We are down to the final countdown to the Mandola Estate Winery Taste Texas tasting, and I've been working my way through profiles of the bloggers who will be participating in the event with me. Today I'm talking with a fellow Texas resident, Melanie Ofenloch from www.dallaswinechick.com.

I have been following Melanie's blog since day one, and have really enjoyed getting to know her on Twitter (@melanie0). Melanie really knows her wine, and has an obvious passion for it. Her writing is elegant and informative, and really makes you feel like you are a part of the events that she describes. Let's get to know the Dallas Wine Chick a little better -


Melanie Times TenVinotology: How would you describe your blog in a paragraph?

DallasWineChick: My blog is about sharing my experience with wine.  From talking about how my 4 year old continues to psych me out if she actually has an advanced palate (and no, she’s never tasted – she’s only smelled) to the wine that I’ve tasted (most recently a vertical Turley tasting) to experiences with friends, I want my readers to discover, share, and enjoy my journey and passion for the grape. 

Vinotology: How long have you been blogging?

DallasWineChick: I started my blog in February this year and have been amazed by the response.

Vinotology: What was the wine that changed your wine life?

DallasWineChick: I was on a business trip for a software company in San Francisco. The client asked two co-workers and me to come early over the weekend and then realized that they didn’t need us.  So we found ourselves with free time on a beautiful Sunday with a convertible — absolute luck at the rental counter— and three ladies who were looking for adventure.  We pointed the car toward Napa and set off on our journey complete with “Thelma and Louise” scarves around our hair, since that movie was recently in theaters, having no idea where we were going once we got there.

At this point, I knew that wine should have a cork, and I had a favorite mass-produced Italian wine that my husband and I would open on special occasions, or maybe with meals like dinner. We went to the usual suspects — wineries that were “on the beaten path.” The ones with the buses and the signage that made it easy for tourists to discover. I bought more wine than I ever had before — four bottles. I knew my finance-oriented husband was going to kill me when I returned home with this over abundance of wine.

Then somehow, by the grace of God, we stumbled on Stag’s Leap winery. I remember being aghast at Stag’s Leap usual tasting fee – they had the audacity to charge $9 for a 2-ounce pour of a certain wine. In typical human nature, and with a bit of a wine-induced bravado, I had to try it. With much skepticism, I paid my $9 and took my first sip of Cask 23.

The stars aligned. The angels sang. I had my “a ha” moment of what a wine could be with the right grapes, process, and winemaker. It was wonderful. And then I heard the price — $90 – I swallowed hard. Twice. You see, I was in my young 20s. We were living paycheck-to-paycheck as most college grads-newlyweds find is the reality when shouldering an apartment, two cars, and living expenses.

So I did the rational thing…OK, I didn’t. I held my breath and hoped the credit card would go through.

Vinotology: What is something that readers can get from your blog that they might not find elsewhere?

DallasWineChick: I hope that I demystify wine and make people confident in their wine choices.  After all, no matter what the critics say, a good wine is one that is good to you.

Vinotology: Tell me about the wine scene in your area.

DallasWineChick: I recently took a tour of Dallas wineries last year and was pleasantly surprised at the quality.  We’ve got some wine bars here (Veritas, Dali, Chateau Wine Market) that have worked hard to bring in boutique, small production wines.  And because we have so many great chefs, there’s a great wine/food matching mentality.

Vinotology: What has your impression of Texas wine been so far?

DallasWineChick: I was very doubtful until my Dallas wine tour last year.  It’s been about 10 plus years since I’ve tasted from Texas’ wine country and I’m hoping the quality has improved vastly.  I expect (and hope) that I’ll be pleasantly surprised at the evolution of Texas wine.