, they were rude enough to stand around discussing where to go instead, so we took our time checking out with six bottles of wine. Discussing with Brad (us being loud) about how much we looked forward to drinking the wine. Of course, once out the door, we couldn’t stop laughing. We really will enjoy drinking the wines, but were still tickled that I guessed the correct varietal on the blind tasting Brad pulled on me. (It’s the only way to truly learn – and I enjoyed every minute.) So, I’m sorry the couples decided to leave – they would have actually enjoyed it if they had given Horn a chance. I’d highly recommend a visit.
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