We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Wind swept dusty plains and red dirt as far as the eye can see. Is it Mars? Of course not, this is the Texas High Plains! A combination of high altitude and a wide diurnal shift make this region of Texas exquisite for growing grapes. The near constant daytime sunshine and heat fully ripen the clusters as they hang waiting for their new life as a bottle of wine.
Llano Estacado Winery has been making wine in Texas since January of 1976 with an initial release of 1,300 bottles of wine. Over the years they have won some very prestigious awards such as in 1986 when Llano won a “Double Gold” medal at the San Francisco fair, which was the first national award given to a Texas winery for their 1984 Chardonnay. In 1999 Wine Enthusiast named the Llano Estacado 1997 Signature Red Meritage “top Cabernet Sauvignon/blend” in the world for the year, under $15.00. Today, Llano Estacado produces over 170,000 cases of wine annually and their wines are present on shelves throughout the state of Texas.
When I think of Tuscany, I think of hilly terrain, romance and a culture that encompasses love, family, food, and wine. The wines that come from Tuscany are generally powerful, with refined elegance and they typically offer good cellar potential. The local wine laws can be very strict, dictating what grapes can be blended for what wines. For instance, to be labeled Chianti Classico (which is a DOCG Appellation within Tuscany), the wine must be at least 80% Sangiovese with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and or Syrah allowed to make up the remaining 20% of the blend. If these expectations are not met, that wine cannot be labeled Chianti Classico, which holds status in the world of wine and is much more prestigious than “Red Table Wine.” The Viviano from Llano is basically a reverse Super Tuscan. I like the idea of a Texas wine that represents Texas terroir and is just as rich and powerful as the true Super Tuscan wines of Italy. Now on to the wine itself.
In the tilted glass, this wine exudes a dark ruby center with a garnet rim variation. This wine has medium concentration. After swirling the glass to release the fine aromatics, the nose is predominantly black fruits such as black cherries and blackberries. Nuances of tobacco and green bell pepper also leap from the glass into my nostrils. The palate confirms the nose with the addition of red fruits such as tart raspberries and tart red cherries. This wine is a fairly powerful wine, with structured tannins and a good amount of acidity. I suspect this wine will cellar well for many more years as the fruit begins to soften and the tannins become more integrated. Ample tannins, healthy acidity, and a good pH number at harvest all point to good aging potential for this wine.
- Llano Estacado Winery Viviano, 2010 vintage
- Appellation: Texas
- Varieties: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Sangiovese
- Barrels: 40 months in French and American oak
- Clarity/Brightness: Clear/bright with no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium plus
- 13.3% alcohol by volume
- pH: 3.63
Next time you’re seeking a well-structured wine packed with a fruit forward punch, look no further than the Viviano from Llano Estacado Winery.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.