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As grape harvest season comes to a close, there is no better way to celebrate than at Messina Hof Winery.  I was thrilled to be able to visit this Texas winery to help raise a toast to the end of their annual Harvest Festival with a special media bash. This elegant evening kicked off with a glass of the very new Sparkling Spumante. This was an exclusive taste of the wine, as we were the only group, apart from the staff, to try it before its release the next day! The new Spumante is made with Muscat Canelli in the méthode champenoise, which is the method in which all French champagnes are made. It was light and sweet with aromas of almonds and baked biscuits. It’s the perfect wine for brunch, dessert or just porch sipping.

We were then taken outside for a short tour where Paul Bonarrigo explained their harvesting process and show us the winery’s new Italian grape press and soybean-insulated stainless steel tanks. Also, according to Paul, 2016 was a record harvest year, which is great news for us wine-lovers! Back inside, we got to taste two wines in the middle of processing, a Merlot and a Muscat Canelli. I was a bit hesitant, as they both looked like dirty lake water, but was surprised at how sweet and tasty both wines were.

Finally, we were released to eat, drink and be merry with some small bites and a selection of seven Messina Hof wines. My personal favorites were the Sophia Marie, a semi-dry rose named after the first Bonarrigo grandchild, the GSM, a full-bodied, fruity blend made with grapes from Grenache, Syrah & Mourvedre, and the Paulo Port. The Bonarrigo family has a long-standing tradition of naming the first-born son of each generation Paul, which is honored by the handcrafted “Paulo” wines made from a personal selection of grapes into the most distinctive and premium wine.

The food was not to be overshadowed, though, with offerings such as mini beef wellingtons and chocolate and bacon brownies. For me, the star of the food display was the baked brie with their very own Messina Hof Gewürztraminer Raspberry Chipotle sauce.  By the end of the evening, I became an enthusiastic advocate for Texas-made wine with Texas-grown grapes and no one does it better than Messina Hof Winery.

Talia Delos Santos

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