In east Texas, scenic hills with tall pines fringe your path producing a cloistered environment with an emerald cast. It’s where modern man conjoins with nature on a grand scale in Texas: acres under barn, vast countryside dedicated to row crops, white wooden fences extending to the horizon guarding within domesticated animals.
With the tenacity and cleverness of early farmers, augmented with the tools and treatments of modern-day agricultural technology, Texans are developing a fresh, new definition for the word terroir in places like Kiepersol. The bottle of wine says it all: “Grown, Produced, and Bottled by Kiepersol Estates Vineyards, Tyler, Texas.”
From Interstate 69 heading east on Route 344, you will find the entrance on your left. However, this is just the entrance to a domain of luxurious country homes. Meandering roads named “Syrah”, “Merlot” and “Cabernet” give you clues that you are a on course for wine… fine Texas wine that is, and one of Texas’s premier wine estates, and something more still.
As you manage the curves, take in a view of a vineyard lined lake, glance right to see the gourmet restaurant and B&B, and proceed left to a Grand Room for a tasting. Need I say more… you are now deep in the heart of the Kiepersol Domaine.
The line up today is a flight of four Kiepersol wines. First, relax and take in the moment to view the vineyard and a sip some wine:
Texas Dry Rosé, 2020 – Soft and alluring aroma with an emphasis on ripe fruit. With predominant notes of raspberries, roses and violets, a wine to welcome friends, sipping on the patio, and accompanying lighter fare.
Texas Merlot, 2017 (Aged in Bourbon Barrels) – A richly flavored Merlot bringing black cherry, vanilla and baking spice in delightful harmony with an addition of bourbon barrel aromatics made for serving with dry aged beef or a rack of lamb.
Texas Sangiovese, 2019 – This is a foodie wine that features nuances of tart cherry, juicy plums, cola and warm dark chocolate augmented with comfortable acidity and smooth tannins… for food pairing think two words: Capellini Pomodoro (or substitute another fresh tomato and meat-based light pasta dish).
Texas Dulce (Sweet White Wine) – it comes with the moniker “bottled sunshine”; perfectly balanced sweetness and refreshing acidity yields peaches, citrus, fresh cut flowers, and an elegant touch of honey.
What you are enjoying here is the culmination of a visionary man, Pierre de Wet working with his two young daughters, Marnelle and Velmay, for nearly two decades. Alas, Pierre has left us too young to tend God’s vineyards. The lessons Marnelle and Velmay learned are now for your enjoyment: their wines, restaurant and B&B. More recently, they also make and offer distilled spirits for those that imbibe. In their words, ”Heaven has received one of God’s greatest warriors. Kiepersol’s loving patriarch continues to guide us as an angel in heaven as we go into new vintages. We will continue to work the vines, love as many people as we can, all the while honoring the legacy of Pierre de Wet.”
Plan some extra time after your east Texas drive and Kiepersol tasting to enjoy some fine dining in the Kiepersol Restaurant and perhaps an overnight stay in their B&B.
But, wait one second… I’d like to share one of my favorite places at Kiepersol. It’s the long bar just to the right after you enter the B&B before entering the restaurant. It is as inviting and has many of the subtleties (like the overhead fans) as you will find at Raffles Long Bar in Singapore, another fave of mine. However, it’s a tad smaller and definitely more intimate. It soothes the soul especially while sipping on a glass of Keipersol wine or a Whiskey Manhattan made with Kiepersol’s own on-premise made spirits.
The Kiepersol Estate is really something quite unique in East Texas (no not just East Texas but in all Texas) worthy of both your attention and your presence. It is calling you.
Set your sights on The Grand Room at Kiepersol, 21556-B Merlot Lane, Tyler, TX 75703.
Photo credits: Kiepersol Estates Vineyards