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Texas Hill Country pours up some Kick Butt Cab

Kathy and Gary Gilstrap have become known for this Texas Hill Country wine with the double-take name.

Situated in Pedernales River Valley in the Texas Hill Country, Texas Hills Vineyard is near Johnson City, just west of Pedernales State Park.

The valley's rolling hills and soil are much like that of Tuscany, making the area a prime location for growing quality grapes.

When Kathy and Gary Gilstrap saw the valley, they knew it was the place for Texas Hills Vineyard. They planted Italian-inspired vines including pinot grigio, sangiovese, moscato, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot, and chenin blanc.

The Gilstraps have become known for their Texas Hill Country Kick Butt Cab ($17.50) produced from the Texas Hills Vineyard, as well as the version made from grapes in the historic Newsom Vineyard in the Texas High Plains ($25).

"Newsom Vineyard is the oldest commercial vineyard in Texas," Gary says. "Older, mature vines result in more complexity."

Either version of Kick Butt Cab succeeds. "People buy this wine because of the name, then they continue to buy it for the quality," Gary says. Cab, short for the grape cabernet sauvignon, is known for its bitter, tannic edge.

Not so with Kick Butt Cab. The tannins are balanced and soft. Blackberry predominates, followed by a touch of spice and nuance of American oak, which appears in the long finish.

What to serve with this red wine? Gary suggests, "This wine needs pork or chicken with a well-reduced sauce or maybe a simple cut of beef—or just serve it with another glass."



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