We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Somewhere along the Texas wine industry’s journey, growers discovered an obscure grape variety called Tannat that happens to grow very well in the Lone Star terroir. Tannat which is well known for intense color, deep concentration and most notably, gum sucking tannins, has been creeping up across the state over the last several years, and a handful of wineries are really doing a tip-top job of producing interesting wines from this grape.
Tannat hails from the Madiran region of southwest France right at the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains where it has been cultivated for centuries. French kings even accepted Madiran wines as payment for taxes! Uruguay has also become famous for producing world-class Tannat year after year, and the Tannat from that wine region tends to be easier to drink, typically being less tannic vs. many of its French counterparts. Although this grape has quite the reputation for being too tannic, winemaking techniques and careful cellaring have proved to tame this beast enough to keep the structure pleasurable to please a diversity of palates. The state of Texas, with its blistering summers and rocky soil tends to lend itself well to the cultivation of this oh-so capable grape. I say…why not, Tannat?
The wine being reviewed this time around is the Westcave Cellars 2013 Tannat. Westcave Cellars has become well known for producing a wide spectrum (pun intended as they make a few wines called Spectrum) of estate varietal and blended wines that really show what the Texas Hill Country AVA is capable of producing. Most notably, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat have been a few of the staples from their estate vineyard. Tannat is a grape that seems to seriously thrive in the sun kissed soils of Westcave and this rendition has to be one of the finest bottlings I have tasted to date from this particular winery.
The cork is easily tugged from its nook revealing a deeply colored wine. Once in the glass, the wine pours a deep garnet with a slightly lighter rim, with a nuance of an orangish hue. This wine throws off very complex aromas once swirled in the glass. Layers of baked black fruit, dried fig, and pecan shell tantalize the senses. Once in the mouth, the nose is confirmed with a frisky addition of mocha and coffee beans. This is by far one of the more layered Texas wines I have tasted lately, and the mouthfeel is quite round and very balanced.
- Westcave Cellars Tannat, 2013 vintage
- Winemaker: Allan Fetty
- Appellation: Texas, Texas Hill Country, Estate grown
- Grape Varieties: Tannat
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium
- Acidity: Medium plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 14.8%
All in all, this is a very recommendable Texas wine. It is a “drink it now” red with the potential to cellar and continue to evolve over the coming years. This Tannat would pair well with lean red meat and venison. A hearty pasta dish over the holidays would also be a sensational match for this baby. I highly encourage all of you to swing by the winery and grab a bottle when you have the opportunity; you will not be disappointed.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.