Hill Country breezes, ample sunshine, and intoxicating aromas of fresh lavender awaken the senses when you pull up to Becker Vineyards. The winery sits on a beautiful plot of land just a hop, skip, and a jump from Highway 290. As one of the oldest wineries on the 290 wine trail in the Texas Hill Country, Becker Vineyards has been producing a wide array of wines for some time.
Founded in 1992 by Dr. Richard Becker and his wife, Bunny Becker, the winery now produces over 100,000 cases of wine annually from grapes grown in their ~75 acres of vines along with grapes sourced from other vineyards in Texas and harvested from vineyards in other parts of the United States. An interesting fact is that Becker has only planted vitis vinifera grape varietals. No hybrids like Blanc du Bois or Black Spanish are growing in their vineyards. You are likely to find a large selection of wines from their portfolio in grocery stores and wine shops across the state. Distribution is a large part of their business model, which is unlike many of the other wineries in Texas where the wines are only available for purchase at the actual winery.
When choosing a wine to review from a Texas winery, I usually opt for something (usually a red) that truly represents the winery itself, a wine that highlights the style of the winemaker and shows a sense of place. With Becker, I chose the Reserve Merlot 2012 vintage. Merlot seems to be one of the few Bordeaux varietals that consistently does well in the extreme Texas climate. It is rare for me to find a Merlot that is flabby or poorly made which is promising for Texas wineries and winemakers alike.
With the Portuguese cork yanked from its nook, the bouquet already begins to come alive. To the eyes, striking colors of garnet with an orange hue overtake the glass. The aromatics once gently swirled are potent and prompt images of fresh vanilla, crispy toast, candied cherries, raspberries, and some fig. There are also prominent notes of saddle leather and cigar box. The oak is very prominent, more so on the nose than as perceived on the palate. The palate confirms the nose with the addition of plums and even more of that pleasant wooden box.
Below are the specifications for the Becker Vineyards Reserve Merlot, 2012 vintage:
- Appellation: Texas
- Barrels: A combination of the best French and American oak were utilized for this wine
- Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws and no gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium
- Acidity: Medium Plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol: 14.6%
- Harvest Date: August 20 – September 9, 2012
- Harvest Brix: 24.5 – 26.0
- Bronze – 2013 San Francisco International Wine Competition
This is a well-made wine that will please the novices and aficionados alike. It is easy drinking and is priced very well. I was surprised to see that this Reserve wine is available in distribution and is priced around $13.00 per bottle; that is a bargain my friends. Having said that, I think it is priced accordingly to what you get in the bottle. Next time you’re touring the 290 wine trail, stop by Becker Vineyards for a nice Merlot while sitting on the covered patio taking in the fresh Hill Country air.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.