We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
An intriguing observation about Texas wine is witnessing the surge in quality wine produced from non-vinifera grapes. Making clean Blanc du Bois (BdB) that doesn’t scream “foxy” is apparently not an easy thing to do since the majority of BdB’s I have tasted have been slightly unpleasant personally due to that musty, animal-like aroma and flavor. The foxy description is common among many native and hybrid grapes, not just BdB. The Nice Winery in Houston, owned and operated by owners/winemakers Ryan Levy and Ian Eastveld, produces wines from Argentina, California, and Texas, and their first Texas bottling happens to be BdB. They released their 2014 Texas Blanc this year and it won a Gold medal in the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition. I had the opportunity to taste it and here is my review.
Let’s start with the bottle… A whiskey bottle was chosen and, well, what represents Texas and the south such as a whiskey bottle? I dig the design, but make sure you have the space or rack in the cellar to accommodate the short and squatty bottle. The label is clean, simple, and positively Texan. Once the stubby cork is pulled from it’s tomb, the wine pours into the glass a light straw with a golden sheen. The aromas leap into the open air flaunting notes of lime and orange peel, wet grass, and damp rocks. The palate is dominated by citrus fruits with a hint of red apple and just a faint ‘foxy’ finish on the back of the palate, reminding me this is indeed a Blanc du Bois, not a Sauvignon Blanc, although the similarities are striking.
- Nice Winery Texas Blanc, 2014 vintage
- Winemakers: Ken Wuensche, Ian Eastveld, Ryan Levy
- Appellation: Texas; Altamira Vineyard and Honeysuckle Oaks Vineyard
- Grape varieties: 100% Blanc du Bois
- Barrels: N/A
- Clarity/brightness: Some particulates present, overall clear. No detectable flaws and no evidence of gas.
- Tannins: N/A
- Acidity: High
- Alcohol: Medium minus
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 11.5%
- Retail price: $30.00, available at the winery or via the website nicewines.com
- Cases produced: 130
I must say, this is a high quality Blanc du Bois wine; it is clean and crisp with very little foxiness and it offers pleasurable complexity on the nose. This baby was produced slow and steady, with little intervention. The fermentation was a cold and slow 45 days in steel, with racking and cold stabilization being the only manipulation for clarification. This wine is un-fined and unfiltered and was bottled by hand, a single bottle at a time. I highly recommend picking up a few bottles online, or next time you are in Houston, TX.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.