BELTON — Fresh spring air wafted into Nolan Creek Winery’s open doors as they hosted a wine tasting April 3, featuring Lucas & Lewellen Wines from Santa Barbara, Calif. Tickets to the event included four pours of wine paired with hors d’oeuvres.
Few seats were left vacant as the 35 attendees sampled white and red wines, each partnered with a culinary treat created by Vira Chudasma, co-owner of Nolan Creek Winery.
“We love events like these,” said Kaia Biller, who grew up in California and attended college near Solvang, Calif. “We have been to the Lucas & Lewellen tasting room in Solvang, and lived pretty close to this winery.”
Her husband, Achim Biller, is stationed at Fort Hood, and also grew up in the “Golden State.”
Both were so excited to hear about the event that they insisted Biller’s mother and sister, Sarah Carroll and Belynda Talbert, accompany them.
“It brings people together, and you learn about wine, food, people, where you live, and it’s great,” Talbert said. “It’s exciting to be in Texas, because Texas is where California was in the early ’70s. Texas is learning its wine personality.”
Lary Petterson of Lucas & Lewellen gave a brief history of the Santa Barbara vineyard and how their wines are produced. As people settled in, Petterson checked in at guest tables to see how folks liked the offerings.
The event started off with a 2012 L&L Viognier that complemented the grapes, apples and brown sugar-crusted walnuts of a Waldorf salad.
“The Viognier was from a superior year,” Petterson said, who claimed the winery thinks of their vintages as something akin to beautiful, classy ladies.
A glass of 2011 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir accompanied an antipasto plate with herbed tomato bruschetta, crostini, balsamic drizzled mozzarella cheese, basil and tomato slices, and prosciutto-wrapped mango.
Following this was the more substantial Goodchild High 9 Vineyard Pinot Noir, matched with savory meatballs and sauce.
Pinot noir is Lucas & Lewellen’s biggest seller, and theirs were some of the wines highlighted in the movie “Sideways” Petterson said.
“It’s important in wine to really tell the story,” he said.
The evening concluded with a crowd pleaser, the 2008 Cabernet Franc from Lucas & Lewellen’s Valley View Vineyard.
“This is something we didn’t ever think would come to Belton, which makes it even more fun,” said Narda de la Cruz of Moffet. “The owners are awesome. You can come in and feel welcome without having to put on airs. You can sit down, just talk to people, and be yourself.”
Sue and Ken Henson of Belton lived abroad in Germany for years, and they particularly enjoyed the Viognier.
“We cut our teeth on wines from the Rhine river, and for us, that just brought us right back,” Henson said.
Chudasma said the event was a success and she delighted in seeing people learn about wines.
“You’re taking your time and enjoying wines,” she said. “You’re not drinking them and saying, ‘Hey, I’m done. What’s next?’”