Buffalo Gap W&F Summit: Guy Stout’s Tasting Spectacular
Yesterday morning at 10 am, we were presented with a 21 wine rapid fire tasting prepared and presented by Guy Stout, Certified Master Sommelier, Corporate Director of Beverage Education for The Glazer’s Family of Companies and the only self-proclaimed “Cowboy Sommelier” that I know. It was a mash up of wines from Argentina, Texas and California, but well organized generally in order of light an bright to thick and chewy.
Of the 21 wines, 9 were well chosen examples of the wines from Texas. Guy led-off with a white wine from his own lone star state, Duchman Family Winery Vermentino with lemon lime notes and an underlying minerally character. My friend Alfonzo, please noticed that I didn’t use the no-no word – “minerality” anywhere in that wine description. Winemaker Todd Webster presented Brennan Vineyards Viognier is perhaps a classic example of today’s Texas wine; clean and crisp with medium body and notes of peach and a hint of jasmine. Gary McKibben presented his Red Caboose Winery Lenoir-Tempranillo blend. Lenior (aka Black Spanish, Jacquez) that showed how Lenoir can be integrated into an excellent table wine as a partner with Tempranillo, the leading contender for the leading red grape in Texas.
About midway through the tasting four Texas wines were presented back-to-back. These included the Bending Branch Winery Tempranillo (Texas High Plains) that was whole berry fermented to provide a mouthful of black cherry characteristics, and the always fun and pleasing McPherson Cellars Tre Colore, a blend of red grapes (Carignan and Mourvedre) along with a white grape (Viognier). It is a great red wine for warm Texas summers particularly if served slightly chilled.
Then came one of my favorite wines in Guy’s tasting. It was Pedernales Cellars GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend). As indicated by Perdenales’s President, Fredrik Osterberg, it was a classic blend with a “Texas twist”. This GSM was clean and crisp with red and black fruit characteristics and a delightful and lively nose with both fruit notes and vanilla and spice from barrel aging. The four-set of Texas wines was completed by Llano Estacado Winery Cellar Reserve Merlot (Newsom Vineyards – Texas High Plains). Llano VP and executive winemaker, Greg Bruni, presented the wine and described is medium body and plum fruit notes. This wine should remind us that Merlot, while not always in the spotlight in Texas, is a versatile grape for Texas.
Another show stopper was a pre-release tasting of the Lost Oak Winery Gold Label Shiraz presented by winemaker Jim Evans. This wine was rich with sweet blackberry fruit mixed with smoky and minerals, qualities that makes this wine equally at home as a sipper or when enjoyed in combination with a grilled rare steak.
Closing out the Texas representatives on this international wine panel was Dr. Richard Becker (co-founder of the Buffalo Gap Wine & Food Summit) and owner of Becker Vineyards. He presented his proprietary red blend – Raven. Normally, this wine is a blend of Malbec and Petite Verdot, but in 2009, he lost his Malbec to a late spring freeze and decided to pair what he thought was some pretty darn good PV with Texas Hill Country Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a premium red blend and brought both the deep color and chewiness of the PV with a delightful tannic structure and aromas from the Cabernet.
I’d be remiss not to highlight the two wines from Argentina that included Alamos Malbec and the Don Migel Gascon Malbec both from the Argentine Mendoza region (very much like our own Texas High Plains) that has brought this grape to the international forefront and defined its character. These were both thick, dark and well extracted wines with a vibrant purple color and blackberry, blueberry and cherry notes with a hint of mocha.
By noon, we were finished with Guy’s 21 wine tasting and exited the tent to seek out lunch prepared by Stephen Pyles with a menu derived from his Stamplede66 restaurant offerings. Honey Fried chicken and Texas grass fed Wagyu beef brisket were accompanied by chopped salad, German potato salad all served under the live oak trees on the Perini Ranch with a wonderful bottle of bright red Malbec Rose’ from Brennan Vineyards [I love that color].
I finished off lunch with a seasonal berry cobbler and a Dr. Pepper float with Snickers ice cream. Now, for the nap!