North Texas Road Trip – Entry 4; La Bodega – The Winery for the Jet Set
I reckoned that my mid-day visit to the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW for short) would be an ideal time to partake in a different type of Texas winery tour – A Jet Set Winery Tour. It took place at La Bodega Winery located in two locations in the DFW airport facility; the original location at Terminal A (Gate A15) and the new location Terminal D (Gate D14).
A visit to La Bodega is not going to be part of your usual road trip winery visit unless you are an international or domestic air traveler going into or out of DFW. However, if you plan your itinerary correctly, La Bodega Winery can be one notable “frill” in what has become more common of late – “no-frills” air travel.
While 9-11 has just about sealed this winery off from the outside world, it is the perfect place to stop while traveling. Come in and sit a spell, have a glass of wine and some small bites at what may be the only winery inside a major American airport. If not, it is the only one listed on Food and Wine Magazines Ultimate Airport Dining Survival Guide, at: www.foodandwine.com/articles/airport-dining-guide
I parked my car in the DFW parking lot and met La Bodega’s Jamie Johnson near the terminal security check point. She escorted me through security and we did our winery hopping for the day via the DFW inter-terminal tram.
I found the original La Bodega location at DFW Terminal A to be a cozy spot, true to the winery’s name – La Bodega (which translates as “The Wine Cellar”). It has a goodly number of Texas Wines and is a convenient place to obtain hostess gifts when visiting friends. It has an assortment of wine accessories, stemware, corkscrews and the hottest new wine gadgets like the wine aerator.
However, it is important to note what makes La Bodega different from just any wine bar. It is that La Bodega is actually a bonded winery with medals in wine competitions to show for it. These award-winning wines include:
La Bodega Private Reserve Merlot (Gold Medal and Top Ten Wines – Texas’ Best Wine Competition), and La Bodega’s appropriately named Port “Aeroport” (Bronze Medal – Finger Lakes Wine Competition).
La Bodega’s second and newest DFW location is actually a freestanding location within the DFW international terminal (See at top of page). This location has the full look-and-feel of a California winery tasting room, complete with an “outside” patio. In fact, the La Bodega Winery tasting room offers a full range of wines including premium producers like Llano Estacado, Becker Vineyard and Sister Creek from Texas, and Stag’s Leap and Rosenblum among others from California’s Sonoma and Napa Valley wine regions.
The Traveling French Wine Merchant
I sat a spell at La Bodega’s tasting bar in the DFW international terminal and visited with some of the travelers. By chance, I was sitting next to a French wine merchant from Bordeaux that was in town for the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux Tasting the previous day. I had been planning to attend, but got involved with some voluptuous Texas red wines instead (http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=479).
While having traveled the wine world, the French wine merchant said that he had not experienced Texas wines before, and in fact admitted that he did not even know that grapes were grown and wines made in Texas. During a little “terroir talk” I conveyed the not so surprising geological origination of Texas’ premium grape growing regions. This including our comparing notes between Texas soils and those of French wine regions (especially those in the south of France like in the Rhone valley, Provence and Languedoc), and even those in the famed Terra Rossa “Big Cab” Region” in the Australian Coonawarra.
We shared a taste of Llano Estacado Viviano, a Texas version of a SuperTuscan-styled wine, a red blend composed of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese from the Texas High Plains AVA. He was quite surprised to find a wine of this quality in a wine region previously unknown to him. He particularly pointed out the wine’s body and crisp acidity which were true to the Tuscan character of the wine’s style.
Washington D.C. Wine Party
While at La Bodega, I also met a family traveling back to Washington, D.C. They were planning a sweet wine, dessert and cigar party for the weekend with friends in the D.C. area. They were also quite astonished with the Texas wines they tasted. One favorite was the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli. When I left them, they were still making the hard decision to purchase either the La Bodega Port or the Homestead Cream Sherry.
The Sister Creek Muscat Canelli was a mildly sweet wine that packs a hint of spritz (carbonation) that adds to both the snappy character of the wine including a light bubble-popping palate feel. The La Bodega Port is a special Texas product made from the Lenoir grape that possessed a rich, dark-berry quality. The Homestead Sherry is a perennial Texas medal winner in the sweet white wine category and consumer favorite. It provided a powerful, sweet almond and caramel wine experience.
This morning, I received a follow-up email from them indicating that their party was a resounding success. In the email, they indicated “[Non-Texans] equate Texas to the west Texas landscape and doubt the state’s ability to support growing grapes there. Regardless, [attendees at our party] were all pleasantly surprised.” I think that they would be surprised to view the landscapes of France in the southern Rhone Valley or Languedoc. When, I was there, it looked like a page right out of Texas Parks and Wildlife – hot, dry, and sandy with outcroppings of sandstone and limestone.
Fly-In / Fly Out Wine Trail
If you are flying into or out of the Dallas Fort Worth airport, stop at La Bodega Winery. It will be a pleasurable way to spend your wait before boarding. You can also make it part of a true Texas winery experience by including the following nearby wineries that are less than 20 minute’s drive away in Grapevine Texas, a mere stone’s throw away from the DFW facility:
Delaney Winery (2000 Champagne Blvd, Grapevine, Texas; 817 4815668; www.delaneyvineyards.com)
Housed in an 18th century, French-style winery it is surrounded by a 10-acre vineyard. The grapes for the Delaney also come from their 78-acre vineyard near Lamesa, Texas.
La Buena Vida Winery (416 E College Grapevine, Texas; 817 481-9463; www.labuenavida.com)
This winery is housed in a renovated church building on the original Grapevine College site. The facility showcases a press from the 1800s and other antique tools of the wine trade along with a small vineyard and an herb garden.
Next Up: Visit to the Texas Wine Future at Brushy Creek Vineyards