It seems you blink your eye and suddenly the landscape changes from Halloween to Christmas in the world of retail. But in the world of wine, there’s a whole Thanksgiving holiday in between that is a perfect time to celebrate family with great food wine. I’m usually not a holiday wine post kind of poster, but because I missed celebrating Texas wine month in October, I happily joined an opportunity to learn more about Wedding Oak Winery – a winery that celebrates crafting Rhone-style Texas wines.
Wedding Oak Winery is named after a majestic, 400-year-old oak tree, known as the Wedding Oak Tree, which has become a wedding venue and grows about 2.5 miles northwest from the winery. In Oct 2011, viticulturist Mike McHenry and friends began construction on Wedding Oak Winery with the passion to make great Texas wine. The McHenry’s were well-known because they planted their Cherokee Vineyard in 2000 just south of San Saba and provided grapes to well-known Texas wineries.
They opened a tasting room in a 1926 historic building with the goal of making 100 percent Texas-grown wines that celebrate the distinction of Texas terroir and thrive under those conditions.
Wedding Oak Winery has three locations in the Texas Hill Country appellation with the main winery in San Saba, and wine tasting rooms on the Burnet town square, and on highway 290 in Fredericksburg.
Four years ago, Seth Urbanek returned to Texas after working at Sheldrake Point Winery in the New York Finger Lakes, MollyDooker Winery in South Australia, and a harvest of champagne in France. He started as assistant winemaker and worked his way to winemaker at Wedding Oak bringing experience in making Old and New World wines.
Seth told us he got a call while working in Champagne and had never heard of the small town of San Sabo. He had to convince his wife to move from New York but got excited about the opportunity. He said, “In this region, there are so many tools in this toolkit in Texas. With the right grapes, we can certainly make world-class wines and I’m excited to be a part of this story.”
The Wine Line-up
Put yourself in a Thanksgiving mindset – we tried several wines that would match your feast.
2020 Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne
If you don’t know the varietal Roussanne, pay attention. It is produced in Southern France and the Southern Rhône Valley and is known for its structure. This is a 100 percent Roussanne grown at the renowned Phillips Vineyard in the Texas High Plains that is barrel-aged. I tasted tropical fruit, lemon, pineapple, caramel, and green tea. It would be surreal with rich stuffing, butternut squash anything and turkey.
2020 Wedding Oak Castanet Rosé
This rosé is made in the Provencal style and is a blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo from the Texas Hill Country. I tasted peach, cherry, citrus, and it had a crisp minerality. The great thing about a good rosé is that it can pair well with big flavors. I see it going well with the turkey, sweet potatoes, and even cranberry sauce.
2019 Wedding Oak Tioja
The name is a play on the Rioja region, but Texas style. It’s a blend of 81 percent Tempranillo, 7 percent Mazuelo (Carignan), 7 percent Garnacha (Grenache), 3 percent Graciano, and 2 percent Monastrell (Mourvèdre) grown in the Texas Hill Country. It is a fruit-forward and food friendly wine. I tasted raspberry, cassis, white pepper, earl gray tea with a nice spice. It’s very pairable with anything savory on your Thanksgiving table from turkey to gravy.
The celebration of a Thanksgiving meal is about appreciating your blessings with family and friends. Wedding Oak was founded to gauge an appreciation of Texas wine through the right blend of community, terroir and bringing food and family together with a small-town hospitality.