My first taste of Barking Rocks winery this evening was about as Texan as you can get. The television alarm was blearing Severe Thunderstorm Warning, and the rain and winds were blowing in along with the breathtaking crackles of cloud to ground lightening. Then came the marble sized springtime hailstones, oh so pretty, but oh so damaging to our gorgeous grape vines in the Lone Star State.
For those of us familiar with the Tannat varietal, our minds immediately race to the foothills of the Pyrenees (Mountains in southwest France) and our gums naturally retract to the back of our head in preparation of the tannic bombardment to ensue. Well, fast forward to modern times and travel across the pond to the state of Texas. Here, a few dedicated winemakers have embarked on a mission to tame the noble armor skinned grape and construct palate friendly, inviting Texas Tannat wine. This evening I had the pleasure of savoring such a jewel.
As I pulled the cork, I immediately detected the aroma of a cedar chest. After some vigorous swirling, I placed my sniffer into the glass and my suspicion was confirmed with the earthy undertones of cedar and oak with the overtones of dark fruits. My first few sips were tight and the acidity was almost nil, but I knew she needed some time in the glass before I could really see what Lawrence (Tiberia) had constructed for us with this Tannat.
After letting it breathe, I went back to the glass and swirled away. The wine had opened up and the grained woody tones were even warmer with blackberries and soft spices dancing on my palate. There is a grilled meat aspect on the back end of this wine that reminds me of the old world. I suspect that the 18 months in Missourian White Oak brings the toasted meat aspect into this wine. The acidity came to life as well which I fully anticipated being Reddy fruit from the Texas High Plains.
My conclusive personal thoughts of is wine are… The nose offers warm wood with black fruit dominating the senses. The palate is blackberries with soft spices and grilled meat on the back end. If you can picture a freshly sanded piece of cowhide leather with an über smooth texture, that is what the mouth feel is for me. Supple and silky. I detect medium acidity and medium/delayed round tannins on the front of the palate. This wine is what a modern Texas Tannat should be, friendly, juicy, silky and smooth enough to be enjoyed on its own, but big enough to enjoy with grilled pork chops and spicy BBQ.
Great job Lawrence Tiberia (Barking Rocks Winery) for producing such a gorgeous Tannat and to the Reddy family for growing such wonderful fruit.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.