4. Leaning Oaks vineyards wine conserves & sauces.
I was a bit skeptical when a batch of gourmet wine conserves and sauces from a vineyard in Texas arrived at my desk one day. I wouldn't bat an eyelash if it was from California, but Texas of all places? Sure enough, Leaning Oaks Vineyards is an estate vineyard located in the Texas Hill country where grapes are grown and then made into Cabernet, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sangiovese wine conserves and Cabernet and Chardonnay wine sauces. What differentiates these wine-based products is that you are the recipient of the full flavor and aroma of wine, minus the alcohol or sugar. How you ask? According to the company, grapes from the Hill Country vineyard, the Texas High Plains and California are fermented into wine and aged in oak. Grape concentrate from the same grape varietal is then added to keep the wine's unique aroma and flavor, minus the sugar. The end result is a light sweetness that comes only from sunlight and natural fruit. The conserves paired beautifully with a sampling of Brie and goat cheese, while the sauces made for effortless gourmet cooking applications. I was particularly fond of the Cabernet Sauvignon Sauce as a glaze for roast chicken or simply drizzled on crepes. Prepared in small batches, each jar is a limited release. For more on this Texas vineyard, visit www.leaningoaksvineyards.com.