Jun 052016
 

Texas Hill Country Wineries – Video Interview

Check out this video interview I did with John DeMers, Fischer & Wieser’s Texas Food and Wine Ambassador.

As illustrated in his book, Russ Kane – aka Texas Wineslinger – says the Texas Hill Country wineries have roots as old as any around. Texas grapes grow on soils made from deposits in ancient seas, similar to the grape growing regions of Europe.

Texas  wine culture arrived in the 1600s with Spanish missionaries that settled and planted vineyards in El Paso del Norte. The 1800s brought German and Italian emigrant farmers to Texas. For them, wine was  considered a staple of everyday life.

In what is now America’s number five wine producing state, the  Texas hill country was named by Wine Enthusiast Magazine to their 2014 list of best international wine destinations. This may surprise some, but not the wine aficionados that have visited the Texas hill
country’s 50 or more wineries where wine and culinary tourism is currently its fastest growing sector.

Click the book icon in the upper right side of page to purchase.

Click the book icon in the upper right side of page to purchase.

This book is your guide to the Texas hill country winery experience. It’s time to sip and savor Texas for  yourself.

Author Russell Kane who shares his time between Houston and the Texas hill country is a technical  writer, researcher, wine blogger and book author whose work spans three decades and has earned him awards in both technical and wine communities. His bestselling book, The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine, provided him insights and stories from the pioneers of Texas wine.

To book a speaking engagement with Russ Kane, send your inquiries to: russ@vintagetexas.com.

 Posted by at 12:06 pm
May 292016
 

Bobby & Jennifer Cox from 1984 are back at the helm of their Pheasant Ridge Winery – Wine Dinner Tonight!

Tonight’s the Night: Dinner with Pheasant Ridge at Harrigan’s

May 29th, 2016 at 6 pm

After many years, Bobby Cox the man and Bobby Cox “the brand” with his Pheasant Ridge Winery is back. He is celebrating the occasion with a wine dinner at Harrigan’s in Lubbock Texas – 3801 50th St #1, Lubbock, TX 79413.

The description that I gave Bobby in my bestselling book The WineSlinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine after our first meeting was as follows:

Bobby Cox is a larger-than-life character both in stature and reputation among grape growers and winemakers. He’s something like a Texas version of Paul Bunyan, and Neal Newsom’s large blue grape harvester parked beside him appeared as the mechanical equivalent of Bunyan’s large blue ox, Babe. While Bunyan was a legendary lumberman in the American northland, Bobby’s  a bona fide virtuoso of grape growing here in the Southwest.

Bobby’s hands showed the signs of wear and weather, and his furrowed face was etched with the look of lessons learned at the mercy of Mother Nature and hard economic times.

At times it is difficult to separate the man from the legend. He’s shown an uncanny ability of identifying trends, helping growers select grape varieties that best fit the climate and soil in Texas, and at adapting vineyard techniques that optimize the quantity and quality of their harvests…

Pheasant Ridge Winery, with its estate vineyard in the Lubbock area, was once Bobby’s baby. The vineyard he planted in the 1970s is one of the oldest in Texas, with sixty acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Semillon. He was a believer in the European vinifera grapes from the start, at a time when many people felt that they couldn’t be grown here. However, Bobby’s blood, sweat, and tears weren’t enough. A few years of lean harvests led to the need to borrow money to keep the winery going, but when that ran out, the winery was taken over by the bank and sold in the early 1990s.

— — — — —

Well, after a long hard time during which he served others very well, Bobby and his lovely wife Jennifer are back in the helm of Pheasant Ridge Winery. I may not be able to be there physically in Lubbock tonight, but I’m there in spirit, wishing them the best of success for the future.

The menu and the “taste of time” wine pairings for the Pheasant Ridge Winery Dinner at Harrigan’s  tonight are:

Bacon-wrapped Pepper Shrimp with Herbed Buttermilk Dip – 2011 Chardonnay

Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Texas Pecans & Chenin Blanc Vinaigrette – 2010 Dry Chenin Blanc

Mesquite Smoked Prime Rib Au Jus, New Orleans Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus Spears – 1999 Proprietor’s Reserve

A Selection of Fine Cheeses and Ripe Fresh Fruits – 2011 3 Barrels Up

Price: $60 per person

Reservations Required: Call 806-771-8880

 Posted by at 1:46 pm
May 242016
 
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Blanc Du Bois grapes nearing harvest at Haak Vineyards

Blanc Du Bois: Texas Grown – Gulf Coast and Now Beyond

Excerpt from Edible Houston Celebration May/June 2016 Issue story: Blanc Du Bois: Texas Grown – by Russ Kane of VintageTexas. Copies of this issue are available at local newsstands, sponsor locations, and by subscription on the Edible Houston website (click link above).

“In 2000, my wife Gladys and I opened our winery in Santa Fe, just south of Houston,” recalled Raymond Haak, owner of Haak Vineyards and Winery in Galveston County. “Immediately after opening, I invited then Houston Chronicle wine writer Michael Lonsford down to visit. After, I was surprised when he wrote a nice story on us in the paper, especially the really great things he said about our Blanc Du Bois wines.” Today, Haak cherishes a string of moments like this one garnered in Texas, California and abroad with gold medals galore.

The Texas Blanc Du Bois story started with Dr. John Mortensen, born in Texas and later a University of Florida professor, who helped developed Blanc Du Bois. In 1987, he released this hybridized wine grape especially suited for hot, humid southern climes. He named it ‘Blanc Du Bois’ (with both capital “D” and “B”) in honor of Tallahassee grape grower Emile DuBois. According to Mortensen’s 1987 release circular, “Blanc Du Bois makes a spicy white wine which was rated very good in formal wine tasting panels.”

It was around this time that two men in the greater Houston area, Haak and his soon-to-be friend Jerry Watson who started experimenting with growing it on the Texas Gulf Coast. This friendship was put to good use when the Haak’s opened their winery. Together they discovered the “Blanc Magic” of growing and winemaking with this grape that made wine judges and consumers take notice.

Epilogue…

Now, others statewide have discovered Blanc Du Bois, too. It started close to home with Lynne Majek and her husband Randy with their vineyard and winery in Moravia near Schulenberg and the Bonarrigo family owners of Messina Hof Winery in Bryan, and now includes Chris Brundrett and co-founder Bill Blackmon of William Chris Vineyards in the hill country town of Hye and Doug Lewis at Lewis Wines just down the street from them, and Gene Estes at Lost Oak Winery in Burleson.

The story in Edible Houston includes quotes from all of these Blanc Du Bois converts who are now spreading the word about Texas Blanc Du Bois wines far and wide. It also includes comments received on my selection of eight Blanc Du Bois wines tasted by Camerata at Paulie’s with (now) Master Sommelier David Keck and his Houston Sommelier Association study group:

Keck-Study-Group

MS David Keck study group at Camerata at Paulie’s

Lewis Wines, Swim Spot, 2014

William Chris Vineyards, Sparkling Wine, 2013

Haak Vineyards & Winery, Estate Blanc Du Bois, Dry White Wine 2015

William Chris Vineyards, Mary Ruth, 2015

Messina Hof Winery, Blanc Du Bois, Private Reserve, 2015

Majek Vineyard & Winery, Blanc Du Bois, 2014

Lost Oak Winery, Carrabba Farms, Semi-Sweet Blanc Du Bois 2014

Haak Vineyards & Winery, Madeira Blanc Du Bois, 2013

Wines are available at Spec’s, Whole Foods or directly shipped from respective wineries.

Blanc-Du-Bois-Group

VT selection of Blanc Du Bois wines from around Texas

 

 Posted by at 2:23 pm
May 202016
 

ChzI8TXVEAQt7x-

News Flash: Black Spanish is Cabernet Franc x Vitis Aestivalis

Previously, I blogged on the Black Spanish/Lenior Symposium being held today in Cat Spring, Texas. In response to this blog post, I received this very interesting email from Dr. Jerry Rodrigues who I believe is now a resident of South Africa:

I wish I were there attending your ‘Jacquez’ Symposium. My Name is Dr Jerry Rodrigues and I have Portuguese heritage but was born in South Africa. My ancestors grew Jacquez for many many years back in the day on the Island of Madeira where my parents were born.

I have been studying the parentage of Jacques (aka Lenoir, Black Spanish) and I have submitted a paper on this subject to a wine journal recently.

We now have ‘DNA evidence’ that Jacquez was naturally generated from hybridization events involving the Vitis vinifera cultivar, Cabernet franc, with a ‘wild’ Vitis aestivalis grapevine species that took place at some point in early colonial America (around the middle of the 18th century).

One possible reason why Cabernet franc was more successful than other European cultivars in growing reasonably successfully at that time in the eastern American colonies could be because it is one of the most cold-hardy Vitis vinifera varieties known. This fact most likely played an important ‘role’ in that region that resulted in the eventaul hybridization event that gave rise to the ‘amazing’ Jacquez cultivar.

I have visited your country 15 years ago when my plane landed in Houston Airport. You have a beautiful country, I especially enjoyed Texas and New Mexico State while I was there for almost 3 months.
I hope you have a good Symposium today.

Cheers…have a good one!

Dr Rodrigues (PhD Biochemistry)

 Posted by at 1:06 pm
May 062016
 

Blanc Spanish grapes also known as Lenoir and Jacquez.

2016 Texas Black Spanish/Lenoir Symposium: Taming the Beast…

According to Cat Spring grape grower and a symposium organizer Jerry Watson, “Black Spanish has made world class Port for a long time and we can now add Madeira to that, as well.  What has been missing is a everyday table wine with premium qualities.”  

Jerry admits that there are several wineries already making very good dry and sweet wine from the grape.  But, and it’s a big “but”, making these wines with Black Spanish is still a challenge for most of the state’s winemakers.  

Jerry Watson, grape grower in Cat Springs with his Blanc Du Bois grapes.

Symposium chairperson and Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Program Specialist in Viticulture Ann Pontasch says, “The Black Spanish grape, a wine grape variety tolerant to Pierce’s Disease, has proven it’s ability to grow well throughout south, east, and northeast Texas. She acknowledges that while it is a reliable producer, relatively little is known about optimizing the grape for making a premium wine. Furthermore, while known as BlackSpanish it has also gone by other names like Lenoir, Jacquez, and Ohio; even it’s exact parentage remains a mystery.  

Symposium presenter and Haak Vineyards winemaker Marta Lastowska says, “For me this symposium will be a great chance to get more familiar with Black Spanish. A grape that grows great right here on the Gulf Coast where the wine industry is growing so fast and where we are in such a big need of Texas grapes. At this symposium, different winemakers will share their Black Spanish winemaking experiences and winemaking processes and it will also be a great chance for growers and wineries to meet and discuss new and different ideas.”

A Pour of Messina Hof Black Spanish Port from Previous Symposium

In 2011, the first Black Spanish symposium was held at the same location in Cat Spring (about an hour west of Houston between Sealy and Columbus).  Dry wines and after dinner sweet wines were featured.  According to Watson, this time the symposium will emphasize the potential for “additional styles of wine”.

In my mind, that says delicious red wines that can accompany fine dining that will be as good as white wines currently made from another local grape – Blanc Du Bois.  If Watson is right, this bodes well for further development of Black Spanish throughout the hot, humid zone in Texas, particularly in an around the Gulf Coast and East Texas, where well-known European Vitis vinifera grapes can’t be grown with confidence due to the threat of Pierce’s Disease.

Pontasch says, “My goal for this symposium is to get people to work together in raising the bar of the wine experience of the reliable producer, Black Spanish.” See details below… 

Symposium Contact: Fran Pontasch, fmpontasch@tamu.edu(979) 458-0131/ (254) 977-3641

Conference Title: Taming the Beast…In the Vineyard & Winery

8:30-9:00 REGISTRATION

9:00 -9:10 Welcome & Introduction Fran Pontasch, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

9:10-9:40 TWGGA Legislative Brief Paul Bonarrigo, Messina Hof Winery & Resort

9:40-10:00 Signature Estate Paul Bonarrigo, Messina Hof Winery & Resort

10:00-10:35 Managing Growth & Canopy for Quality Fruit Fritz Westover, Westover Vineyard Advising

10:35-10:50 BREAK

10:50-11:25 Evolution of Premium Black Spanish Mike Sipowicz, Texas Custom Wine Works

11:25-12:00 Lenoir By Choice Gary McKibben, Red Caboose Winery

12:00-1:00 LUNCH

1:00-1:35 Black Spanish on the Sweet Side Marta Lastowska, Haak Vineyards & Winery

1:35-2:10 100% Varietal Dry Black Spanish, Stephen Morgan, Saddlehorn Winery

2:10-2:45 Optimizing Harvest Chemistry Dr. Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

2:45-3:00 BREAK

3:00-3:30 Winemaker Panel

3:30-4:00 TASTE OFF

4:00-6:00 Wine Social

 Posted by at 3:09 pm
May 042016
 

Katy-Prairie-Students

Our Katy Prairie Needs Your Support With Email By End Of Day Today!

For your speed and convenience, please CUT AND PASTE the following text and/or modify it as you see fit and EMAIL IT… TODAY! Please email your comments to mailto:us290amtstudy@hcpid.org (and copy mailto:info@katyprairie.org) by end of day today May 4, 2016! Further details on the impending actions by the Harris County Engineering Department that will adversely affect The Katy Prairie (Katy Prairie Conservancy – KPC) is provided follow the cut and past email.

 — — — — —

(Start of cut and paste email)

I DO NOT support building or widening proposed new or expanded roadways totaling over 15 miles through Katy Prairie Conservancy’s (KPC’s) owned, easement, and neighboring lands.

I also DO NOT support a loop or ring road totaling over 25 miles which effectively constrains future expansion of conservation lands.

I DO support the recommendation to remove 20 miles of other major thoroughfares and roadways through KPC’s preserve system.

Prairie advocates highlight the importance of keeping the Katy Prairie in its wild and natural state for the good of the all people of the Greater Houston Area, as KPC:

Reduces downstream flooding by absorbing and holding back floodwaters.

Improves water quality through filtration

Has grasses that sequester carbon by capturing greenhouse gases and improve air quality

Offers people in the Greater Houston area recreational opportunities

Provides local foods, supports the local economy through nature tourism and agricultural production

Last but not least… Serves as habitat for an amazing diversity of our area’s natural wildlife.

THE KATY PRAIRIE TOOK THOUSANDS OF YEARS TO ESTABLISH AND IT MAY NOW TAKE ONLY ONE MORE GENERATION TO LOSE IT.

I WANT YOU TO STOP OR SIGNIFICANTLY MODIFY THE HARRIS COUNTY MAJOR THOROUGHFARE AND FREEWAY PLAN TO SAVE THE KATY PRAIRIE!

(end of cut and past email)

— — — — —

KatyPrairie2

Katy Prairie Conservancy thanks everyone who attended Monday night’s meeting or has already submitted comments in support of the Katy Prairie. For those that want more information and details as to what Katy Prairie is fighting, here are some helpful links:

View a recap of last night’s meeting (click here)

Review key points and background on the importance of the Katy Prairie Preserves (click here)

Photos – People of the Katy Prairie – Families, Hunters, Volunteers, Students (click here)

The Harris County Major Thoroughfare and Freeway Plan will be submitted to the City of Houston’s Planning Commission on Thursday, May 5, 2016, along with a summary of the comments and/or concerns raised at the public meeting. Katy Prairie will keep you informed as to future meetings and opportunities to get involved.

If you wish more information, please contact Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Mary Anne Piacentini (Executive Director) at (281) 851-8762 cell phone or (713) 523-6135 office phone.

KatyPrairie3

 Posted by at 11:26 am
Apr 302016
 
TVresidents2

Indoor Monarch Caterpillar & Butterfly Enclosers Visited by Tuscany Village Residents

Monarch Garden: Golden-Agers Raising Golden Butterflies

Nursing facility residents are becoming grandmas and grandpas again

A movement involving golden agers, butterflies and native plants has begun in a quiet facility in Pearland Texas just south of Houston. The residents of Tuscany Village Nursing Facility and Rehabilitation are sharing the excitement of education on the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly.

Amy Harkins, a geropsychologist who sees patients at Tuscany Village, and Delia Cuellar, whose mother is a resident, have melded their ideas. They are spearheading a project to create a butterfly garden and indoor habitat at Tuscany Village to bring nature to the residents of this nursing facility.

This project has input from several knowledgeable experts, one of them being Margaret Gnewuch, past president of the Native Plant Society of Texas – Houston Chapter. She said, “Ninety-five percent of Pearland’s soil is ‘black gumbo’ clay, sticky when wet and like concrete when dry.  There are a number of Texas native plants that not only tolerate black gumbo, our heavy rains and summertime drought, but also thrive in it.  Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, a large shrub or small tree is a butterfly magnet with one-inch fragrant white balls in summer.  Large butterflies like Swallowtails love it, even if they’re getting tossed around in the wind as they seek its nectar.  The winter seed balls feed 25 species of birds including ducks. Needless to say, we plan to incorporate this and many other native Texas plants in the garden as food sources for the butterflies.”

The garden will provide respite for the butterflies, a Monarch Waystation. It will also provide a relaxing and healing place for the residents of the facility.

Dr. Harkins said, “It is well documented that interaction with nature provides people of all ages relaxation and enjoyment. This is something that is particularly needed by elders facing medical crisis and decreased independence.  It is also hoped that community volunteers will come to the facility to help tend the garden and meet the residents. As a result, there will be greater interaction between the residents and the community with the garden as the meeting place.  Bringing the community to the elders will serve to reduce the isolation that many residents feel. Many elders have stories about gardens and nature to share that will stimulate discussion between elders and community volunteers.”

Ms Cuellar has built two enclosures (shown above) that are on display in the main dining room and has begun to aggregate many native Texas plants for the garden. One of her enclosures has a milkweed plant with hungry Monarch caterpillars munching on the plant’s leaves. The other houses the chrysalises that the caterpillars eventually form.

Ms Cuellar said, “Residents easily watch the life cycle of this beautiful creature. At any time of day, they can stroll by the enclosure in their wheelchairs and check on the progress of the little critters. Handouts are also available to explain what they are witnessing. As a Monarch chrysalis ecloses (hatches) they witness the fragile butterfly go through the process of drying their wings and gaining strength for their journey north or south, depending on the season. The residents then watch and help release the butterflies outside.”

garden2

Tuscany Village Butterfly Garden (nearing completion)

“The Barcelo Family owns this facility and have been very generous and supportive of this project”, Ms Cuellar added. “They graciously helped out by having their landscaper build an 18 x 4 foot, stone-lined garden bed easily accessible to residents. We’re hoping to get the soil in the garden and start planting milkweeds and nectar plants within the next two weeks.”

The results so far have been inspiring. The elders are enjoying the program and discussing it with their visitors. For those with greater disabilities, facility staff members are assisting them to visit the Monarch enclosures. Dr. Harkins is scheduling speakers to give presentations on native plants and about Monarch butterflies. Gail Barcelo is talking about decorating the facility with butterfly balloons. Michelle Ayala, the activities director, is even scheduling events at the nursing facility using a butterfly theme.

Dr. Harkins recently brought her two young children to Tuscany Village to see the caterpillars and visit with the residents. She said “My daughter Evie recently said that she wanted to go back and see all the grandmas and grandpas.”

It’s so magical.

rainbow2

Rainbow at Tuscany Village – A sign of good things to come!

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
Apr 292016
 
JohnRivenburgh

John Rivenburgh – Have Pruning Shears… Will Travel!

John Rivenburgh: Texas ‘Gipsy Winemaker’ Considers Opportune Times & Real Texas Wines

Sitting in the shady spot just off Fredericksburg’s busy Main Street with John Rivenburgh sharing some Texas wine, he said, “One day I knew I needed a change. Bending Branch Winery was a good place for me. But, I want to explore some new opportunities. Bending Branch’s Bob Young and I are still on good terms and we still plan to collaborate on some projects going forward. ”

The new opportunities that Rivenburgh now sees revolve around the changing paradigm in the Texas wine industry. We are coming on a time when many new vineyards are being planted in the hill country and many are entering their production phase that add substantial new acreage. As a result, there will be a lot more vines and grapes to work with, and in turn, a lot more Real Texas wines to be made.

“Where are we today?” John asked in a rhetorical tone. “We need more Texas wine. Sometime very soon, there will be a time like we have not yet seen. There will be so many Texas grapes available that wineries should not have to buy out-of-state of make their wines.”

I’m hoping that Rivenburgh is right. That will mean that the days of “For Sale in Texas Only” wines here will be a thing of the past. You think?

Rivenburgh wants to be the person with what he refers to as “the important combination of experience and reputation” that can assist anyone that is really serious about making hill country wines. Over the years at Bending Branch, Rivenburgh showed that he had a knack for exploring new grape varieties like Tannat that meet the demands of our Texas climate. Also, he has literally had his “hands in the mix” making gold medal winning wines from both established and “innovative” grape varieties.

“Some might be calling me a ‘Gipsy winemaker’ because I believe that I can help a number of hill country wineries up their winemaking game”, said Rivenburgh.” He even wants to make some wines that will carry his own “Rivenburgh Wines” brand, as well.

But, it’s not all about making wine for Rivenburgh. He said, “There are so many new growers that they need somebody with my viticultural expertise. With my background, I’m able to help new growers avoid costly mistakes in their vineyards. I can also work the other direction to help new wineries source their fruit specifically for the wines they want to make. In some cases, I might be bringing together both growers and wineries for their mutual benefit. That’s actually one business model that I’d prefer.”

An example of Rivenburgh’s ambitions is the relationship he has already established with John and Dabs Hollimon at 1851 Vineyards located south of Fredericksburg on Highway 16. He has provided assistance in all aspects of vineyard and winery operations down to varietal selection working under a multi-year contract.

Let’s wish Rivenburgh, one of our most favored ‘Gipsy Winemakers’, the best of success in his new business venture.

JR-Holster

JR’s (John Rivenburgh’s) Holster

 Posted by at 3:18 pm
Apr 172016
 

Paul and Merrill Bonrrigo – Learn about Texas Wine for two of its Modern Pioneers

Texas Wine: April 19th at Texas Wine School with Texas’s True Wine Pioneers and More…

Texas Wine – Past, Present & Future with Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo of Messina Hof; Tuesday, April 19, 7-9pm – only $20 per person

Messina Hof is the 3rd oldest winery in Texas, and is the most awarded and renowned Texas wine in national and international competitions. Hear from Messina Hof founders Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo how Messina Hof has influenced the Texas wine industry, and learn what grape varieties are their futureRegister now!

For White Wine Lovers…

Everyday Whites – Tuesday, April 26, 7-9pm – only $40 per person

Ready to branch out beyond Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? Come discover a new go-to white wine just in time for summer.

SPIRITS at The Texas Wine School

Bourbon – Thursday, May 12, 7-9pm – only $40 per person

Gin – Thursday, May 26, 7-9pm – only $40 per person

 Posted by at 10:32 am
Apr 142016
 
TexasFineWine-Barrrels

Texas Fine Wine Wineries Offer New Spring Releases

Texas Fine Wine’s New Rich Reds, Whites and Fruit-Forward Rosés Come from Abundant 2015 Harvest

Spring in Texas signals bluebonnets and a whole host of other wildflowers. But, for wine enthusiasts across the State, they are anxiously awaiting the new releases from the 2015 vintage and newly bottled red wines. The wineries of Texas Fine Wine have exciting new releases to share, including the first-ever “orange wine” [no they don’t mean orange like the fruit] in Texas as well as a new winery keg program for guests who want to take home a growler of Texas wine.

The group of five distinctive Texas wineries that make up Texas Fine Wine are dedicated to making quality Texas appellation wines from Texas vineyards and thus setting the highest standards for wine in the Texas. Here’s a look at the new releases and offerings from the Texas Fine Wine wineries:

Bending Branch Winery in Comfort is releasing its 2015 Comfortage, Hoover Valley Vineyards, Roussanne ($28) and 2015 Riven Rock Vineyard Viognier ($34), both grown in the Texas Hill Country, as well as its 2015 High Plains Cinsaut ($24).  The Comfortage Roussanne is fermented half in stainless steel and half in oak barrels, so it offers crisp citrus flavors that comes with a great mouthfeel, pairing well with creamy cheeses, vinaigrette salads, quiches and a host of light recipes. The 2015 Riven Rock Viognier shows notes of apricot and a hint of vanilla creaminess, and exhibits minerality that complements seafood dishes. Bending Branch’s 2015 High Plains Rosé tastes of ripe strawberries and has a slight green olive brininess that pairs well with charcuterie and cheese, smoked pork loin, and pasta with pesto.
These wines are available at the winery; Comfortage can be found at some H-E-Bs.

Brennan Vineyards in Comanche has three new 2015 Viognier releases: Classic Viognier ($17) from the estate vineyard, Reserve Viognier ($25) from the Newburg Vineyards in Comanche County, and the first-ever Cellar Select Viognier ($25).
Brennan Vineyards Classic Viognier has big, bold, beautiful notes of grilled peaches, Meyer lemons, and citrus blossom. The Reserve Viognier, specific to the Newburg Vineyard, is refined with an aromatic presence of honeysuckle, nectarines, and key lime zest rounded out with a mineral- driven finish.  The Cellar Select Viognier is the state’s first “Orange Wine” [referring to its bronze-like color] a white wine for a red wine lover. This white wine was made using red wine techniques, with intentional skin contact to produce extra color. The Cellar Select Viognier offers big, dry, intense aromas of granny smith apples and subtle hints of white flowers, with gentle tannins.  Viognier pairs well with grilled salmon, soft cheese, and grilled quail and dove. Brennan is also releasing its 2015 Mourvèdre Dry Rosé ($20), a dynamic blend of 71 percent Mourvèdre and 29 percent Grenache. A winery favorite, this rosé offers notes of strawberry, golden raspberries and rose petals. These wines are available at the winery in Comanche and 4.0 Cellars in Fredericksburg; the Classic Viognier can also be found at Specs, Total Wine, Goody Goody and other Texas wine stores.

Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, specializing in Italian wines, plans to add a keg program this spring, making it one of the only wineries in the state with a “wine on tap” system. Duchman Family Winery will offer its popular Vermentino, Montepulciano and Dry Rosé in 750-ml growlers, which save on packaging and promotes sustainability.
It also announces several new spring releases, including the 2015 Duchman Dry Rosé of Montepulciano ($20), with notes of wild strawberry – a perfect sipping wine that also pairs well with cheeses and lighter fare. The 2015 Vermentino ($20) with classic citrus and light floral notes, pairs well with seafood and pesto. Duchman is having a limited release of its 2012 Estate Aglianico ($46; only 52 cases produced). It’s a rustic, savory wine with dark fruit and structured tannins and pairs with braised meats, grilled game, and hearty mushroom dishes. These 2015 Vermentino will be widely available at fine wine retailers and restaurants in Texas. The Dry Rosé and Estate Aglianico will only be available in the tasting room and online. Made especially for the Old Settlers Music Festival in Driftwood (April 14-16), Duchman will also be releasing limited edition Festival blends – Harmony White ($16) and Mandolin Red ($22). These wines are available at the festival and winery.

Pedernales Cellars in Stonewall has its fifth release of its Texas Albariño ($30, winery only) with prominent notes of candied green apple with subtle hints of banana and freshly cut grass. A buttery mouth feel balances the crisp acidity. The Texas Albariño pairs excellently with sushi (and lighter seafood fare). Its flagship wine, 2015 Texas Viognier ($16), reflects the mild weather and long growing season with aromas of peach and honeysuckle, with a touch of orange zest on the palate, pairing well with roast chicken and pasta dishes. The 2015 vintage of its Texas Dry Rosé ($30, winery only) is a Provencal-style Grenache Rosé, featuring lovely aromas of strawberries and ripe red fruits, is well-balanced with fresh, crisp acidity. They also offer two new reds, including the 2014 Texas GSM ($26), representing the seventh year of its Rhone-style blend incorporating Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache from the estate Hill Country vineyard and partner vineyards in Texas. This medium-bodied, rich red blend delivers aromas of raspberry, fennel, mushroom, and molasses, and a soft finish for pairing with savory meat dishes and sautéed vegetables. Finally, the 2013 Bingham Vineyards Tempranillo Reserve ($40, winery only) showcases the elegance of Texas Tempranillo. The nose includes notes of cherry, raspberry, and truffle along with hints of licorice and sage, with a rich and complex finish, pairing well with roast pork and BBQ. Pedernales wines are available at fine wine retailers in Texas.

Spicewood Vineyards introduces two new signature releases: its 2015 Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($20) along with its first-ever Texas High Plains Sauvignon Blanc ($18) and Texas High Plains 2014 Tempranillo ($24). The Estate Sauvignon Blanc has aromas of citrus and papaya with notes of ripe grapefruit and a refreshing minerally notes, while the Texas High Plains Sauvignon Blanc, made from grapes from Martin Vineyards, expresses more gooseberry and lemongrass flavors. Both Sauvignon Blancs pair well with spring and summer vegetables, fish and grilled chicken, and are great summer sippers, too. Spicewood also offers a new Texas High Plains Tempranillo (made from Bayer Family Vineyards grapes) that just won gold at the 2016 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. This red has notes of blueberries and plums and is a softer style of Tempranillo with subtle tannins and brighter fruit notes, pairing well with grilled meats, pizza and Mexican food. These wines are available at the winery or online only.

Texas Fine Wine group wineries promotes its award-winning wines, events, winemakers and growers at major wine education conferences such as TEXSOM, wine and food festivals, sommelier meetings and tastings, media events, restaurant dinners, and its signature Texas Fine Wine events. Texas Fine Wine invites wine enthusiasts to follow Texas Fine Wine on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Duchman Growlers - Very Interesting!

Duchman Growlers – Very Interesting!

http://texasfinewine.com/

 

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