Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – June 22, 2010
Plano’s Patrick Davies Produces Award-Winning Wines
Raise a glass to Plano homeboy, Patrick Davies the young turk winemaker for Eagle Castle Winery in Paso Robles, Calif. Davies is not yet 30, but awards for his wines are pouring in – best of show, double gold and silver medals at West Coast competitions, as well as right here in Dallas at the 2009 and 2010 Dallas Morning News competitions. Celebs also got a taste of Eagle Castle’s boutique wines at events leading up to the 2010 Golden Globe Awards.
Davies’ love for the grape grew from his teenage years spent helping his parents establish a vineyard and winery in the Red River Valley near Muenster. After graduating from Plano West High School , he earned a horticulture degree with special emphasis on enology and viniculture from Texas A&M University. An internship at premiere Texas winery Llano Estacado eventually led him to California’s fast-growing wine region of Paso Robles and Eagle Castle. In just four years, he went from a temp post maintaining the barrels to assistant winemaker to winemaker. He already has a reputation for robust reds and balanced whites.
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Texas Wine of the Month: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Viognier, 2008
by Jessica Dupuy, Texas Monthly: Eat My Words
Ever been to Bend, Texas? Located in the northern part of the Texas Hill Country, it’s considered part of the Way Out Wineries Wine Trail and is certainly around a bend or two of ranch and county roads. Bend is where you’ll find Alamosa Wine Cellars, home to a dynamic winemaking couple, Jim and Karen Johnson, some of the state’s most provocative Rhone-style wines, and the winery from which this month’s Wine of the Month derives.
With the help of San Antonio’s Steven Kreuger, resort sommelier for the Westin La Cantera Resort, we’ve found yet another Texas Viognier that deserves a special nod. As you may remember, this aromatic and fruity French grape has made quite a showing throughout the state with many winemakers and enthusiasts alike calling it one of the star grapes of Texas. Kreuger couldn’t agree more.
He hosts a daily Texas wine tasting at the Steinheimer’s bar at the resort with two-ounce pours of three different wines—and he always starts with a Viognier. One of his favorites, and this month’s Texas Wine of the Month: Alamosa Wine Cellars, Viognier, 2008.
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LONE STAR INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION: 2010 Results
The Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association hosted the 27th Annual Lone Star International Wine Competition (LSIWC) on June 7-8 at the Grapevine Convention Center.
Nearly 600 wines from around the world were judged in 30+ categories by a panel of restaurant owners, sommeliers, chefs and other wine experts from Texas. This year’s co-chairs were Barbara Werley, M.S., Pappas Brothers Steakhouse’s Master Sommelier and Beverage Director; and Michael Zerbach, long time chair of the event and winner of the John E. Crosby, Jr. Award for his achievements in increasing the stature and visibility of the Lone Star Wine Competition awarded by the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association Board of Directors.
The LSIWC is three competitions in one – a Texas Competition, an International Competition, and a Limited Production Competition. To qualify for the Texas Competition, the wine must be 75% volume from Texas grapes.
In the Texas Competition, the following Grand Stars were awarded:
Fortified Wine – Messina Hof Winery 2005 Papa Paulo Port Private Reserve
Late Harvest/Dessert/Ice Wine – Becker Vineyards 2009 Clementine
Red Table Wine – Becker Vineyards 2008 Barbera Peter’s Prairie
White Table Wine – Grape Creek Vineyards 2009 Lost Draw Vineyards Viognier
More results at: http://www.txwines.org/competitions/lonestar_results.asp
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“Big Hat, No Cattle” Sticks to Texas Wine Industry
Finally catching up this morning on a week’s worth of wine news while dusting off a month’s worth of tasting notes deserving highlight mentions here at WineZag, Jessica Meyer’s Dallas Morning News report on the Texas wine industry plucked my funny bone. Somehow in the land of big hats, cattle ranches, Halliburton, ExxonMobil, and republican safe zones for ex-presidents and veeps licking their term riddled wounds, lives a vein of appreciation for a developing wine industry. While I can legitimately stretch my domestic wine focus beyond California and Washington State to secondary wine growing states like New York and Virginia, I harbor a significant (and admittedly untested since I have not tasted through a broad enough portfolio of Texas wine) personal bias against Texas as a “place and culture” for producing authentic wines for competition on the world stage.
Ms. Meyers comically reconfirmed my suspicions in her report “As Texas Cultivates Wine Industry, Critics Say Focus Should Change” with a quote from Texas Democratic agriculture commissioner candidate Hank Gilbert.
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Texas Wine Hits the Books
Texas Tech University will offer state’s first viticulture degree specialization
Texas Tech University students will soon have the chance to earn a degree focused on viticulture and enology, giving them the tools to be winemakers of the future. The school believes the program will also help Texas’ wine industry grow.
The Lone Star State is currently the fifth-largest state in terms of wine production, with more than 175 wineries and eight appellations. Texas Tech sits in Lubbock, in the middle of the state’s second-largest appellation, the High Plains AVA. (Ironically, Lubbock was a dry city until a vote earlier this year.) Viticulture and enology programs at schools like University of California at Davis and Cornell University in New York are credited with helping their states’ wine industry grow and mature.
Texas Tech’s viticulture and enology degree specialization is currently being offered within the Horticulture and Turfgrass Sciences major and will begin with the fall 2009 semester. “This course is brand new, we’ve never offered it, nor has anyone else in the state,” said Dr. Ed Hellman, professor of viticulture at Texas Tech. Hellman explained that the course arose out of a vacuum of wine education that exists between the coasts. “We’ve wanted to do something like this for awhile, but only recently have we had the staff.”
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