A Cowboy Walked into Los Pinos Vineyards Tasting Room – A Fredericksburg Tasting
The way the story goes…
A cowboy walked into the tasting room at Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards in Pittsburg, Texas, with a parrot on his shoulder. The tasting room manager asked, “Where did you get him?” The parrot answers, “You can find a thousand of these guys in winery tasting rooms all over the Texas Hill Country.”
Well, this might not actually be the story of how Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard’s new hill country tasting room got started, but it gives you some idea of why they started it. If you’ve ever been to the winery’s Pittsburg tasting room like I have (after driving all over the deep north Texas Piney Woods trying to find it). And, after the first taste or two, you realize how good their wines are. Then, the mental light bulb goes off and you think: These wines are really good and need to easier to find.
Well, they did it! In May of this year, Los Pinos Ranch Vineyard opened their Hill Country location near Fredericksburg (6009 US, Hwy 290 E Suite A, Fredericksburg, TX 78624 – across from the huge Altstadt Brewery). They are also next door neighbors with the new Wedding Oak Winery location. Folks, it really can’t get much easier to find their wines, now!
My party was met at the new location by assistant general manager Duncan Hill, who Los Pinos managing partner Gerald Jones called our “Fredericksburg lead wine guru”. Duncan was as advertised, both wine-knowledgable and friendly, something that got our tasting at the bar going in grand fashion.
We started with the Los Pinos Ranch 2018 Blanco Grande 2018 made from their estate grown Blanc du Bois in their vineyard in Pittsburg. Light refreshing and dry, this wine is a show stopper even if it is not made from a European vinifera grape. It’s a hybrid grape made for wine production and developed by a Texan in Florida, especially for hot humid regions in our state. (Factoid to stump your friends: As of 2017, Blanc Du Bois is now the number one white grape produced in Texas and even outpaces Viognier, Roussanne and Muscat).
We jumped over to their 2018 Rosato, a dry rosé blend of High Plains grown Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo all grown in the High Plains AVA. Man, this red-berry dominant wine is made for quenching Texas’s hot summer days but has enough body to stand up to some serious meat dishes.
Duncan shared a special Texas “two-sip” with us. The first sip was of the Los Pinos Ranch 2017 Sangiovese grown at Diamante Doble Vineyards in Tokio on the high plains – a fruit-forward, medium-weight red wine that should be exciting for Pinot Noir drinkers in Texas. With this, we compared a special taste of their limited release 2014 Sangiovese Riserva with extended oak and bottle age that yielded a mature tasting experience with minerals, softer fruit and aged characteristics.
A wine that we did not taste that day, but I came home with a bottle, was the Los Pinos Ranch Texican, a high plains Sangiovese – Cabernet Sauvignon blend. This has already been one of my favorites, so much so, that it made my wine picks appearing in the Houston Chronicle in October last year for Texas wine month.
To close, I asked Duncan if he would pour my party a tasting of one of my favorite Los Pinos “Character” wines – those with pictures on the label. It was the “Besitos de Chocolate”, a red grape wine fermented with natural flavors of chocolate and strawberry. On the label it says that is it full of “Mystery and Surprises” and to that I would add “Shared Delights”, too. Light, crisp and sweet but not cloying, rich with red fruit and chocolate, yet light on the alcohol at 12% alc/vol. Great for just sipping (neat or on the rocks) or to finish off a great meal with dessert.
A shout out needs to be given here to Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards winemaker Arnulfo Perez. Due to his deep east Texas piney woods location, few have actually met him, but many have tasted his wines and, like me, appreciate greatly his winemaking abilities. He is definitely a serious winemaker, but he can also be playful like with his Besitos de Chocolate.
I hope that my blog wets your interest for some Los Pinos Ranch wines (now much easier to access). I encourage you to stop by Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards tasting room on the Route 290 trail. Bring your parrot, too. Disclaimer: Just don’t let it bite anybody, that’s not my responsibility.