travel

Fredericksburg, TX

This weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating my 30th birthday (again) in Texas wine country! Not only were we baby free (thanks MIL & SIL), but we also got to do the weekend with our close friends (and newlyweds) the Beauchamp’s. If you’ve never been to Fredericksburg, I think it is a necessary addition to your travel bucket list, especially if you live in Austin. We are in Lakeway and it was a short (and beautiful) one hour drive. There are way too many wineries and vineyards to visit in one weekend so it’s definitely a place you can visit more than once. We talked about making a day trip again this Fall, maybe for one of the many grape stomps that happen during the harvest season 🙂

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We drove in Friday afternoon and decided to check-in to our badass farmhouse before grabbing some dinner. Seriously, this home made me feel like a grown-up. I’ll just say, the tiny B&B’s and cottages we’ve stayed at in our 20-something days seem like shacks compared to this palace. It was completely beautiful. Probably more beautiful than my actual home here in Austin. After rolling around on their plush carpets and jumping on their fancy linens, we headed to Alamo Springs Café. Apparently this joint is known for the best burger in Texas and the rumors were absolutely true. If you haven’t been here you better make plans to get there yesterday. You won’t be disappointed. I wouldn’t order any fries or onion rings though. The burger is the size of a grown mans face plus their apps are way better. Try the roasted garlic and goat cheese or the fried Portobello mushrooms. Party in your mouth.

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Saturday morning we slept in. Ahhhhhh-mazing! Sleeping past 6am on a regular day generally means A.) Both of our children are deathly ill or B.) We are terrible parents and turned off the monitors. The rest of the morning was spent lounging in my pjs, drinking coffee and soaking in the hill country views. Despite not leaving for the day until 11:30, we still managed to squeeze in 5 wineries by the end of the day. I wouldn’t generally recommend this though. By 8pm I was feeling rough (aka hung over) and it was not a fun experience. This could have more to do with the fact that I haven’t had a legit hangover in about 3.25 years and less to do with tasting 32 wine varietals in 8 hours, but who knows. Whatever the case, it was still a great day so here’s the scoop on each of the places we visited.

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Our first stop was a smaller winery about 20 miles off the main road called Sister’s Creek. The tasting room is housed in a restored cotton gin and you can do a free self-guided tour of the barrel room. The staff is very sweet and friendly, but more importantly the wine is tasty! I like a variety of wines, but my all time faves are in the sweet white category and this joint has a very delicious and sweet Muscat Canelli. This was actually our second time to visit this vineyard and it still didn’t disappoint. We would go again.

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Next up was Pedernales Cellars. This joint was recommended to us a million times, but also got rave reviews online and in print. Our tasting guru was an older guy with lots to say. He was very entertaining to say the least. Pedernales probably had the most stunning views of the hill country and a beautiful shaded patio with live music. They also had an assortment of cheese trays and snacks which was my saving grace (starting a wine tour of Fredericksburg on an empty stomach was not my smartest idea). We definitely preferred their red options and actually ended up joining the wine club cause it was the same price as the reserve bottle the hubs wanted (and that bottle comes in our first shipment). Overall we liked it, but not sure it was worth all the hype.

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The next stop was Becker Vineyards. This is one of the larger wineries in Fredericksburg and we’ve been more than once. With that said, it’s also extremely crowded and took a good chunk of our time. They do have a very pretty lavender field, but it was the end of the season and most of it had dried out. We decided to go again this time anyways in hopes of finding Henri, a hilarious French guy that gives you generous pours and makes you feel like a close friend. Henri was in fact there, but he was not the same Henri from previous visits. 😦 Poor guy looked majorly exhausted and told us how it’s become increasingly harder to stand on his feet all day. Things were still fun to start, but then a bachelorette group showed up and Henri forgot we existed. The cheese plate from earlier was also starting to wear off and I was feeling hangry so we high tailed it out of there before I started saying mean things to strangers.

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Henri ignoring me for sexier single ladies.

Our next stop was Inwood Estates. We were told they had a café so I was sold. The BBQ pizza was amazing, the nachos not so much. We planned to do a tasting there as well, but the guys ended up ordering full glasses at lunch so we just tasted those instead. The hubs got their Tempranillo blend and it was quite nice. Fun random fact, Tempranillo is probably becoming the grape of Texas. Pretty much any vineyard you visit will grow it and they always seem to see great success with those harvests. I also chugged like 12 glasses of water and by the time we left I was feeling myself again. I’m glad we had this stop to sit and recover because our last two stops were probably my favorite.

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Next up was 4.0 Cellars. This was definitely my all time favorite stop of the trip. It was beautiful, the staff was wonderful, and the wine didn’t disappoint. This tasting room began as a collaboration between three Texas wineries – Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, and McPherson Cellars, which are located respectively in Comanche, Burleson, and Lubbock. Another random fun fact, most Fredericksburg wineries get their grapes from one of these areas. Hardly anything you drink is actually made from grapes grown in Fredericksburg. Of course the hubs fell in love with the Tempranillo and we walked away with a bottle, but I also really enjoyed the Rose’ we tasted. In my opinion you definitely want to make time to visit this place. It won Best in Show hands down.

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Our final stop of the day was at Messina Hof. They are known for making wines on the sweeter side (even the reds) so I of course wasn’t disappointed in anything I tasted. If you prefer something bolder this might not be the place for you, but my red wine drinking hubs enjoyed their Tempranillo enough to snag a bottle. I personally really enjoyed their port, but the price point was a little high in my opinion so I opted for a port infused truffle instead 🙂

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For dinner Saturday night we headed to Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse. Reservations are generally recommended, but even without one we only had to wait about 20 minutes. I honestly can’t tell you much about this place other than the wedge salad was on point. After inhaling that, my body started to shut down from all the wine I’d poisoned it with. My stomach was churning, my head pounding and my body aching. I may or may not have also started sweating for no apparent reason. WP_20150725_21_11_03_Pro

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Much of Sunday morning was spent in hangover mode. I couldn’t have been more grateful I didn’t have children to keep alive that morning, but thanks to some sugary cereal, a jug of water and a few cups of coffee, I was able to pull it together and get dressed for one more wine stop on the way home. The vineyard of choice was Lewis Wines in Johnson City. They only do tastings by reservation which was actually quite nice because we had the entire place to ourselves. Their outdoor patio overlooks their vines and had completely hangover friendly comfy red couches to curl up on. The wines were tasty too and we came home with a bottle of their Newsome Reserve (a cab/malbec blend).

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Overall it was a wonderful trip and there wasn’t one place we went to that I wouldn’t recommend. They all had something worthwhile about them and we pretty much walked away from each vineyard with a bottle to enjoy at home. Hangover fiasco and all, I’d totally do it again. Lucky for me come Friday, I do in fact get to do it all again, just this time in Napa Valley, CA!!! Don’t worry, I’ll pace myself 🙂

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If you look closely you can see me Vana Whiteing our loot from the trip.
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