Among Texas’ most famous red wine grapes is a child of Tuscany, none other than Sangiovese. It is a favorable grape to grow in arid, hot climates, and I’ll be darned, Texas is exactly that! I am quick to think about hot weather grape varieties when I ponder what makes Texas wine so good these days. Although Cabernet Sauvignon is still the most planted red wine grape in Texas, it is not the easiest to work with to produce stunning wines on a yearly basis. If you want killer Cab, try Calais Winery, Llano Estacado, Fall Creek, and Lost Oak. All four of those wineries have impressed me with their Cab-capability.
Now, back to the subject at hand, Sangiovese. We have a brand-new wine to review today, and I am quite excited to write about it, as well as support a great friend. The energy is always in the red zone when someone releases their very first wine. The positivity, and even the anticipation are palpable. I feel honored to be part of it, even if only drinking a bottle, and discussing my thoughts about it.
Cellar Rat Wine Tours is a company that is offering Texas wine consumers in-depth, educational wine tours in the Texas Hill Country. Listen to our podcast with founder, Clint Thomas, if you want to learn more about the company. Did you know Cellar Rat is also known for pickles and wine education? Now you can add another link to their chain, Texas wine!
The bottle up for review is the inaugural wine made by Cellar Rat, their 2015 Texas Sangiovese. Once the quality cork (good choice Clint) is pulled, the wine pours into the glass a medium garnet. The nose is quite complex even at first opening tossing around notes of candied cherries, ripe raspberries, earl grey tea, pipe tobacco, and a nuance of rose petals. The palate confirms the nose almost exactly, offering a jammy, full/round mouthfeel. The texture is what I call sticky…a feeling that the wine is grasping onto every inch of the mouth, which is quite pleasant. It finishes with a moderate diminishing effect.
- Cellar Rat Sangiovese, 2015 vintage
- Winemaker: Clint Thomas and Mike Batek, Hye Meadow Winery
- Appellation: Texas, Texas High Plains, Reddy Vineyards
- Grape Varieties: Sangiovese
- Barrels: 16 months in neutral French 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: Moderate
- Alcohol by volume: 13.7%
- Recommended donation price: $25.00 per bottle at the time of review
I must say bravo to a job well done on this wine! Not too shabby for a first release, Cellar Rat. This Sangiovese is quite well balanced, very flavorful, and is ready to drink now. I would recommend pairing this bottle of wine with a pepperoni pizza and cheesy bread. It is palate friendly, and very easy to drink. I was a bit taken back actually, just how fast we finished the bottle. If you are interested in purchasing a bottle of 2015 Cellar Rat Sangiovese, please contact Clint Thomas at Cellar Rat Wine Tours. The wine cannot be sold but donations are accepted to get a bottle.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.