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Landon Winery Chocolate Finale: Dessert in a Glass

For a long time, wine-making in North Texas was pretty much limited to the city of Grapevine. In recent years, that has slowly but surely changed, and now more purveyors can be found on the eastern side of the metroplex, with Fuqua, Times Ten Cellars, Calais and Inwood Estates setting up shop in Dallas. This growth has not limited itself to Big D proper, however, but rather sprawled outwards to suburbia and beyond. Cross Roads Winery, Collin Oaks, Khatter Vineyards, and many others have recently began to make their own mark in the winey world, and numerous small towns such as Springtown, Sulphur Springs and Meridian now boast their own wineries.

Bob Landon started his namesake winery in Texas in 2004, having spent the previous 15 years working in the basement of his Kansas City home perfecting his craft. Landon Winery now boasts two facilities in the historic downtowns of Greenville and McKinney. When constructing the McKinney branch in 2005, he discovered an old water well that dates back to 1850. Since it was still full of water, he decided to preserve it and built the facilities barrel room around it.

While some tipple tasting rooms are tiny, Landon's in McKinney is quite spacious, with a dozen or so tables scattered about, plus an extensive patio. In short, it's an excellent site for special events such as parties or wedding receptions, and indeed the latter was in progress on the patio when we arrived. Yet, so large is Landon that there was plenty of room for us, and the place was doing a brisk business.

Tastings here are quite affordable, $5 to sample five wines, and unlike most places, Landon does not limit your options to the cheapest varietals. Several expensive offerings, such as the Amarone and the Grande Rosso are available to sample as well.

Virtually everything I tried was excellent, but for me, Landon saved the best for last with the Chocolate Finale dessert wine. With lots of rich cocoa and mocha on the nose, and chocolate overload on the palate without being overly sweet for a dessert wine, Chocolate Finale tasted like a hot fudge sundae, with plenty of vanilla on the finish. And just like a good sundae, Chocolate Finale is best enjoyed topped off with nuts, or perhaps a good Stilton cheese. One more bonus: When you visit, you will note Landon Wineries convenient location near some outstanding restaurants, including Rick's Chophouse, Café Malaga and Sauce on the Square. They also have live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, and keep late hours, so you can easily drop by for a glass of dessert.

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