Texas Fine Wine is a private marketing group of five Texas wineries committed to making high quality fine wines with fruit sourced from vineyards in Texas. They have competed and placed in some of the most well known international wine competitions. When I heard they were coming to Houston and had openings, I signed up and went to a “Taste of Texas” tasting at the Texas Wine School. When the evening of the event came, I arrived a few minutes early and got to meet long-time Facebook friend Denise Clarke for the first time face-to-face. It’s always good meeting folks you have interacted with on social media.
The wineries that are part of Texas Fine Wine are Bending Branch Winery (Comfort, TX), Brennan Vineyards (Comanche, TX), Duchman Family Winery (Driftwood, TX), Pedernales Cellars (Stonewall, TX), and Spicewood Vineyards (Spicewood, TX). While they work in cooperation in marketing their wines and wineries, all are committed to the Texas wine industry in general through active participation in the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and some of the wine trails around the state. They work in support of and not in competition with these great groups. All great in their own right, they form quite a group when working together and provide a great customer experience when they can all be tasted together.
The Taste of Texas tasting was led by Denise Clarke and representatives of four of the five wineries. Representing the wineries were:
- Bending Branch Winery – Jennifer McInnis
- Brennan Vineyards – Rebecca Conley
- Duchman Family Winery – Jeff Ogle
- Pedernales Cellars – Cecilia Barretto
Ron Yates of Spicewood Vineyards had a family commitment so Denise spoke for him when Spicewood wines were served.
The purpose of the tasting was for attendees to learn about and taste wines that are well-suited for the Texas terroir—from Viognier, Vermentino, and Albariño to Tempranillo, Aglianico, Mourvèdre, and Tannat. Denise and the winery representatives provided great information about Texas appellations and the wines mentioned. They took us through a tasting of a cross section of top wines from each winery.
The tasting started off with a tasting of white wines as follows:
- Spicewood Vineyards 2015 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
- Duchman Family Winery 2015 Vermentino
- Brennan Vineyards 2015 Cellar Select Viognier (an “Orange Wine”: a white wine that experienced intentional skin contact for extra color)
- Pedernales Cellars 2015 Texas Viognier
- Bending Branch Winery 2015 Comfortage Hoover Valley Vineyard Roussanne
We tasted a Brennan Vineyards 2015 Dry Rosé which was a blend of Mourvèdre and Grenache.
The Reds rounded out the tasting with the following wines:
- Pedernales Cellars 2014 Texas Tempranillo
- Duchman Family Winery 2012 Aglianico
- Spicewood Vineyards 2013 “Good Guy” (a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Graciano)
- Bending Branch Winery 2012 Texas Tannat
After the “official” tasting was complete we were invited to the back of the room to mingle and taste some other wines that the representatives brought with them. I tasted a Cabernet Sauvignon from Brennan that I enjoyed and re-tasted a few others. This was a great way to taste a cross-section of great Texas wines for about the cost of one or two tastes in a tasting room. Keep an eye out for future tastings put on by Texas Fine Wine.