With the increasing fame of the Texas Hill County, it's easy to overlook some of the other Texas wine regions. But the Piney Woods Trail (east of Dallas) has a few hidden gems, including Enoch's Stomp Vineyard and Winery. I visited in 2012 and enjoyed the wines, but only brought home one bottle. (As I recall, it was one of the last stops on the trip, and by that time I was thinking I'd never be able to drink all the wines I had already bought.)
This week I finally opened that lone bottle from Enoch's Stomp: Ellen's Sweet Song, a red Port-style dessert wine. Many Texas wineries make a Port-style wine, but this may be one of the best. Many of the Texas Port-style wines are not fortified, meaning that unlike true Port, brandy is not added to the wine. They achieve a higher alcohol content (usually 18 - 20%) through fermentation alone, which makes them very smooth and perfect for those who like the taste of Port but find it a bit harsh.
Ellen's Sweet Song is made from Lenoir, which grows well in east Texas. Lenoir is an up-and-coming variety to watch. Many Texas winemakers are growing and experimenting with it. I've tasted great and not-so-great examples, but I predict a big future for the grape.
2010 Ellen's Sweet Song
Appearance: Opaque, deep brick red. The brownish tinge is a result of age, since it's 5 years old now.
Nose: Very aromatic. Notes of blackberry preserves, raisin, dried plum, vanilla, and almond (almost like in Amaretto).
Palate: Fully sweet (14% residual sugar), high acid, medium tannin, full body. 17.3% abv.
I don't believe you can purchase any of Enoch's wines in the Houston area yet, but since the Piney Woods is an easy weekend getaway from Houston, I hope you'll visit them sometime! They have a restaurant along with beautiful, relaxing views, as you can see.
P.S. Yes, that is a Messina Hof tasting glass in the picture! I often use mine for tasting at home, since they're the right size and shape.
You may also be interested in:
Texas Wine Cheat Sheet
Visiting Tara in East Texas and Tasting Stagecoach Red
Lenoir and the Georgetown Winery
Visiting Los Pinos in the Piney Woods
Returning to Messina Hof for my 1st harvest and grape stomp!