With its stylized and colorful skyline of skyscrapers and the beautiful Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge designed by the celebrated Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the city looms full of a confidence garnered from its history and promising future. Although at first sight its vastness may surprise visitors, the truth is that Big D’s treasures are hiding in plain sight...we just have to know where to look.
The wine route is the perfect excuse to go treasure hunting and, at every stop, be surrounded by good wines, passionate winemakers, and an endless number of culinary delights, art and culture. The only 100% Dallas-made Chardonnay was created by the first vineyard on our route: Inwood Estate Vineyards, located in the most unexpected place. Off Interstate 35 behind the Hilton Anatole Hotel is an area of industrial buildings that look abandoned. There lies one of the best secrets in Dallas. The 10-foot-long façade leaves something to be desired. But the vine of Cabernet Sauvignon adorning the entrance gives one a tantalizing clue. Once inside things change...and how!
Dan Gatlin, founder of Inwood Estate, was one of the first to produce wine in the area and spent 30 years perfecting his art. His vineyard now stands as the most specialized in Tempranillos and Palominos. Dan — or Marc Moberg, the white wine maker—is always close to the tasting bar counter. Chatting with them while sipping their exquisitely crafted wines will make your visit a memorable event. They’ll tell the story of Magellan and La Magdalena and you’ll enjoy two of their finest reds and their stories.
Right in the center of town, as we stop off at the next vineyard, is the cultural district. The street is full of architectural gems and art collections: the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Meyerson Symphony Center and the Winspear Opera House that adorns the neighborhood with its carmine dome. Wrapping up the itinerary we have the AT&T Performing Arts Center and the recently opened City Theatre.
In this area also sits the traditional Fairmont Hotel and its fine restaurant The Pyramid whose sommelier, Hunter Hammett, has been with other Dallas culinary gems as The Mansion at Turtle Creek and Fearing's (one of the best restaurants in the world) at the Ritz-Carlton. If you wish to have a unique tasting accompanied by a food pairing of epic proportions, here are several options.
At the Downtown you will find the place where, in 1841, the lawyer John Neely Bryan founded the city of Dallas, and where you can feast your eyes on the "Old Red" as the Dallas County Courthouse is lovingly called. Today it’s impressive red building is a museum. Dealey Plaza where the Sixth Floor Museum is located, honoring the legacy of John F. Kennedy is a must-see on any trip to Dallas. If you continue down Commerce Street where it crosses the plaza you’ll end up in a neighborhood known as Deep Ellum where another treasure can be found; the Calais Winery. French winemaker Benjamin Calais speaks with infectious passion about the potential of their wines and the effort put forward into each of their crops while a Merlot or a Tempranillo flirts with the visitor’s senses.