Wine enthusiasts can look forward to some new and interesting Texas wines as well as 2013 and 2014 vintages of old favorites from the four wineries that make up Texas Fine Wine – Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, and Pedernales Cellars. Here’s a preview of what to expect from these wineries in 2015.
Rosé wines continue to be hot, hot, hot. Look for Brennan’s new Mourvèdre Dry Rosé, Pedernales Texas Dry Rosé made from Grenache, Mourvèdre and Tempranillo, as well as two from Duchman, a rosé made from Sangiovese and another from Montepulciano grapes. Bending Branch Winery will offer its first effervescent rosé, available only on tap at the Branch on High tasting room in downtown Comfort.
Blends. Pedernales will release a full range of estate blends from its Kuhlken Vineyards. Brennan will feature its second release of its well-received “W” (Winemakers Choice) from its barrel reserves. Duchman is rolling out a new Grape Growers Blend to pay homage to the dedicated farmers who have long grown grapes for the winery. Bending Branch Winery will introduce its first Estate Cuvée and Estate Cuvée Blanc wines.
Viognier & Vermentino. Brennan and Pedernales (which have won awards for their previous vintages of Viognier) will both have 2014 Viogniers, and Bending Branch will release its first Hill Country AVA Viognier. Pedernales is introducing its first Vermentino, joining the award-winning Duchman Vermentino.
Tannat & Tempranillo. Count on more great Tempranillos and Tannats from Texas. Look for Pedernales’ 2013 Texas Tempranillo and 2013 Texas Tempranillo Reserve, made from grapes primarily from its Hill Country vineyards. Bending Branch Winery is releasing a 2012 Texas Tannat® and 2012 Estate Tannat, its signature red variety, as well as its 2012 Tempranillo from Newsom Vineyards (Plains).
Here’s a winery-by-winery outlook.
Bending Branch Winery
While the wine program consists mostly of bold reds, Bending Branch winemakers Robert W. Young, MD, and John Rivenburgh will introduce several new Texas Hill Country white wines this year, including an Estate Cuvée Blanc, Riven Rock Viognier, and Hoover Valley Roussanne. Additionally, the winery is introducing its first Malbec and releasing its 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, both Newsom Vineyards (Plains).
Bending Branch Winery also is planting an additional 40-plus acres of grapes, including Alicante Bouschet, Mourvèdre, Petite Sirah, Sagrantino, Souzão, and Tannat at its estate and throughout Texas.
While crop quantity was smaller in 2014, the quality of fruit was excellent. Winemaker Todd Webster is introducing for the first time, Brennan Vineyards Reserve releases of Viognier, Lily, and Tempranillo, made with fruit from its Newburg Vineyards (Comanche County). The 2013 Lily is made of Muscat of Alexandria, Viognier, and Roussanne.
The winery has also installed two frost-protection fans in its Newburg Vineyard to protect the crop from late freezes.
Duchman Family Winery
Made by the saignée method (bleeding off the juice after limited contact with grape skins), Duchman’s new dry rosé wines come from Sangiovese grapes from Salt Lick Vineyards (Driftwood) and Montepulciano fruit from Oswald Vineyard (Brownfield). Both are limited production wines, available in early spring.
Winemaker Dave Reilly has created an off-dry, white wine version of Canto Felice, the winery’s popular slightly sweet red wine. Reilly’s first Grape Growers Blend, a special blend highlighting Duchman’s grape-growing partners, features grapes from Oswald, Martin, Reddy, and Bingham vineyards (High Plains) as well as Salt Lick Vineyards (Hill Country). Both of these new wines are available now at the winery.
For whites, Pedernales will introduce a 2014 Vermentino, along with a 2014 Albarino and its always popular Viognier. For reds, the winery will feature a full range of estate blends (Block Zero, Block One, Block Two) from the excellent 2013 harvest in Kuhlken Vineyards in Fredericksburg, as well as the popular GSM, largely estate fruit with Syrah from Stout Vineyards in the Hill Country.
“After two years of drought in the Texas Hill Country, it was wonderful to bring in such beautiful fruit in 2013,” said winemaker David Kuhlken. “For our whites program, what can we say: ‘The Texas Viognier is back!'”
Texas Fine Wine is a group of four distinctive wineries dedicated to producing high-quality wines sourced from Texas appellation vineyards. For more information, go to www.TexasFineWine.com.