Thursday, 16 July 2009

Water and wine

Last weekend we headed down to the Austin/San Antonio area for a relaxing time with a few friends. We saw the bats at the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin, had a few drinks on 6th St, went tubing, climbed Enchanted Rock, and had a meal on the River Walk in San Antonio. All of which I've blogged about before, so just click on the links if you want the details.

Pedernales Falls deserves a mention, though. We dropped in at the state park on our way from Austin to New Braunfels, and cooled down with a dip in the Pedernales River.

The Falls themselves weren't exactly falling, but were spectacular all the same. The river runs over some huge slabs of limestone, forming beautiful green pools and sculpting the rock into curvaceous features.
Flash flooding is apparently a common occurence; see here for some awesome before-and-after photos. All was calm and serene while we were there though. There's not a lot of spare water around Texas in the summer.


The Texas hill country is dotted with wineries, and we availed ourselves of the opportunity to do a little tasting. Choosing pretty much at random, we managed to pick two very different establishments - Grape Creek and McReynolds Wines.


Grape Creek Vineyards advertises itself as "Tuscany in Texas" and is a beautiful site with rows of vines surrounding a shady courtyard and a recently renovated tasting room. They offer tastings of their White Label (cheaper) or Black Label wines, or you can just go for the whole lot and get a free wine glass thrown in. Which is what we did. It's all very professional, and the wines have won numerous awards. I particularly liked the refreshing Cuvee Blanc and a rather nutty port. If we'd had the time, sipping our way through a bottle in the breezy patio area would have been a perfect way to pass a Sunday afternoon.


McReynolds Wines was open till 6pm, later than most; the owner, Mac, told us that this was because so many of his visitors got lost trying to find the place! It was a little farmhouse out on a country road, with a tasting room crammed with curios and festooned with humming bird feeders. Mac sloshed some wine into our glasses - and some for him as well - and entertained us while we drank with stories of his varied life. Since we were the last guests of the day, he encouraged us to finish the bottles, and those of us who weren't driving happily complied. We took a few more away with us, too. A tasty reminder of a fun weekend.

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