Tara Winery (Athens, Texas)

18 Dec

Visiting a newly opened winery is like a crapshoot.  It could be an awesome discovery or a painful experience, and the odds favor the latter.  Tara Winery in Athens is a lucky roll.  Despite being open for less than half a year, winemaker Patrick Pierce is already producing wines that will get him noticed on the Texas wine scene. 

tara.jpg

Patrick, another graduate of the Grayson County College Viticulture and Enology program, makes his wines in a Spanish style and focuses on affordability (all wines are between $10 and $20).  Wines are aged in American oak barrels except the Chardonnay, which is aged in French oak.  The winemaker operates under the philosophy that when you taste a wine, you should be able to taste the subtleties and nuances of the parent grape(s).  Hence, the Tara Chardonnay is more like a fruity New Zealand Chardonnay than a buttery California Chardonnay.  It’s lightly oaked for a crisp, clean finish, and is one of my favorite Texas Chardonnays thus far.   

Like other winemakers in Texas who embrace the frontier attitude, Patrick wants to develop the grapes native to Texas (which are resistant to Pierce’s Disease).  He has two versions of the Blanc du Bois, dry and semi-sweet, both of which can hang with the best Blanc du Bois in Texas, the competition favorite from Haak Winery.  The winemakers from the two wineries are good friends, so perhaps this is no coincidence.  Patrick also makes a medium bodied Cynthiana with grapes native to East Texas.

Patrick confesses that he himself prefers the big, bold reds.  Thus, the Tara wine he is most proud of is his Syrah.  As much as I enjoyed the well rounded Tara Syrah, my favorite red during this tasting was actually the American Zinfandel with its slightly spicy flavor. 

Currently, Tara wines are only available for purchase at the winery.  With so many promising products at such a young age, Tara Winery is definitely one to watch.  Soon enough, this winery will start garnering those coveted medals at wine competitions and making a well-deserved name for itself. 

Tara Vineyard & Winery
8603 CR 3914
Athens, TX 75752

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16 Responses to “Tara Winery (Athens, Texas)”

  1. foodczar 12/18/2007 at 11:24 am #

    When my lovely wife the Rock Star and I were young(er)and (more)foolish, we used to love over-oaked chards, but we must confess we prefer the lightly or non-oaked versions these days. Question: Did you find Tara’s Syrah to be more French (subtle spice) or Australian (more forward spice) in nature?

  2. donnaaries 12/18/2007 at 1:28 pm #

    I would say that the Tara Syrah is more like the French Syrahs from the Rhone region of France. I typically prefer the fruitier, riper Shiraz (Australian) which is part of the reason why in the case of Tara, I thought the Zin was the red that stood out.

  3. Galen Samford 12/30/2007 at 6:16 pm #

    I live in Midlothian Texas and would like directions to the winery.

  4. Mike 12/30/2007 at 10:05 pm #

    From Yahoo maps:

    http://maps.yahoo.com/#mvt=m&lat=32.469305&lon=-96.452225&mag=8&q1=Midlothian%2C%20Tx&q2=8603%20CR%203914%20Athens%2C%20TX%2075752

    It looks like you’re in a pickle because there is no direct way to get there from Midlothian. But, if you are heading south on Texas 175, you will pass up County Road 2329, and it will be the second left after that (County Road – 3918). You have to keep your eyes open, there is a small sign indicating that it is approaching on your left.

    Once you are on County Road 3918, take the first left (County Road 3914). The winery will be about a mile on the left (there is a sign).

    When you turn in the driveway, the driveway will split. One driveway will go to the right to the house, and the other to the left. Take the left driveway, it will lead you to the tasting room.

    Hope that helps!

  5. Will Yoder 05/03/2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Love the place. Where I’ll be working this summer. It really is beautiful out there, I advise a visit if you live anywhere around Athens, Texas.

  6. donnaaries 07/13/2008 at 6:17 pm #

    Went back to Tara today for a second visit. The place was busy as they were picking the Blanc du Bois grapes on property. Found a new favorite summer white wine, Tara’s Angel’s Kiss, a 25% Chardonnay/75% Blanc du Bois blend. A hint of sweet from the Blanc du Bois rounded out by the clean finish of the Chardonnay.

  7. D'Ann Jordan 10/23/2008 at 11:18 am #

    I would like to come to the Blues and Jazz event…I cannot locate a phone or contact number to find out the calendar.

    D’Ann Jordan

  8. Jack & Jill Walker 11/07/2008 at 8:32 am #

    We visited Tara Wineries last Sunday and it was exquisite. The people laid back but professional, the ambionce wonderful, the scenery awesome……and we own an east tx. ranch……..the wine was fantastic, we took home several bottles…..we are planning to go back tommorrow………
    Jack & jill walker

  9. TARA 04/24/2009 at 8:08 am #

    There is a party saturday night with gengerlea and i think that we have a really good sweet wine

  10. mary windlow 05/07/2009 at 12:23 pm #

    We will be in Athens the weekend of May 22-24. Do you have music that weekend? Also, do you serve dinner?

  11. Sharla 07/20/2009 at 10:17 pm #

    this place is way out in the boons! The road is awful (don’t bring your vettes). The music they play is way too loud. And the owners are obnoxious. And the surrounding neighbors are clannish and scary. You don’t want to have a break down or flat out there! When I visited, when the music wasn’t blaring, I heard a lot of gunfire. And I had to leave early to treat my massive headache!

  12. D. D. Currie 08/29/2009 at 2:52 pm #

    Welcome to Texas…..now go home!

  13. Lori Smith 06/04/2010 at 12:04 pm #

    lol we attended a wedding @ the winery this past weekend. i’m from dallas but have lived in this area for many years. we had a wonderful time & fell in love not only with the house but the whole winery. the owners of the winery could not have been more gracious as well as everyone else that was working. the roads in east texas are not like dallas but are certainly passable. if u drive ur Vette just slow down. lol will certainly be coming back for a nice relaxing evening of wine & music. us texans like our music loud. lol 2 funny!

  14. Sandra Shehee 07/11/2010 at 4:51 pm #

    I absolutely loved the hospitality shown by the owners. They have such a lovely place and your new addition Texas Twang rocks. I love it.

  15. Gary Roundtree 08/01/2010 at 1:28 pm #

    Living in Athens, and have being raised around Eustace I dont Know how many times Ive looked at the Tara winery sign on 175 and said to myself “Id like to stop in and check this place out”.Id hunted arrowheads as a kid down in the sand flats, Now seem there is A good reason to come visit Ya’ll,I didnt realize the folks there were so friendly, and theres music too?

  16. Dale Johnson 10/30/2011 at 2:00 pm #

    I only got to spend a couple of hours at the winery on a recent evening, but it was perfect, the wines, the architecture, the people working there, the terrain. It’s as close to Toscany as I have seen in Texas.

    I plan to go back soon, as it’s not that far from Dallas on 175.

    Dale P. Johnson

    Dale.Johnson@Regions.com
    214-360-1877

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