CENTRAL TEXAS WINERIES and the [Ultimate Texas Guide] – My Winespill
Two Boutique Central Texas Wineries
You take back-roads to get to Ab Astris Winery, yet it’s just off the main Hill Country wine trail, not more than two miles north of Highway 290. Check out our Texas wine trails maps to navigate to this central Texas winery that is just off the beaten path. Or follow the signs at every bend in the road, a road that gently rolls over every hill, and finally you find yourself in a wide-open setting with a quaint tasting room and plenty of outdoor seating. The young vineyards encircle the property and the sound of birds fills the air. It’s windy today, just after heavy rains so the ground is wet, still walkable but you must tread lightly.
Central Texas wineries are here to stay and getting bigger and bigger; this small wine region is on the rise.
See the ultimate list of Texas Wineries here.
Ab Astris Winery
The family works here, so each time someone comes to pour you a glass, you are charmed by a new member of the family. Ask them questions because they love to tell their story. I could relay it here, but what fun would that be for y’all.
Ab Astris has been open since August 2018, the seven-acre vineyard was planted in May 2018 and this central Texas winery consists of three acres of Tannat, two acres of Souzao, and two acres of Clairette Blanche with plans of planting two acres of Petite Sirah, two acres of Montepulciano, and an additional acre of Tannat in 2019.
The Tasting Room
As you enter the tasting room, you’ll notice it is bustling with people, some young some old, there are groups for celebrations and groups of families, couples and friends. You feel like you are part of this community when welcomed by the family that owns this boutique winery. You purchase a tasting and meander outside to sit at one of the country tables on the property.
This year after Texas has opened up after the long year of 2020 and COVID-19, Ab Astris has added live music and Chef Mitchell. You can make a reservation for Saturday at 11:00, 1:00, and 3:30 or Sunday at 11:00. Enjoy delicious wine and how they taste with specially prepared food in each season, made with fresh local fare.
The Tannat grape
Originally grown in Southwest France, Tannat grapes are used in blending wine and usually grow in large bunches. The berries are small to medium in size, with very thick skins and up to five seeds compared with two to three in other grape varieties. This abundance of skin and seeds produces more tannins when crushed, release phenolic compounds making the wine antioxidant-rich. So, it’s good for you, Ha!
Art of the blend
The art of blending wines can consist of 50 or more iterations year after year because of the variations from grape to grape and even between batches depending on the grapes of that particular year. The vintner will pull samples from a selection of barrels and start mixing these together, blending several different varieties or vintages to create a very complex masterpiece.
Tannat is a hardy grape with a bright future in the Texas Hill Country’s soil and climate. It competes with the big reds, like the cabs, when deciding what to serve with a Texan’s favorite steak dinner.
We approached Narrow Path from the south as we were driving up to central Texas wineries from San Antonio. We almost passed right by on our way to the infamous 290 wine highway we swerved into the parking lot of this very modern building. A chic and modern tasting room where $15 is what you pay for a sampler. Our wine server was extremely friendly and told us so much about the wine we were drinking. My personal favorites were the Dreamchaser Blanc and Dreamchaser (Merlot), both were reasonably sweet but also fragrant and floral.
The Tasting Room
The tasting room displays sweeping floor to ceiling windows that draw in the outdoors and floods the inside with light but keeps you cool on the sweltering South Texas summer months. We visited on a lovely day in the spring and I suggest going to their actual winery where the tasting room gives you the comfort of home in their beautiful country setting.