Libations by the Lake
Cafe Bleu8714 Lime Creek Rd., 401-6660
Here's a real winner. The best food that you can access by boat and the most reasonably priced wine list in Central Texas. One of the owners is a Frenchman who has declared "no American wines on the list." Clearer heads prevailed, and there are a few, well-chosen domestics. But what a nice choice of wines. Not a huge list, but virtually every bottle is a winner. Ask for a recommendation from Mike Whiteley, then sit back and be amazed.
Good choices: Torre di Luna Pinot Grigio ($14), Oppidium Viognier ($14), Dme. La Fond Tavel Rose ($24), Pommery Champagne ($40)
Hansen's Wine and Spirits2300 Lohman's Crossing, 263-7130
Owner Glen Hansen has been a fixture in the Austin wine scene since 1973. Starting as a waiter and "wine guy" around town, he ended up managing Jeffrey's. Since opening his store eight years ago, Glen has established a reputation among wine cognoscenti for his unerring selection. Don't expect to find your standard wines at Hansen's. Everything is hand-selected, with name recognition acquiescing to value and great taste.
Good choices: Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc ($11.99), Alpha Domus Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99), Rivola Tempranillo/Cabernet ($10.99), Groth Sauvignon Blanc ($16.99)
HEB Bee Cave12400 Hwy. 71 W., 263-0528
HEB Four Points7301 N. RR 620, 891-8900
Will Fisher is the wine manager at the Bee Cave edition of HEB, and Phil Legge manages the Four Points HEB. Both are knowledgeable, helpful, and always on the lookout for bargains. Both have larger stocks than your normal HEB, and both can be trusted to give you a good recommendation. Will, especially, has turned me on to some winners.
Good choices: Mount Vernon Sauvignon Blanc ($10.89), Domaine des Cassagnoles Blanc ($7.69), J. Vidal-Fleurie Cotes du Rhone ($10.99), Zaca Mesa Z-Gris ($9.99)
Hill Country Pasta House3519 N. RR 620, 266-9445
The secret here is to go on Tuesday nights when all wines are 33% off. The other days of the week, the prices are still very fair, and the selection will surprise you. 51 wines, with 34 available by the glass. And some of the best bread around!
Good choices: Robert Peccota Sauvignon Blanc ($22, $14.75 on Tuesdays), Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio ($22, $14.75 on Tuesdays), Jindalee Shiraz ($17, $11.39 on Tuesdays)
Hudson's on the Bend3509 N. RR 620, 266-1369
A perennial favorite, always crowded. If you have $1,000 or so burning a hole in your pocket and you just gotta spend it on wine, Hudson's is your only choice by the lake. Bargains are few and far between, but then Hudson's is a destination restaurant for folks with dough. The wine list itself is well-chosen, interesting, and filled with obscurities to round out the usual suspects.
Good choices: Domaine Solitude Cotes du Rhone ($29), St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel ($44), Alamosa Cellars Viognier ($36), Trimbach Gewurztraminer ($37)
LemonGrass Asian Bistro1310 S. RR 620, 7-A, 263-2221
Chef Ped operates one of the best Oriental restaurants in the city. Luckily, he also likes wine. LemonGrass features 37 wines, with most available by the glass. The food here can be pretty spicy, so the wines that will best match are listed under Light, Crisp & Dry Whites.
Good choices: Pierre Spar Pinot Blanc ($20), Dr. M. Prum Riesling ($28), Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc ($31)
The Travis Restaurant at Lakeway Inn101 Lakeway Drive, 261-6600
The Travis Restaurant has always hoped to garner a larger local following, but the clientele usually seems to be folks staying at the lodge. It's a shame, because the location is beautiful, the room is pretty, and the food is good. They even have the uniquely good taste to show off some of our better local wines.
Good choices: Spicewood Vineyards Merlot ($25), King Estate Pinot Gris ($25), Fess Parker Chardonnay ($30)
The Vineyard900 S. RR 620, A-106, 402-9855
The new kid on the block, the Vineyard hopes to attract the fine dining crowd. A brilliantly chosen wine list helps. A nice touch -- they have a good selection of half bottles. With almost 150 wines on the list, there's something here for everyone.
Good choices: Pierre Spar Riesling ($21), Becker Fume Blanc ($25), Ch. Ste. Michel Sauvignon Blanc ($28).
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