Wine Not? When in Texas….

At a party this weekend, a dear friend (another American diplomatic spouse) and I were chatting about our home states. She’s a California/Colorado girl, and I’m Lone Star State born and bred.

“But you aren’t one of those annoyingly proud Texans,” she said, reassuringly.

I felt obligated to come clean. “Oh, no, I totally am. I just try to keep it at least a little bottled up, for the sake of my Indiana husband.”

And that’s the absolute truth. As proof, here’s Exhibit A: Today’s coffee cup, last night’s wine glass, our welcome mat, a piece of decor in our living room:

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Given all this, it likely comes as no surprise that some of my favorite wines are also Texas born and bred.

Some of this, of course, is a result of my absolute bias in favor of the Lone Star State. But some of it’s due to the fact that Texas wines are becoming serious business, legitimately earning accolades even on national and international levels. In fact, the Texas Hill Country made Wine Enthusiast‘s list of “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014.” And my grandfather-in-law (is that even a term?) swears the best port he’s ever had is from Fredericksburg, Texas… and he’s had the opportunity sample some originating right from the Portuguese source.

Being a Gulf-Coast girl, I’m a bit away from the mid-state region where the best wineries are flourishing. But that didn’t keep me from hitting up a Texas winery with one of my brothers when I was back in the States a few weeks ago.

If you’re exclusively into traditional reds and whites, Texas SouthWind Winery & Vineyard might not be the first place you stop on your Texas wine tour. But what they truly excel at–what has me buying multiple bottles of their vino to include in our shipment every time we move countries–are their fruit wines.

Cherry, blueberry, cranberry, blackberry, red raspberry, strawberry, pear, peach, apple… they’ve got it all. Sure, a good guy friend of mine accused me of being a hobbit the last time I cracked open a bottle of blackberry wine in front of him. But let’s be honest: hobbit-esque or no, it’s just good wine.

And having the chance to sip it (I chose a glass of the blueberry vintage) while sitting in the vineyard’s outdoor tasting area, shaded by mesquite and oak trees, with a sweeping view of that endless Texas sky and the wildflowers that painted my childhood, made it taste all the better. Shared with my wonderful brother and his friends, it was one of those idyllic moments that I treasure up in my heart, holding onto tight when I find myself thousands of miles away and missing home… home on the range.

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