I was lucky enough to be close to Lubbock one of the weekends that Llano was offering a tour of the winery/vineyard with their sommelier.
It was an amazing experience. The tour group I was in was small, so that made it easier to ask questions and we had more fun sampling wine and discussing it (rather than a big group that’s just there to drink). I won’t give away the full experience, but I will say it was completely worth it. Check out some pictures below.
I will, however, share with you my thoughts on the wines I tasted during the guided tasting session in another post.
Tour & Tasting with our Sommelier.
Enjoy seeing the production side of the winery, along with learning the history of Llano Estacado Winery.
Taste wine directly from tanks and barrels during the tour, and then enjoy a guided tasting in the tasting room after the tour.
Tasting – July 2022
Cinsaut Pétulant Naturel
We kicked off the tour with the Cinsaut Pétulant Naturel: Lilli of the Vine Vineyard. This is one of Llano’s first in house sparkling wines. It was a delicate peach color with an even more delicate aroma. This wine is not clear as it has a natural cloudiness, so if you’re wanting a sparkling for show this is not for you. But if you’re wanting something for a special occasion with good flavor, then this is perfect. [Llano’s notes]
“Steen” Chenin Blanc, Dell Valley Vineyard
During the tour of the winemaking facilities I tasted the Chenin Blanc. This is a crisp refreshing Chenin Blanc that’s perfect for a Tuesday night or dinner with friends. Don’t confuse this Chenin Blanc with Llano’s other ones (the less than $10/bottle), this is the higher end varietal ($25/bottle and up) and it shows in the silky taste and crispness of the wine. [Llano’s notes]
This is one of the barrel tastings that was picked by the tour group. It’s a red blend and I’ll be honest, this is the wine that convinced me Llano wasn’t the winery I remember from 10 years ago. This is a grown-up red blend. This isn’t a quantity blend. This has true form and subtly to it. (And it might have a little do do with the fact that the sommelier said one of the grapes that makes it was the same color as my hair… a bit raspberry.) It’s 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah and well worth the Saturday price. The fruit forward blend does capture some of the oak flavor from aging, but it’s not overpowering. While this is a wine that should be paired with food, I could sit and sip on it in front of the fire with a good mystery or a TCM movie marathaon. [Llano’s notes and history on the name]
The first barrel tasting. I had this before the 1836 Red, and as much as I loved the 1836 Red – I liked this one more, although I wasn’t ready to admit it. And it doesn’t hurt that this 100% Sangiovese is from one new favorite vineyards in the Texas High Plains – Farmhouse Vineyards 10%. This is a good Wednesday wine that would also work for Sunday dinner or dinner with friends. [Llano’s notes]
This barrel tasting surprised me. I had just been introduced to this Italian varietal earlier in the month, so I was a bit surprised to find it was grown in Texas. I tried this before the 1836 Red, so all thoughts on the wine (beyond enjoying it) were lost. But I’d give this a solid Tuesday rating. My notes say it was heavy on the tannins, but that may mellow with time. [Llano notes]
Llano has two Syrah’s and I am honestly not sure which I tasted from the barrel. I think it may have been the “La Violette” from Dell Valley [Llano’s notes] but it could have been the “El Capitan.” [Llano’s notes]. Either way, my notes say I enjoyed it. But I didn’t actually give it a rating.
We did try “something white” during the barrel tasting, but my notes are not much clearer than that. Which means it didn’t make that big of an impression on me.
Overall the tour was amazing. I enjoyed getting to walk out in the vineyard and try grapes from the vine. The explanations behind the process of crushing, fermenting, and bottling equipment was fascinating. Honestly, the barrel tasting was the most fun. We didn’t know what we were tasting until after we’d tried. You could tell if it was red or white, but I enjoyed trying to guess the varietal.
After the tour we went to the tasting room for a guided tasting, so look for those reviews in another post. The whole process took about 2 hours – so if you do plan to go, make sure you have the time, it’s well worth it.