The Bluebonnet Wine Trail hosts a wine and chocolate trail every February at the seven member wineries. I had the pleasure of going this year and trying lots of delicious wines and chocolate desserts. Each winery put their own spin on the theme and came up with some delicious results. My friend Mary went with me, which was really great because she’s a wine fan with pretty different tastes from me. It was fun to hear her take on the wines and how she tasted things differently than I did. We challenged ourselves to do the entire trail in one day. It’s exhausting but it can be done if you stick to a schedule. Last year I did the wine and cheese trail with the boyfriend and we took two days for it, which gave us plenty of time to relax at each stop and see some things on the side. No matter how you do the trail, just make sure that you’re safe and have a designated driver.

Here are some of the highlights at each stop:

Our first stop was Texas Star Winery. It wasn’t on the trail when I did it last year, so I was pretty excited to see it. The first wine was the Sunset Red, which they described as a reverse chianti. I really enjoyed it- it was smooth and easy to drink but robust. The second wine was a mandarin orange that they paired with a chocolate mousse. There’s a touch of cocoa in the wine, which was drawn out some by the mousse. I cheated and had a little mousse with the Sunset Red as well, which paired really well together.

Our next stop was Saddlehorn Winery, where we had a nice sweet Riesling and the Barn Red, which is a blend of cabernet, Syrah, and zinfandel. The dessert was a s’mores pizza, which was really good with the Riesling. I thought the marshmallows made it a little too sweet with the Barn Red, but I had it with a piece of graham cracker and chocolate from the pizza and that was really good.

Next up was Pleasant Hill, where we had a sangiovese and a port paired with a brownie, strawberry, and blackberry. I’m not a huge fan of port, but discovered something exciting while we were there- port and strawberries pair really well together! I was able to really enjoy the port while eating the strawberry, which just goes to show you how much food and wine can affect each other!

Next was the longish drive to Messina Hof (and lunch on the road), where we had a moscato, their barrel reserve port, and chocolate fondue with lady fingers and pretzels. I was surprisingly pleased with the port. As I said before, I’m not a huge fan, but it didn’t have the raisiny flavor like many others I’ve had, so I actually liked it! Mary and I agreed it was one of the more drinkable ports we’ve had.

Next, we made the short drive to Peach Creek Vineyards. They served a zinfandel and a semi-dry zin with a chocolate bundt cake with cherries and cayenne. Since we had been eating chocolate all day, I loved that it wasn’t too sweet but still nice and chocolatey. I love chocolate, but a full day of it can apparently get a little tiring. The cayenne in the bundt cake was the perfect counter to the sweet chocolate.

Bernhardt winery came next and we had their Sarah, which is a meritage blend aged in American and French oaks. The second wine was their port reserve. They served these with a chocolate orange-infused brownie with a salted caramel topping. This dessert had a lot going on and truly was decadent.

Cork This! was our last stop. We had cabernet franc for our first wine, which I really liked, and then they offered a chocolate port for the second but gave us a choice of having a different wine. We were super grateful for the option because we were all chocolated out at that point. Mary had a zinfandel and I had a cabernet sauvignon that we both enjoyed. The dessert was a rich chocolate cobbler with vanilla ice cream that was nice and decadent.

If you couldn’t make the wine trail this year, I highly recommend it as a fun girls’ outing or a romantic weekend out next year. If you just can’t wait to try some great wines, the wine and cheese trail is in March and April, right at the height of bluebonnet season.

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