Tag Archives: Vineyard at Florence

The Vineyard at Florence

20 Mar

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I always find it interesting to visit wineries that are well outside any established American Viticulture Area yet produce estate wines.  Most wines made this way are, to put it mildly, underwhelming.  The wines of The Vineyard at Florence are a delightful exception to this.

Well outside of any existing AVA, Florence Texas is a beautiful area northeast of the Texas Hill Country.  For the past 11 years, the winery here has been producing award-winning wines made from California grapes, Texas Hill Country and High Plains grapes, and from several varieties grown in the 32 acre estate vineyard.

IMG_7550The winery and vineyards are beautiful and entail beautiful views, outdoor seating and an authentic Italianesque outdoor brick pizza oven.  The tasting room is an enormous hall of Texas stone exterior, wood timber framing and a high wooden ceiling, overlooking the outdoor patio and vineyards.  Tasting room attendant Tijada was knowledgeable and friendly, and provided a wonderful tasting experience.  She started me out with a Pinot Grigio made from California grapes and a Roussanne (a Rhone white variety) from Texas grapes, and then moved on to their excellent estate wines.

  1. Pinot Grigio, CA. Very pale yellow with light flavors of white peaches and citrus.  88 points.
  2. Roussanne, Texas High Plains Region. Yellow gold hue.  Nice bouquet of tropical fruit and a touch of floral.  On the palate, medium body with stone fruit and melon.  89
  3. Cielo, Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon. 1% alcohol, and a bit lighter than most California Cabs, perhaps from grapes harvested at lower brix? A good Tuesday-night wine.  87
  4. Inferno, Estate Grown blend of Cab Sauv and Norton. Norton is the oldest native grape to the US (and the cornerstone of the Missouri wine industry), and is not a Vitis Vinifera variety, which comprise all old-world wine varietals.  Most non-Vitis Vinifera grapes in the United States have an upleasant “foxy” flavor, which fortunately Norton lacks.  While Inferno uses this non-traditional grape, it is surprisingly good.  A bigger wine than Cielo, well balanced, with nice dark fruit and touch of spice and smoke.  89
  5. Bella Donna, a desert wine made with estate grown Blanc du Bois. This white grape is a hybrid of Muscat Vitus Vinifera and native Florida varieties.  Blanc du Bois is one of many American hybrid grapes which cross VV with native varieties to withstand Pierce’s disease, which infects nearly all Vitus Vinifera grapes in the southern US. This lightly sweet wine has aromas and flavors of tropical fruit and is a delicious sipping wine.  89

The wine here is well-worth the drive, and the setting and view make for one of the best wine-tasting experiences you could hope for.  Next time, I’m going to visit during lunch and try their amazing brick-oven pizza!