By Kristine Favreau
Killeen Daily Herald
LAMPASAS – Deep in the Lampasas valley, a little taste of the Mardi Gras season turned a quiet vineyard into a rockin' festival of food, music and award-winning wine, complete with king cake, Zydeco music and revelers embracing the spirit of "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" – Let the good times roll.
Pillar Bluff Vineyards owner Gil Bledsoe was host to dozens of guests Saturday night for a Mardi Gras feast at the winery. Not only were enthusiasts treated to a smorgasbord of wines, but the evening also included a full Louisiana-style crawfish boil.
"This is awesome, the wine, the food, the music, everything is just so great," said Lampasas resident and first-time visitor to the winery, Kimberly Taylor. "Now I want to come to every event out here."
To keep with the atmosphere of Mardi Gras, Austin-based Zydeco performers The Dr. Zog Band played a lively mix of music as partygoers took advantage of the open pavilion to dance and celebrate.
"I can't believe I'm in the middle of Lampasas right now," said Burnet resident Jenna Thompson. "The weather tonight is perfect, everyone is just so friendly and I'm having a blast. I even have the beads to complete the night."
Owners Gil and Peggy Bledsoe established the winery in Lampasas in 2002 after spending several years in Stonewall at Rose Hill Manor. The wines offered at Pillar Bluff are all Texas grown, and processed at the winery. The vineyard has won state recognition for its estate bottled chardonnay, along with a silver medal for its "Boar Doe" at the 2005 Houston Open wine competition.
The winery has recently added several other awards as well including a silver medal for the 2006 chardonnay and a bronze for both the "Boar Doe" and cabernet sauvignon reserve during the 2007 Wines of the South competition which was held in October.
"We're waiting to hear the results for another competition as well," Bledsoe said during the festival. "We're also preparing to bottle the futures that were sold during the Way Out Wineries Barrel Tasting, Futures Sale and Texas Shrimp Treat held in July of 2006." The bottling is scheduled for April.
Until then, wine-lovers will have another opportunity to participate in an event hosted by Pillar Bluff as the winery prepares to host a black-tie Valentine's dinner replete with romance, food, music and of course, wine.
The dinner will be held inside the winery in the barrel room and those looking for the utmost in decadence are encouraged to call for reservations immediately as the winery is only accepting 24 guests for the event. Tickets are $75 per person and the dinner is scheduled for Feb. 9.
"We're offering a full five course dinner with champagne and wine, as well as having an Irish harpist performing," Bledsoe said. "It's something that won't be found anywhere else. It promises to be a very romantic evening with a great meal and fine wines."
Pillar Bluff's tasting room is open Friday through Sunday, or parties may call to arrange a private tour or tasting.
Contact Kristine Favreau at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (254) 547-3535