We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Llano Estacado Winery is one of the oldest wineries in modern Texas wine, founded in 1976. Located in Lubbock, Texas, which is without a doubt, “Ground Zero“ for Texas grape growing, they continue to innovate and help pave the way in producing high quality Texas wines. They recently expanded with a new tasting room to offer guests an even better experience while sipping on Texas liquid gold, which you can read about here. The winery offers a healthy selection of wines, ranging from inexpensive grocery store wines, to high end, top shelf wines. I have come to expect clean, well-made wines from this winery. Their passion for producing and sharing world-class wine, and dedication to Texas viticulture stands out, and is perceived in the wonderful wines they offer.
The wine up for review this time around is a newer release from Llano, their 2014 Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. If you know me, you know I am not particularly fond, or excited when prompted to taste Texas Cabernet as typically I feel a little let down. After all, it is widely planted here, but it is far from the easiest grape to ripen on a yearly basis in our hot state with its short growing season. However, a few high quality producers are rocking the house with Texas Cab by taking the gamble and letting the fruit hang to achieve proper ripeness, and show true varietal expression.
I will start things out with some very bold words here … this bottle of wine may very well be the BEST Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever tasted from Texas! No joke people, this wine is off the charts. Once the cork is popped, the wine pours into the glass a deep garnet with a magenta rim. The aromas are intoxicating offering jammy notes of blackberry cobbler, black cherries, and Spanish cedar. The palate confirms the nose with the addition of cranberries, and a heavy earthy component with a really dusty mouthfeel. The wine is dark and robust. It reminds me of the essence of Halloween at first sip, Hallows on the palate if you will.
- Llano Estacado Winery 2014 Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
- Winemaker: Greg Bruni
- Appellation: Texas, Texas High Plains AVA. Mont Sec Vineyard, Newsom Vineyard, and Carpenter Farms
- Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon
- Barrels: 16 months in neutral French and American oak
- 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: 13.1%
- Retail price: $18.99 per bottle at the time of review
- Cases produced: 825 cases
At the end of the day, I still think there are many other more appropriate grape varieties other than Cabernet Sauvignon to produce fantastic Texas wine, but when someone gets it right, boy do they get it right. Sheesh… This wine is still youthful being a 2014 vintage. Time in the cellar will let those medium plus tannins integrate, and the wine should become even more complex and interesting. In my opinion, this wine is perfectly balanced right out of the box. No decanting is needed. This is simply a superb wine. I was not expecting this honestly, and I cannot say enough good things about it. To conclude, get out there and pick up some bottles of this wine while they last folks! You will not regret it.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.