Modern Farm House In the Country

I don't care what anyone tells you, building a home is no easy task. But if you have the right team to back you up and help interpret your vision, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences. 

Architect Darwin Harrison described this project as "A Study In White." For our first foray into homebuilding, we wanted a farm house style that was modern, but not so much that it didn't fit within the Texas Hill Country setting. Harrison brought our dream to life through his intuitive skill and design talent. Longtime family friend, Jim Cummings executed Harrison's vision as our builder. Today, we're grateful to call this little slice of heaven on eight acres in Dripping Springs, our home. 

We took our time designing the project—about a year before we ever broke ground. We wanted to embrace as much natural light as possible to bring the outdoors in from any room of the house. As a cookbook author and wine writer, I needed an expansive kitchen with multiple islands for prep work as well as a separate large island for eating and entertaining. A large walk-in pantry with a devoted wine storage area completes the dream kitchen for this accomplished cook. The master suite includes separate bedroom, bathroom, and home office and is joined by the guest room area at one end of the layout while the laundry room and bedrooms for our two young children are at the opposite end. A detached garage with playroom and home office for the husband creates a wrap-around design at the back yard pool area. 

As described by Harrison: "The main room exemplifies the desire for a bright, white palette to enhance the abundant natural light with occasional compliments of unique natural materials such as the polished concrete floors and Shou Sugi Ban (Japanese burned wood) accents.  Bedrooms are enhanced with corner extensions to provide play areas or sitting areas to capture views to the landscape beyond and make each room feel adaptable to varied uses over time. The main room is an expansive volume capable of being a cozy intimate environment for the family as well as a grand space for large dinner parties or family gatherings.  The exterior continues the elegant, simple palette of white and grey complimented with limestone accents." 

Architect: Darwin Harrison

Builder: Jim Cummings
 

Notable Vendors: Delta Millworks - Shou Sugi Ban, Hemlock & Heather - Custom artwork, Brian Chilton Design - Custom Mantle, Steve Walters - Custom steel island with bourbon barrels from Treaty Oak Distillery, Vintage View - Wine Closet, The Shade Store - Window Treatment, Lights Fantastic - Lighting and Fan Fixtures, Jill Klores, Essential Light - Lighting Design, Gary White - Cabinetry, Mueller High Life - Pool Shades, Justin McGuire, California Pools - Pool,  Katie Lyke - Photography  

 

Pinot In the City - Day 11: Stoller Vineyards 2011 Nancy's Pinot Noir

Today is Day 11 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out 

WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 11: Stoller Vineyards 2011 Nancy's Pinot Noir, $70

One of my favorite stops in Dundee Hills, Stoller Vineyards is as idyllic as it is pristine and thoughtfully designed. In the glass, blackberry and black cherry with warm baking spices and a flourish of red floral notes lead the senses to a luscious palate with a touch of savory herbs and pronounced-yet-well-integrated tannins. A special wine for a special occasion.

 

Pinot In the City - Day 10: Lemelson Vineyards 2011 Jerome Reserve Pinot Noir

Today is Day 10 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 10: Lemelson Vineyards 2011 Jerome Reserve Pinot Noir, $50

A little gem I found a couple of years ago on a trip to Willamette Valley. I liked it so much in the tasting room, I brought a few of them back home to lay down for a while. As it turns out, time has made this wine even better. A single vineyard section from this impeccably pristine producer, this Pinot Noir is rich with fresh summer cherry and Chinese five spice but lead by velvety earthy tones and a dusting of ground thyme and dried mushroom. The finish is bewitching and long-lived and beckons another taste. I look forward to opening my next bottle in another couple of years.

Pinot In the City - Day 9: Domaine Roy & Fils 2014 Maison Roy & Fils Incline Pinot Noir

Today is Day 9 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

 

Day 9: Domaine Roy & Fils 2014 Maison Roy & Fils Incline Pinot Noir, $58

From the second generation of the Beaux Freres founding partners, this wine is opulent and elegant and made with a great deal of finesse. With notes of rich black cherry, violets, chocolate and a touch of tar, this is a complex Pinot Noir. On the palate, fresh fruit transitions to include died and stewed characteristics with earthy undertones and the addition of dried savory herbs. Tannins are grippy and well integrated and fading to a finish with tart dried plum and cocoa. Delicious. 

Of Note: 

Producer: Domaine Roy & Fils http://www.domaineroy.com 

Alcohol by volume: 14.5%

Vineyard Source AVA: Yamhill Carlton and Dundee Hills 

 

Pinot In the City - Day 8: Pike Road 2014 Pinot Noir

Today is Day 8 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 8: Pike Road 2014 Pinot Noir, $19

Ruby red in the glass with notes of bright cherry and cranberry, cocoa and cola, and a touch of earthy mushroom and dried sage, this friendly wine is a perfect companion for grilled salmon or Neapolitan-style pizza. This kid sister to Elk Cove Vineyards offers a budget-friendly option for those looking for elegance and value in one bottle. 

Of Note: 

Producer: Pike Road Winery http://pikeroadwines.com 

Aged 10 months in French Oak

Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%

 

Pinot In the City - Day 7: Willamette Valley Vineyards 2014 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir

Today is Day 7 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 7: Willamette Valley Winery 2014 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, $22

Opulent and elegant, this wine is an instant crowd-pleaser. The fruit is rich and concentrated n both the nose and the palate with macerated blackberry, cassis, blueberry, cherry and strawberry leading the senses balanced with warm baking spices, smoky charcuterie and a subtle earthiness. This luscious expression of Pinot Noir gains its rich structure from whole cluster fermentation, a stylistic choice during the winemaking process that affords this wine a fresh and velvety body. 

Of Note: 

Producer: Willamette Valley Vineyards

Alcohol By Volume: 13.7%

New 2015 currently available

Pinot In the City - Day 6: Chehalem 2013 Three Vineyard Pinot Noir

It's Day 6 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 6: Chehalem Winery 2013 Three Vineyard Pinot Noir, $32

A happy blend from three unique vineyards, this wine adds elegance and finesse to the everyday Pinot Noir. Cranberry, cinnamon, rosemary, and smoke. I imagine this may be a little bit how heaven smells at the first breathe of autumn. The palate is like the warm hug of an old friend, with a touch of tart red fruit, savory herbs and sautéed mushrooms that finishes with soft tannin and a thirst for more. For $32, I’d welcome a glass of this everyday, indeed. 

Of Note: 

Producer: 

Aged 11 months in barrel, 10% new and 12% 1-year-old French oak barrels

Alcohol by volume: 12.9% 

Total Production: 7,588 cases

Pinot In the City - Day 5: Rex Hill 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

I'm on Day 5 of a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 5: Rex Hill Winery 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, $35

Like a king on a hilltop, this wine is royal with a sweeping view of the rich terroir this region has to offer. Aromas of red cherry and warm, dusty earth, crushed violets, dried sage, and cinnamon all greet the sense after a few swirls in the glass. There’s a lot going on here. But that’s not all. Deep, brooding concentrated fruit is offset by earth and dried mushroom on the palate. Grippy tannins usher through a slow, lingering finish. 

Of Note: 

Producer: http://www.rexhill.com

Appellation: Willamette Valley

Aged for 11 months in 26% new French Oak

Production: 7,110 cases

Pinot In the City - Day 4: Vista Hills 2014 Treehouse Pinot Noir

In case you missed it, this is a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 4: Vista Hills 2014 Treehouse Pinot Noir, $28

This estate Pinot Noir for Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery of the Dundee Hills AVA is a beautiful flagship wine revealing aromas of concentrated cassis and cherry cordial with notes of milk chocolate, red flowers, and anise. A deep, brooding expression of Pinot Noir, this wine bas a well-integrated mouthfeel that is both complex and approachable.

Of Note: 

Producer: http://vistahillsvineyard.com

Production: 273 cases

Alcohol: 13.8%

Barrel Regimen: 17 months in French oak, medium plus toast

 

Pinot In the City - Day 3: Domaine Serene 2013 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir

In case you missed it, this is a 12-day look at Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley leading up to a special Dallas and Austin event hosted by Willamette Valley Wines called Pinot In the City. Each day, I’ll offer a few notes on a Pinot Noir from a different producer—all of whom will be in attendance to share their wines at Pinot In the City. 

The event, Pinot in the City in Dallas (Jan 24) and Austin (Jan. 26), will offer a special preview tasting of Willamette Valley wines that is open to the public with a VIP tasting at 5pm and a General Admission tasting at 6pm in each city on the respective dates. Check out WillametteWines.com (http://willamettewines.com/event/pinot-in-the-city/) for more information.

Day 3: Domaine Serene 2013 Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, $70

Well the hits just keep on coming… This elegant beauty serves as the flagship wine for Domaine Serene, and if it's meant to represent the level of quality coming from this producer, the bar is set pretty high. Complexity with restraint best describes this wine. Aromas of black cherry and cranberry mingle with dried mushroom and savory herbs leading to a concentration of fruit on the palate that is tart and alluring with notes of white pepper and black tea on the finish. A beautiful wine. 

Of Note: 

Producer: https://www.domaineserene.com 

Appellation: Willamette Valley

Aged for 17 months in 57% new French Oak

Alcohol by Volume: 13.4%