Hilmy Cellars Tasting

Continuing my celebration of California Wine Month, I headed over to Hilmy Cellars (website) where they proudly use 100% Texas grapes. I did the mixed tasting while my partner in wine did the all red (but we swapped glasses).


This was a bright white floral wine with high acid and lemon on the nose. The flavor was light and doesn’t tastes like it smells. it’s lighter with more citrus and honeydew. We decided this Tuesday wine would pair well with a light white fish.


“Lemon Zest” was how the tasting guide described the taste of this wine. Personally, I got the scent of sea salt caramel. The wine is light with a short finish, which makes it very drinkable. We agreed this Monday wine would pair well with scallops or clams as our guide suggested.


This rosé is a blend of cinsault and tempranillo, created by the direct press method using whole clusters. We were advised it would have a grapefruit taste. To us it had a peach scent, but almost no flavor. But it was really drinkable so we declared it a porch wine as it would be fine on its own, but want to see if it picks up (enhances) the flavor of food, so we’re thinking Chicken Cordon Bleu or Yucca Fries with Garlic Aioli as pairings.


Warned to expect “cranberry spice” we were pleasantly surprised by the depth of this Mourvèdre. It was earthy with berry according to my partner. I got dark cherry and tobacco on the scent with a mushroomy flavor. My partner got tobacco leaf and a long finish with chocolate. It’s heavy on the tongue, so we decided to pair this with tamales on a Thursday night.


This Texas High Plains merlot is supposed to have green bell pepper and spice flavors. To us, it was a tasty, but typical, merlot. There was some smoke and tomato leaf on the scent. Despite the flat taste, we still decided it was average enough for a Wednesday rating.

Cabernet Franc

Out of all the descriptions of the trip, this is still one of my favorites. My partner gave me a raised eyebrow when our guide said it reminded her of “smoked jalapeños.” She was right, the scent tomato leaf and jalapeño. Not astringent and very mouth watering. While I do want to put it with bacon wrapped, cream cheese stuffed jalapeños one Friday night, this cab franc can be drunk on its own without food. I’d even put it with Del Rio based Julio’s chips and queso, or a steak and mushroom pie. It was declared “the best cab franc I’ve had.” [It got starred, so a bottle or 3 came back with me.]

Politics & Religion

This red blend of Mourvèdre, merlot and cabernet sauvignon, was special. The smell was of cranberry and orange zest. But it tasted of strawberry ad thyme. It is truly as it was described ‘Thanksgiving in a Bottle.” Especially since we got that flavor of green beans that have been burnt in an aluminum pan. Don’t let that deter you… this got three stars and a rating of “special” which is a new one for me.


This blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely a “steak wine.” I got tomato leaf and cinnamon red hots on the flavor. My partner got tobacco and berry forward. We both found it astringent and drying. It was a Tuesday wine we could take or leave – but still thought it would pair well with a steak oscar, steak diane, or steak with blue cheese and walnuts.

Petite Verdot

We got a light bell pepper scent with cherry or raspberry. It has a long finish with good black pepper. It was dry, but still mouthwatering. We decided to pair this with a pizza on a Tuesday night.

Tejas Blanc

A bit out of order, but they needed to finish the bottle out and there was enough for a tasting. This is the best of both he Marsanne and Roussanne varietals. Its a perfect party white as it should be enjoyed by a lot of people unfamiliar with the grapes themselves but it will pair with a lot of different foods. Our guide mentioned she got yuzu when she tasted it, and we agree that it was there and so would go well with Thai food. Despite a porch rating, this wine has a good texture and a higher viscosity of some blends like this.

Final Thoughts

Looking over my notes there are a lot of comments about tomato leaf – so I have to wonder if that’s the case in the wines or if using the same glass tainted the flavors. Overall, we enjoyed the tasting and I should have tried harder to take pictures of the labels. The tasting room is worth visiting, very pretty inside and on the patio.

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