Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Road

Santamaria’s Muscat was excellent. This Table Red hints of smoked meat. Amazing.
When a dusty road
goes nowhere
it gives you
time to think

Today started slowly. We slept in before getting up to pack for the trip. We left about the time R got in for his visit with the kids.

We made it to Fredericksburg about 13. We ate lunch at Chili’s. I have been hesitant to eat at Chili’s before because looks too much like a TGI Friday’s. (I didn’t link to Friday’s web site because it tries to take over your computer with excessively hostile Flash code.) But I have to admit, it was one of the best burgers I have eaten in a very long time—smokey flavor and juicy without being messy or greasy.

We stayed at a fairly new Best Western, built with an interesting Texas-rustic style. They let us check in early. So we had plenty of time to wander around all of the interesting shops downtown. We managed to buy a few extra little Christmas presents without breaking the bank.

But the best thing was stopping in at a little wine shop, Texas Vineyards and Beyond. There we met Martin Santamaria, the vintner of Santa Maria Cellars. He asked us about our taste in wine and then poured samples of several bottles. We talked about how Suna, Martin, and most craftsmen are more comfortable making things than selling them. The we bought two bottles, which he signed with “Merry Christmas.’

Actually, the best part was after the shopping. Suna said she had never been to Kerrville before—except for the Folk Festival, which is held out of town. So we drove the 22 miles to look at the town. Kerrville has become a depressingly bland town as it has “modernized.”

This is roughly the route we drove today. Not the most direct, but we had not seen this territory in a while.
Map Source: Google Maps

We drove down 16 and then took the road to Ingram. Ingram has retained much of its character. It is still a unique little town with idiosyncratic shops and sights. The we went on out toward Hunt. Not far past the Dam Store is the corner where some old friends make a living with yard furniture. I was so glad to see that the business was still there, that I pulled in to show Suna some of the things on display. We circled through the drive. As I pulled back onto the road, I saw Jack making his way toward the display on bicycle, so I pulled into the drive of the Dove’s Nest. The house where Jack and Jennifer live was named after Jack’s mother.

Once they recognized me—the new truck threw them, not to mention the fact that we fell out of the blue completely unannounced—they invited us in. We had a very pleasant chat for about an hour. Then, not wanting to impose, Suna and I headed back to Fredricksburg for dinner and a quiet evening alone.

We drank the Muscat this evening with some severe snackage; we were still mostly full from the burgers. The Muscat was a light, sweet wine, as you would expect from these grapes. It is very fruity, and I would certainly like to buy a few more bottles, if not a case.We are saving the sweet Table Red for a meal closer to Christmas. It is a really interesting blend of flavors that hints of smoked beef. I was really impressed.

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