On a trip in June, I arranged to stop in Comanche to visit its two wineries: Brennan Vineyards and J W Hardin Wine Co. After a lovely tasting at Brennan, Christa Halliburton asked if I would do a review of their JPB Tribute wine. I could not pass that opportunity up. After holding on to it for about a month, I opened it up with some friends and did a thorough tasting.
The JPB Tribute wine honors founder Dr. Pat Brennan. Dr. Brennan, along with his wife Trellise, started Brennan Vineyards in 2001, and he passed in November of 2021. Along with founding Brennan Vineyards, he helped form the Texas Wine Collective (formerly 4.0 Wines) on the 290 Wine Trail. Dr. Brennan earned awards for his work and dedication to the Texas wine industry, with the last being the 2020 Louis F. Qualia Pioneering Spirit Award. The Texas Wine Auction also created the Pat Brennan Excellence in Texas Wine award in his honor. The wines produced by Brennan Vineyards also earned numerous awards and accolades.
The wine does more than provide a stunning tribute to an important figure in Texas wine. Sales from the wine aid the Texas wine industry. The wine is a partnership with the Texas Wine Auction with its funds aiding the hospitality community in the Texas Hill Country by providing medical care and supporting education and research of winemaking and grape growing. The first tasting of the wine occurred at the Texas Wine Collective Winemaker Dinner on April 15, 2023, with the Texas Wine Auction showcasing it on April 29.
The JPB Tribute wine shares attributes with some of Dr. Brennan’s favorite wines and some of Brennan’s standout reds. The wine blends Nero d’Avola, Carménère, Graciano, and Cabernet Franc from Texas with 14.4% alcohol. The label also showcases handwritten script from Dr. Brennan’s notes.
Upon opening the wine, strong, dark red notes came through on the nose. My tasters and I got dark red fruits, like plum. I specifically noted chocolate-covered raspberry. Trace hints of wood and vegetable were noted. The wine drew us in with the alluring play of fruit and chocolate. The hidden aromas suggested that the wine might be a bit young at this point but definitely a wine that can age well.
The flavors provided a complex harmony of some solid red wine characteristics. For the most part, it was fruit forward; we got dark red fruit like plum and black cherry. These fruit notes slowly combined with herbal and earth notes along with woody and smoky notes. We also all detected a hint of minerality. Like the aroma, the flavors suggested the wine was still young, but its youth did not detract from our enjoyment.
The finish surprised us. I noticed a bit of tartness in the finish that quickly dissipated. The harmonized flavors softened and melted away quite slowly, lingering for quite a while.
I highly recommend this wine, especially paired with beef and similar meats. However, we enjoyed it all on its own. I would also recommend purchasing two bottles: one to enjoy the play of flavors now and one to age and enjoy the sophisticated wine to come. The added bonus of sales helping the Texas wine industry makes it a hard wine to pass up. The wine can be purchased online and in person at both Brennan Vineyards in Comanche and Texas Wine Collective on the 290 Wine Trail.