I decided to celebrate California Wine Month by visiting Texas wineries. So, I kicked off my two-week semi-vacation in Fredericksburg by visiting Sandy Road Vineyards.
Sandy Road Vineyards (website) is about 12 minutes outside of Johnson City in “Sandy.” Technically, Sandy doesn’t exist as a town anymore, but where the vineyard is located is the Dixon Ranch, which has been in the same family for over 100 years. [Check out more history on their website, the story is a good read.]
I’m not sure how I came across it, but once I realized I could do a tasting in a Treehouse – I was sold. So, despite the over 100 degree heat, we headed out for a treehouse tasting. It was cooler in the treehouse than on the ground, but we stated off with the rosé on the ground as we were a few minutes early. It was nice to talk to Bryan (one of the owners) before joining Andy in the treehouse. I didn’t take individual pictures, but here was the lineup.
2022 Estate Rosé
Their Notes: Dry Rosé. 100% Sangiovese. Hand Harvested. Light, lively, crisp red apple and strawberry notes. Fermented in stainless steel tanks.
My Notes: Smells like strawberry but tastes like grapefruit. Good sugar scent, but not overly sweet tasting. It’s light and tart with the apple not being overpowering. I found it very refreshing. While Bryan gave it a Tuesday by the pool rating, I’d give this double gold Texsom winner a Thursday – I’m celebrating it being almost Friday – rating. It deserves it as it won Drink Pink Vino International Rosé Wine Competition – Gold Medal.
2021 White Blend
This exotically named wine (Andy’s words, not mine) is a blend of 83% Marsanne and 17% Roussanne that has been aged in French Oak. This and the first red (Good as Gone) are their only two wines that are not estate.
Their Notes: Dry White. Honeysuckle, Melon, and stone. Aged 12 months in French Oak barrels (25% new oak). Texas High Plains
My Notes: Light with an apple scent and a good gold color. It has a tart scent. Surprisingly this went really well with the green olives on the charcuterie platter. It really brought out the minerality of the wine. This is an easy drinking Tuesday night wine I’d pair with H-E-B’s bruschetta chicken or a chicken alfredo.
2021 Good as Gone
Their Notes: Dry red blend. 75% Sangiovese, 13% Mourvedre, 12% Merlot. Light & floral. Aged 12 months in French Oak barrels (25% new oak). Texas High Plains
My Notes: “Goes well with People.” No – seriously, this Wednesday wine pairs with everything. Andy recommends it for parties and dinners. It had a strawberry/cherry scent and flavor and was really drinkable (which I wrote twice in my notes). It paired well with the sausage and cheese. Normally I don’t eat grapes with wine, but my tasting partner encouraged me to try it – surprisingly, it went well and the grapes gave it more of a Sangiovese finish.
2021 Estate Sangiovese
Their Notes: Dry medium-bodied red with red cherry, strawberry, and spices. Aged 12 months in French & Hungarian Oak barrels (25% new oak).
My Notes: While my tasting partner and Andy discussed the merits of the different types of oak barrels, I enjoyed the views from the treehouse while sipping this wine. It’s a late harvest Sangiovese and had an alcohol and strawberry scent. The flavor is light, almost on the level of a pinot noir (sorry if that’s offensive). So, while this Wednesday wine didn’t prompt me to make many notes on the flavor, I made notes about it going well with Momma Deb’s Bolognese.
2021 Estate Marselan
Their Notes: Dry red with floral, blueberry, spice, caramel. Aged 12 months in French & Hungarian Oak barrels (33% new oak).
My Notes: This varietal was developed in the 1960s, and Sandy Road is one of a few wineries in the US to grow it, and the only winery in the US to bottle it as a single varietal. It is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. If you’re a wine nerd, the history of how this came to be is fascinating. If you’re not, then this Wine Searcher article is short enough for you to enjoy.
I literally could sit and smell this wine all night. The ruby color is beautiful, but the scent in intoxicating. I want Francis Kurkdjian to make a perfume for me with this as a base – maybe with some oud and rose. But I digress.
The wine is very fruity and we got flavors of cherry and blackberry. It has a bit of an acidic finish but that wouldn’t stop me from curling up with a good book on a Friday night and drinking the bottle by myself while I ignore the world.
2021 Estate Tempranillo
Their Notes: Dry red with dark cherry, leather, current, red licorice, stoniness, black pepper and bold tannins. Aged 10 months in American Oak barrels (25% new oak).
My Notes: Very fruity scent and doesn’t have the petroleum flavor found in most Tempranillo’s grown in the High Plains. It doesn’t need food – it’s just very drinkable. Although, it went really well with a square of dark chocolate. So, enjoy this with friends (who enjoy wine) on a Saturday night.
It’s often said that the spots off the beaten path are the best and we’ve found in our road trips that the places we stumble upon often end up being favorites of ours. That is definitely the case for Sandy Road Vineyards. The treehouse was amazing, but their tasting pavilion is just as nice.
The winemaker is Reagan Sivadon, who married into the family. You may know him as the long time associate winemaker at Ron Yates Wines and Spicewood Vineyards. Sandy Road is where his preference for lighter wine shines.
Andy has a cookbook coming out in the next year called Dinner at Andy’s – and if it’s based on some of the recipes he posts on the blog, I can’t wait. He specifically designs recipes to pair with Texas wines (a kindred spirit).
Whether it’s your first visit to the Hill Country, or your 25th, check out Sandy Road Vineyards. Tell them I said “hi.”
Check out some more pictures below. And if you’re new to my philosophy and rankings – read more here.