Dec 272009
 

Best of VintageTexas Wine Blog:  Top Ten (Most Popular) Countdown for 2009

Want to know what wine lovers in Texas (and the rest of the Internet-connected world) found most popular on VintageTexas based on the number of accesses over the past year? Well, read below. Topics of interest include wines from Texas, Spain and Italy (a good combination), The grape otherwise known as Black Spanish (or Lenior), and my rant on my self-proclaimed appointment to the position of Texas Wine Czar.

Number 10: If I Was Appointed the Texas Wine Czar

I would do the following ten things to promote Texas wines:

1. Annex a state that had at least 10,000 acres of quality producing grape vine to erase the deficit we have in the number of acres of Texas grapes. Going from 60 to over 200 Texas wineries has stretched our 4,000 acres too far. This has forced some Texas wineries to make Texas wine with out of state grapes

2. Banish the use of the phrase “For Sale in Texas Only” on the back wine bottle label of “Texas” wines. This phrase is code for there are not enough Texas grapes in this wine for it to be called Texas appellation.

3. Proclaim that winemakers must learn how to make more good table wines from grapes that can be grown anywhere in the state like the French American hybrids: Black Spanish, Norton and Blanc du Bois.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1192

Number 9: Great Grape Stomp Off in New Braunfels, Texas (and Win Free Tickets)

Hosted by the Texas Hill Country Wineries and Vintage Oaks at the Vineyard, this annual event allows couples to test their foot stomping and juice grinding abilities.  The event will be open to over 100 teams scheduled to crush over 1,000 pounds of grapes! Bring your own team to stomp, taste and explore! Arrive early to register for the grape stomp competition conducted by Dry Comal Creek Vineyards!

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1122

Number 8: Video: Black Spanish – The Mysterious Red Wine of Texas

This video features a tasting of Black Spanish red wine with Franklin Howser owner of Dry Comal Creek Vineyards.

Several months ago, I blogged about my experiences on a Hill Country Winery tour with the grape known as Black Spanish (otherwise known as Lenoir) that has a long history both in Texas and Internationally. It continues to be one of the most highly accessed articles posted on VintageTexas.com during the past year.

Black Spanish actually has many names that go back over a hundred and fifty years back into history: Jacques, Jaquez, or Jack, as well as El Paso, Burgundy and Lenoir. The credentials of Texas Black Spanish were established in the mid-1860’s when its vines were introduced by the millions into Southern France. It was found to furnish an excellent, Phylloxera-resistant root stock onto which the classic French grape vines could be grafted. Additionally, it also made a superior, deeply colored red wine. In Texas, reports of that period can be found on Lenoir grapes growing in the “Sand Hills” of Bastrop county, that were “as fine as any Zinfandel” of its day.

More: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=852

Number 7: Texas Winery Passport

A Texas winery is a destination – an escape to a world of taste, refinement and natural beauty. Together, Texas wineries form one of the world’s great wine countries. Texas is actually about the size of France with more than 160 wineries and eight viticultural areas. It’s time to come and experience the Texas vintage.

Well, Texas now has its own passport – a winery passport that is. The Texas Department of Agriculture is offering these passports to visitors to Texas wineries and tasting rooms. This passport is your gateway to Texas winery touring.

Your passport awaits you in the TDA Passport display at wineries around the state. In the passport, you can record your Texas wine tasting experiences, favorite wines and have it stamped with the winery codes.

When you have visited four wineries and had each visit validated with a stamp, you can log onto to the TDA website at: www.gotexanwine.org. Simply click on the “Passport Rewards” tab, enter the winery codes from your passport andprovide  your contact information. When you have four visits validated, you will receive a FREE reward item from the Texas Department of Agriculture.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=108

Number 6: A Morning in Houston with Drops of Golden Dew: Dotson-Cervantes Gotas de Oro

It was 9:30 on a weekday morning when the door bell rang. I expected this as, the evening before, I received a call from Alphonse Dotson. He said that he and his wife Martha were  going to be in Houston visiting his Mother. They were on the verge of releasing their first wine and wanted to stop by to visit with my wife Delia and me.

Alphonse and Martha arrived at our home in central Houston on a sunny, dew-laden morning.  We leisurely sat in our living room as we tasted their new wine, the first under the Wines of Dotson-Cervantes label with the fascinating name “Gotas de Oro”. The name was a contribution by Martha which translates to “Drops of Gold” from her native Spanish.

As we relaxed and talked about friends, family and common acquaintances, I poured the wine that was well described by its name. The silky yellow liquid poured from the bottle with the color of golden drops of morning dew. The initial taste was pure tropical expression with sweet, very ripe pineapple with a follow-on of apricot and nectarine. Perfumed jasmine aromatics arose from the glass. The finish included a hint of musk. This was really one complex wine; quite an accomplishment for the couple’s first commercial release.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=1229

Number 5: Texas’ Best Wines VintageTexas.com – For the Holiday Season of 2008 

It’s time to start seriously thinking….wine selection.

Thanksgiving Day and other holiday festivities are just around the corner. Don’t be caught empty handed and even worse, don’t be caught without a few Texas wines that can amply compliment your best holiday fare and please your friends and family.

I have made this list of Texas’ Best Wines of 2008 based on my travels and experiences during the year.

My selections are based on quality, taste, varietal display and value. Please realize that, I have NOT tasted all the wines in Texas. But, I did give it a good shot.  I know that there are other Texas wines of high quality and wonderful character that have not made this year’s list. We will have to start again in 2009. If you have your own favorite Texas wines that did not make the 2008 list, please write back and mention your favorite selections using the comment feature on this posting. I look forward to receiving your comments.

In the 2008 Texas’ Best wine list, I have tried to include all major categories of Texas wines including dry whites and reds, sweet white wines, Rose (dry and sweet), and fruit wines. I have also included a category for super premium red wines for wines over $28 per bottle.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=214

Number 4: What Texas Wine Goes with the “Big Apple”

It was a brisk fall evening in Manhattan when we arrived at Trio Restaurant and Wine Bar. I had arrived in the “Big Apple”  the previous day to make sure that all was ready to give New Yorkers what would be likely their first taste of the best wines Texas had to offer.

Trio proprietor Johnny Ivanac and Houstonian Ed Dent (and Wine Society of Texas member) graciously made arrangements to bring a selection of Texas wines from two award winning Texas wineries (Messina Hof Wine Cellars – Bryan, Texas; Becker Vineyards – Stonewall, Texas) to pair with Trio’s exquisite cuisine. The event was well attended and staged in the private and intimate, lower dinning room at Trio.

Apprehension ran high but these were trusting people, as they appeared to be more “Texas-curious” eonophiles than experienced Texas wine drinkers when they arrived. To start the event, we decided to keep them in their comfort zone with a taste of Long Island Champagne.

The first course was a cold seafood salad with clams, New Zealand mussels, calamari, octopus and shrimp served with Messina Hof Barrel Reserve Chardonnay.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=51

Number 3: The Wine in Spain Comes Mainly with the Cuisine

Somewhere I have read: “Food is so deliciously exciting in Spain that choosing just one dish means missing the exciting pleasure of another. Perhaps this is why the Spanish invented tapas and the wonderful wines that accompany them.”

I have had the pleasure to travel in Spain and experience its unique food and wine culture. My overall impression is that the food and wine there was plentiful, varied and amazingly inexpensive. The Spanish tradition of tapas (little dishes of snacks that are served anytime, especially in quaint micro-bars known as “tascas”) is a marvelous way to sample the local food and wine scene.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=7

Number 2: Wine Quiz #2 – Know your Italian Wines

1. What is the most famous red wine grape varietal used in Tuscany?

A. Asti Spumante
B. Vin Santo
C. Sangiovese
D. Marsala

2. Chianti is which of the following:

A. A wine producing region of Sicily
B. A wine producing region in Tuscany
C. Historically, was a blended wine made from red and white  grapes
D. Can contain up to 10 percent non-Italian varietals
E. The name of the wicker basket used for serving wine

More and answers at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=62

Number 1: Texas Black Spanish – The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir:
Regional Character, International Reputation

My recent Hill Country Holiday Wine Tour was an opportunity to taste a great variety of Texas wines – Classic varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and others; Mediterranean varietals of Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Viognier and Rousanne; Hybrid grape varietals such as Norton, Lenoir and Blanc du Bois. One of the most impressive aspects of this trip was to taste the progress being made to first-rate wines in Texas from this latter group, and especially Black Spanish or as it is otherwise known – Lenoir.

Lenoir actually has many names that go back over a hundred and fifty years back into history: Jacques, Jaquez, or Jack, as well as El Paso, Burgundy and Black Spanish. The credentials of Texas Black Spanish were established in the mid-1860’s when its vines were introduced by the millions into Southern France. It was found to furnish an excellent, Phylloxera-resistant root stock onto which the classic French grape vines could be grafted. Additionally, it also made a superior, deeply colored red wine. In Texas, reports of that period can be found on Lenoir grapes growing in the “Sand Hills” of Bastrop county, that were “as fine as any Zinfandel” of its day.

More at: http://vintagetexas.com/blog/?p=323

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