We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
For decades now the Newsom name has meant something when you see it on the label of a Texas wine bottle. The vineyard sits just shy of 4,000 feet elevation in the Texas High Plains. Neal Newsom knew he was playing the wildcard when he stepped into the world of growing grapes all those years ago, but now he is reaping the rewards having earned a big name for himself within the wine community, and by providing what I consider to be some of the most premium, and coveted Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon fruit in the entire state.
Today, the Newsom family can etch another accomplishment into the proverbial stick by creating their own wine label, and setting up shop in Comfort, Texas with the Newsom Vineyards at Comfort tasting room to sell the wines. At the time of this review, they are waiting on their TABC permit to begin selling their wine. The Newsoms will be partnering with five of the top winemakers in Texas to produce around 18 different wines. To start, they will be selling four wines; Merlot, Inception, Pinot Grigio, and Orange Muscat.
We were fortunate enough to receive a bottle of their new, soon to be released, Texas Merlot. It is of course, Newsom Vineyards fruit, and is another shining example of what the Texas High Plains AVA, and Bordeaux grapes can accomplish together. The permeable soils, and high altitude combine to make for extracted, round fruit which shows itself well once in the hands of a competent winemaker. The fruit sourced for this wine comes from the old Merlot vines planted in 1993, with the wine named after Laverne, Neal’s mother. This bottle of wine comes sealed in a Bordeaux bottle, with a handy Newsom logo gripping the bottles curves, bound with a leather strap.
Once the cork is popped, the wine pours a deep garnet in the glass. There is good extraction of the fruit here. The nose is fairly complex for such a young wine, touting nuances of red cherries, raspberries, plums, black pepper, black licorice, and cigar box. The palate is red fruit dominant, with a smooth but spicy finish.
- Newsom Vineyards Lavern’s Merlot, 2014 vintage
- Winemaker: Greg Bruni
- Appellation: Texas, Texas High Plains AVA, Newsom Vineyards
- Grape Varieties: Merlot
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws, and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium plus
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 12.6%
This soon to be released red wine is quite impressive. The mix of Newsom fruit and Llano Estacado winemaking ensure this to be a bottle worth buying. The fruit was obviously very good and the winemaking clean, as one would expect. It is young, no doubt, but once it opens up a little, the wine really offers good complexity, and a full mouthfeel. My only gripe, as always, is the use of a cheaper cork. There are many places to cut costs, but wine corks are not one of them in my humble opinion. This is a wine to purchase and enjoy now, but a year or so in the cellar will really allow it to open up and continue to come to life. Congratulations to Neal Newsom and family on a job well done with their new label. This wine is extremely enjoyable! Pair with BBQ pork ribs and French fries.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.