Friday, October 3, 2014

Visiting Tara in East Texas and Tasting Stagecoach Red

Tara Winery is part of the Piney Woods Wine Trail in northeast Texas.  I visited the winery a few years ago and really enjoyed the wines, but only recently drank the bottle I purchased when I was there.  As you may have guessed from the picture, Tara is named after and built to resemble Scarlett O'Hara's house from Gone with the Wind.





Tara grows the Lenoir grape (aka Black Spanish) onsite and buys other grape varieties from other places. This estate-grown Lenoir figures prominently in my favorite of their wines, Stagecoach Red.  It's made from 50% Lenoir, 30% Merlot, and 20% Syrah (from California). This bottle was not vintage dated, but I purchased it in 2012.
  • Color:  Medium ruby-garnet
  • Aroma:  Red and black fruits, toffee, sweet baking spice, cedar, plum, plus a hint of tobacco and vegetal aromas. 
  • Palate:  The flavors on the palate generally matched the aromas, with a hint of smokiness on the finish. Medium acid and strong tannin.  12.5% abv
  • Price:  $18 at the winery (in 2012)
I love this stuff.  My notes from tasting it at the winery were positive, but the wine improved as it aged. (I stored it in a wine fridge for most of the 2 1/2 years before I drank it.)  It might have improved for another year or so, perhaps, but I think I got lucky and ended up drinking this bottle at or near its peak.  It really did taste great.

  

I drank Stagecoach Red with what we happened to have for dinner that night:  spaghetti squash topped with a rich, meaty tomato sauce, which I made in the slow-cooker with herbs, capers, and chicken thighs.  It was a big wine for this food, but still paired reasonably well.  The earthy sweetness of the squash paired with the fruity/earthy/sweet-spice qualities in the wine, and the wine was acidic enough to stand up to the tomato sauce.  This pairing worked because of the rich sauce, but Stagecoach Red would really shine with grilled meat or a steak.

I believe Tara's wines are currently available only in east Texas and the DFW area, or directly from the winery when you order online or join the wine club.  I'm hoping they'll appear in the Houston area soon.

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