Reviewed by Becky Eckelkamp on March 20, 2013 for American Winery Guide
http://www.americanwineryguide.com/winery_reviews/view_article_pic/fall-creek-vineyards/450/1539/– and the welcome wagon led by two friendly felines. It feels like it’s way out in the middle of nowhere, and you can get the whole winery package – an informative tour, good wine, a kitschy gift shop, and a divine patio for a leisurely picnic in good company.
The Experience To find Fall Creek, you get to drive past some remarkably scenic vistas in the Hill Country, including substantial rock formations and bluebonnets (if they’re in season). Watch your speed on some of the winding county roads, and don’t get so interested in the foliage and the geology that you run the car off the road! We passed a number of cattle and goat herds before we spotted some grapevines off to the right, and the Fall Creek production and tasting buildings rising up in the hills. Fortunately, the signage is pretty good, and GPS takes you right to it.
The Place When asked if we wanted a tour, of course we said “Sure!” We were the only people there on a lovely Sunday afternoon – I love it when that happens – so Al, who was holding down the fort, got to spend a lot of time with us. He showed us the equipment that separates the grapes from the stems and leaves (of course they have a machine called Lucille Ball) and explained how Fall Creek approaches some of the different processes for red and white wine. I learned some things about natural yeast vs. synthetic yeast, the temperature of the stainless barrels during winemaking, the chemical and physical conditions that start and stop the fermentation process, and all KINDS of things. Fall Creek’s owners emphasize controlling every aspect of the wine production and hold themselves to a very high standard.
Fall Creek has a lovely outdoor patio that would be ideal for sharing a bottle and a picnic. The tasting room also has an amply stocked gift shop, carrying everything from marinades to cheese boards to T-shirts.
The People OK, Al’s just great. He’s the kind of person you just hope you get to talk to when you go visit a winery. He said he’d been working at Fall Creek on Fridays and some weekends for eight or nine years, and he obviously knows his winemaking and takes great pride in what he does and the wine he helps make. We were there quite a while, and he asked the right questions about what we liked and steered us toward some very appropriate choices. He also has a GREAT sense of humor!
I can’t complete the personnel section of this review without mentioning the keepers of the keys, the two cats Cotton and Rocky. Cotton, the fluffball of the two, said hi at the door when we first walked in, and Rocky came to check us out after our tour. A few four-leggeds lend such a nice atmosphere to a winery!
The Wines We were lucky, because it was so quiet on this particular Sunday – we got to taste most of the available wines, instead of just the six choices that usually come with the standard tasting. We got to pick out a souvenir wine glass; it’s $6 for a smaller glass and $12 for a slightly larger, Riedel-style glass, which was of course the one I decided I had to have.
I really enjoyed the Chardonnay, which was oaky and a bit buttery. There was a white blend that offered 90% Chardonnay and 10% Muscat that I was worried about, since I don’t like sweet wine, but this was just a touch of sweetness that really changed the mouth feel of the wine rather than adding too much sweetness to the taste. It was good too. We liked most of the dry reds; the Granite Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, the Tempranillo, and the Merlot were our favorites and all came home with us. There were a couple of white and red blends (Ed’s Blends) that I found to be “just okay,” but the less experienced wine drinker might enjoy them as more of a “starter” wine.
Insider’s Tip Al encouraged us to come back sometime with our picnic basket from Central Market and a couple of friends, and we’ll probably do exactly that. The patio has fans and heaters, not that the heaters get much use between March and October! But this was overall a great experience and we look forward to doing it again.
Address & Contact Information: 1820 County Rd. 222 Tow, Texas 78672. Telephone: 325-379-5361, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.fcv.com. Tasting Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-4:00, Sat 11:00-5:00, Sun 12:00-4:00.
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