Texas Fine Wine brought a stellar lineup of Texas wines to Dallas last week. Texas Fine Wine is a collaborative marketing effort by five wineries: Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, and Spicewood Vineyards. These five wineries represent a combined production of over 50,000 cases, and all are committed to using Texas grapes.
Denise Clarke of DC Communications assembled a small group of Dallas wine educators and media representatives to taste future and current releases. The full tasting lineup included one rosé, four white wines, and 10 red wines. As each selection was poured, winery staff shared information on the vintage, vineyard site, and winemaking choices. These producers are among the most awarded and acclaimed wineries in Texas, and this tasting lineup proved why.
Like so many top Texas wines, procuring these wines will likely require a visit to the winery tasting room or an online order. With tasting rooms in Comfort, Comanche, Driftwood, Stonewall, and Spicewood, the Texas Fine Wine wineries have inspired me to make a road trip. Check winery websites and Facebook pages to see what special events are scheduled for this spring.
My favorite wines from each producer follow.
Bending Branch Winery 2018 Tannat Rosé, Tallent Vineyards
Poured by Jennifer McInnis, General Manager
This not-yet-released Tannat Rosé blew me away with its exotic perfume. Rich and intense in color, it will not be mistaken for a Provencal rosé. Instead, it leads with spicy floral notes. A bright pink color is achieved through six hours on the skins before pressing. The grapes are picked relatively early, so the resulting wine has a bright acidity and just 13% alcohol by volume. The wine is fermented dry and has a bit of weight on the palate. The wine will be available next month.
Brennan Vineyards 2017 Protectors
Poured by Rebecca Conley, COO and Director of Marketing
This blend consists of 60% Alicante Bouschet from Diamante Doble Vineyard (Texas High Plains) and 40% Syrah from Comanche Vineyard, a nine-acre vineyard near Brennan. This wine is the first in a series that Brennan calls “The Grape Frontier Collection.” Protectors is the first wine in the series, and it honors James Madison McCrary, the original owner of the 1876 building that now houses the winery. The label photo shows Mr. McCrary and a group of gun-slinging rangers who protected the citizens of Comanche in the 1870s. This unique blend is intense with black fruit, tobacco, and spice aromas. Since Alicante Bouschet is one of the few grapes with red pulp as well as red skin, expect a deep, dark wine.
Also try the 2017 Lily white wine. A blend of 50% Malvasia Bianca and 50% Roussanne, it won Gold at the 2019 TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
Duchman Family Winery 2016 Montepulciano, Oswald Vineyards, Texas High Plains
Poured by Mike Conte, Tasting Room Manager
The Duchman Montepulciano is consistently a top seller in the Duchman tasting room for good reason. It is a food friendly red wine, featuring aromas of both red and black fruit that balance out the moderate tannins and acidity. The wine spends 24 months in oak, but only 10% is new oak. The wine ends with a dry, dusty finish that lingers. Pour this to complement barbequed meats at your spring and summer cookouts. This wine should age particularly well.
Pedernales Cellars 2017 Viognier Reserve, Texas
Poured by Keri Petersen, Wine Club Manager
This much-anticipated release follows the 2016 vintage that was awarded a Double Gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Pedernales has crafted another delicious reserve Viognier, this one leading with tropical fruit and lemon curd. 40% new French oak lends a full body and toasty notes. Watch for it online and in the tasting room by the end of April. This wine earned a Silver medal at the 2019 TEXSOM International Wine Awards and a Gold medal at the 2019 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
Also try the 2016 Tempranillo Reserve. It won Gold at both the 2019 TEXSOM International Wine Awards and the 2109 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition.
Spicewood Vineyards 2015 The Good Guy, Texas Hill Country
Poured by Denise Clark for Ron Yates, Owner
This estate-grown blend of 44% Tempranillo, 22% Graciano, 22% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon pays homage to Ron Yates’ grandfather. Ron called him “Good Guy” as a child when he couldn’t pronounce “grandfather.” The blend changes from year to year, and the oak treatment changes as well. This wine saw 25 months in oak, half new and half neutral. Blue and black fruits share the stage with violets and spice in this fresh blend. The wine is not yet released, but the April issue of Food and Wine has already showcased it in an article on new American wine regions.