Up for review this time around is a wine from Westcave Cellars. Since we reviewed their 2013 Tannat a few years ago, I decided to copy and paste the first two paragraphs from that review, as I think the Tannat info contained within was pretty important. The vintage has changed but my outlook on Tannat in Texas definitely has not. Here we go!
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 2015 vintage is exciting to compare to the 2013 I reviewed back in December of 2015. I am shocked just how different the wines are to be honest. Once the cork is removed, the wine pours into the glass a medium ruby. The nose is chock full of brambly fruit, licorice, cola, and jam. The palate confirms the nose, with the addition of black cherries. The mouthfeel is thick and viscous which is quite pleasant. It’s definitely New World in style. The fruit is the dominant factor, and I don’t really detect any earthy components. The structure on the palate is lush and coating. I like wines that offer a rich texture, as they seem to really tantalize the senses. The wine falls off the back of the tongue with a lingering finish.
- Westcave Cellars Tannat, 2015 vintage
- Winemaker: Allan Fetty
- Appellation: Texas, Texas Hill Country AVA, Estate Grown
- Grape varieties: Tannat
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no detectable flaws, and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 13.3%
This Tannat is super drinkable. The texture is smooth, and the mouthfeel is round and dense. It is still young, and I see many more years of evolution of this wine. As it opens up, the tannins become more noticeable which would make it a great companion with meat. BBQ ribs sound like a lovely pairing with this fruit-forward, jammy red wine.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.