There are a few wineries in Texas that have somehow remained quasi elusive despite their age and reputation. One such winery is Pheasant Ridge Winery in Lubbock, Texas. Maybe if they were located on Wine Road 290 in the Texas Hill Country, more people would recognize the name. However, despite their low profile, I must say with complete honesty that Pheasant Ridge is one of my all-time favorite wineries in the state. The quality of every wine I have tasted there has been superb, and the atmosphere in the tasting room is purely Texan.
Let’s talk about why. Well, for starters, owner/winemaker Bobby Cox is sort of a legend when it comes to Texas High Plains wine-growing. He has been honing his viticulture and winemaking craft for decades now, and he continues to impress with current vintages. I can proudly say I have tasted his wines going back as far as 1987, and as current as 2015. Although he wasn’t always at the helm at the winery, he is back in action, the last several years doing what he does best, producing amazing Texas wines.
The wine up for review is the 2015 Old Vine Chenin Blanc from the Cox Family Vineyard. Once the Stelvin closure is twisted, the wine pours into the glass a pale straw color. The aromas are concentrated offering nuances of citrus fruit such as lemon and orange peel. Once on the tongue, the palate confirms the nose. The mouthfeel is dense, with bright acidity and moderate alcohol. The wine finishes short, without much lingering effect on the back of the palate. The overall body is somewhat powerful compared to some Chenins I have tasted from Texas. Perhaps this is partly due to the fruit coming from old vines, approximately 35 years of age.
- Pheasant Ridge Old Vine dry Chenin Blanc, 2015 vintage
- Winemaker: Bobby Cox
- Appellation: Texas High Plains AVA, Cox Family Vineyard
- Grape Varieties: Chenin Blanc
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright, with no detectable flaws and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Acidity: High
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Short
- Alcohol by volume: N/A
- Retail price: $18.00 per bottle at the time of review
This wine is a solid bargain at its price point. It is competitive with wines out of California and France, with a similar style and quality one would expect from a typical dry Chenin Blanc. If you have not tried this wine yet, feel free to hop onto their website and pick up a few bottles. It is drinking very well now, and should continue to age gracefully for quite some time in the cellar. I suspect it will continue to evolve in the bottle and get even better with age.
We paired this wine with grilled seasoned pork chops and garlic and herb mashed potatoes. Suggested pairings might include lean proteins that offer a savory component to assist in balancing out the wine’s powerful acidity. Cheeses such as Manchego and Pecorino are delicious pairing partners. Grilled pork, chicken, and select fish would also be solid mates with this Chenin.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.