Wales Manor Picnic Meritage: A Drink for Tailgaters

Once the home of bedroom communities and sleepy suburbs, Collin County is finally starting to mature and develop its fine wining and dining scene. Nowhere is this more apparent than the county seat of McKinney, where any bright and cheery weekend has visitors hard pressed to find available parking around the historic courthouse square. Such noted establishments as Ricks Chophouse, Sauce on the Square, Café Malaga and Square Burger are among the restaurants bringing the throngs of people to this reborn burg, many for their first visit.

Tucked away on a quiet side street just off the square, Lone Star Wine Cellars is actually a first-of-its-kind cooperative tasting room established by the owners of two McKinney's wineries, Triple R Ranch and Wales Manor. The latter vineyard is located some five miles from the square, three acres of clay and limestone used exclusively for growing cabernet sauvignon grapes. Owner John Wales established Wales Manor in 1999 and sources grapes from all over Texas to create his (mostly) red line of wines. I attended a tasting at Lone Star and sampled several wines from both wineries.

Fall, of course, is football season, and grills all over the area are fired up each weekend to char steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers. I felt a bottle of Wales Manor Picnic Meritage might be just the ticket to accompany fresh grilled burgers.

In the glass, this blend of cab sauvignon, merlot and petit verdot is ruby with touches of rust. Black cherries and blackberries plus minerals are on the nose. Lots of berries, leather and smoke on the palate, finishing with a trace of bergamot. This tipple paired very nicely with smoky burgers, enhancing their beefy flavor. No need to wait until good spring weather for Wales Manor Picnic Meritage as you can enjoy it during the next Indian summer or even indoors.

Lone Star Wine Cellars 103 E. Virginia St., McKinney 972-547-9463

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