Stone House Vineyard Texas

When planning what to do on my first day in Austin Jane and James decided that a visit to the wineries nearby would be a good idea, they were right. I was relieved when James suggested that I work out the wineries we should visit, was a bit worried that Jane would pick them, which is a worry as Jane likes Chardonnay that tastes like battery acid from South Eastern Australia called Jackeroo, sorry Jane I had to add this! The first winery I chose was Stone House Vineyard Texas.

Stone House, North America 2017, Austin Texas, Texas Hill Country

Stone House Vineyard Texas

I chose Stone House Vineyard Texas because they also produce wines from South Australia, which caught my eye. The winery was established by Howard and Angela Moench in 1996. Angela, who was born in the Barossa Valley South Australia, runs the winery, with the help of a couple of wine makers in the Barossa Valley South Australia and the Nappa Valley California.

Stone House, North America 2017, Austin Texas, Texas Hill Country

From their website:

The name Stone House Vineyard suggests permanence and durability, two qualities owners Angela and Howard Moench undoubtedly espouse in their winemaking and grape growing. The winery is constructed of massive limestone blocks—forming a veritable stone house—each weighing more than 2,000 pounds. In addition to this unique feature, there’s the fact that while Stone House is rooted in Texas, its heritage stretches all the way to Australia, the home country of founder Angela. She hails from the Barossa Valley wine country and continues to source grapes and winemaking techniques—including her winemaker—from that area in order to craft wines that blend Texas and Australian methodologies and flavors to showcase two viticultural rising stars at once.

Angela and Howard have long been enthusiastic about good wine and food, but when they acquired several acres of land bordering the Hill Country’s Lake Travis in 1996, they had no intention of planting grape vines. Within a year, however, the idea of joining the evolving wine industry in Texas was growing on them. In 1999, after considerable research with viticulturists and oenologists, it was decided to plant nearly seven acres of the Norton grape varietal that produces a delicious medium to full-bodied red wine. Norton also has other attributes: it is disease resistant and has a late bud break thereby avoiding the late freezes in the Texas Hill Country.

By the first vintage in 2002, Angela was fully in charge of the vineyard and determined to produce the highest quality grapes – and Howard was allowed to walk among the vines and admire her work. By 2012, Howard was allowed to help in the vineyard, as Angela only has two hands.

Howard designed the beautiful winery. He is a frustrated architect (and a real life physician), but he achieved functionality, practicality, and beauty in the two buildings that comprise the winery.

Cellar Door

The Cellar Door is a part of the Stone House Vineyard on the banks of Lake Travis in the Texas Hill Country, a 50 minute drive from Austin.

The Vineyard

7 acres of close-planted Norton vines are cultivated by Stone House Vineyard on the site. Did not get try any wines made with Norton grapes BTW.  Norton grapes are a North American grape that were originally planted by Dr Daniel Norton in Virginia in the early part of the 1800’s, they are apparently resistant to disease which is a problem in the Texas Hills Country.

Tasting Flights

At the cellar door they offer four different types of tasting flights:

  • Select Tasting $10 / flight
    • A flight is a mix of 5 white and red wines, and will be all dry, medium to full-bodied
  • Reserve Tasting $20 / flight
    • A flight is a mix of 4 limited release small production white and red wines, all dry and full-bodied
  • Dessert Tasting $8 / flight
    • A flight of 3 dessert wines, including a late harvest Semillon and two port-style wines.
  • Group Tasting $20 / flight
    • A flight of 5 wine selections of red, white, sweet, dry, and even a sparkling wine

I selected the Reserve Tasting flight, Jane and James went with the Select Tasting Flight.

The Wines

wdt_ID Wine Photo
1 Name: Stone House Vineyard Cuvee Cuddles
Vintage: NV
Region: South Australia, Australia
Varietal: 54% Chardonnay 46% Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 12%
Colour: Bright Pale Straw
Bead: No Bead, Spritzy
Aroma: Floral mixture of passionfruit, lime and citrus aromas
Palate: Pleasant with citrus and lime flavours
Finish: Medium

Comment: It was ok, a good wine to start the day with.
2 Name: Stone House Vineyard The Lyre Wild Ferment
Vintage: 2015
Region: Eden Valley, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Riesling
Alcohol: 12.5%
Colour: Bright pale straw
Aroma: Funky nose with citrus and lime aromas
Palate: Dry with a small amount of sweetness
Finish: Medium

Comment: The nose is what caught me. Interesting to be tasting an Eden Valley Riesling on the banks of the Colorado River in Texas that is not available for sale anywhere other than from the Stonehouse Cellar door or online.
3 Name: Stone House Vineyard The Lyre Rosé
Vintage: 2016
Region: South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Sangiovese
Alcohol: 12%
Colour: Bright pale pink
Aroma: Pleasant combination of peach, cherry and berry aromas
Palate: Slightly sour
Finish: Medium

Comment: Preferred this to the first two wines. A good wine for a warm afternoon.
4 Name: Stone House Vineyard The Survivor
Vintage: 2014
Region: Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: 77% Shiraz 23% Grenache
Alcohol: 14.5%
Colour: Youthful Opaque Crimson
Aroma: Appealing mixture of white pepper and blackcurrant aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied
Tannin: Dry
Finish: Medium-long

Comment: Not a bad drink, needs more time to evolve.
5 Name: Stone House Vineyard Howling Cogs
Vintage: NV
Region: Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: 40% Syrah 28% Cabernet 22% Grenache 5% Petit Verdot 5% Mataro
Alcohol: 14.1%
Colour: Deep rich garnet / red brick
Aroma: Combination of spice, cedar and chocolate aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, smooth
Tannin: Dry
Finish: Medium-long

Comment: There were only 440 bottles of this produced. A good quality wine, a good choice for a barbie quaffer.

On the bottles there is the following “Open, Then Drink, Simple Really”
6 Name: Stone House Vineyard The Lyre
Vintage: 2013
Region: Barossa, South Australia, Australia
Varietal: Shiraz
Alcohol: 14.5%
Colour: Youthful Deep Crimson
Aroma: Fragrant mixture of black pepper, spice and plum aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, balanced, smooth
Tannin: Silky
Finish: Long

Comment: Considering this wine was from their entry level range, this is a very good wine. Great nose, smooth, drinking very well now. Preferred this to the Howling Cogs and the Survivor.
7 Name: Stone House Vineyard Special Reserve
Vintage: 2014
Region: Nappa Valley, California, United States of America
Varietal: Merlot
Alcohol: 14.9%
Colour: Youthful deep ruby purple
Aroma: Fragrant mix of blackberry, black pepper, spice, mint and mocha aromas
Palate: Medium-bodied, structured
Tannin: Savoury
Finish: Medium-long

Comment: Another good wine, IMHO will improve with age. The first of the American reds we tried on the day, still not from Texas though.
8 Name: Stone House Vineyard Special Reserve
Vintage: 2014
Region: Nappa Valley, California, United States of America
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: 14.1%
Colour: Vivid deep purple
Aroma: Reserved combination of black current, black pepper and spice aromas
Palate: Full-bodied, balanced
Tannin: Silky
Finish: Long

Comment: Very good, though way to young. IMHO with time this should continue to improve.

Thoughts

A drive to Stone House is worth the trip to try an interesting selection of wine although I would have like to have tried at least one of the wines made with their locally grown Norton grapes.

Next up, who knows, maybe dinner at Gaggan (again), dinner at Gaa, Singapore National Day or wine tasting at Driftwood Estate Winery.

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