The major conclusion of the “Judgment of Houston” was readily evident in the rankings of the top scoring wines and how the top Texas wines placed with respect to the non-Texas ringers. The judges did their job well. They correctly identified all of the non-Texas ringers to be worthy of either gold or silver medals. Furthermore, roughly thirty of the top scoring Texas wines placed competitively with these wines.
Only one of the ringers outscored all of the Texas wines, this was the acknowledged “Wow-Wine” – Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc with its intense grapefruit kick and citrus tones. Ten out of the next eleven positions were occupied by gold medal Texas wines.
The following twenty Texas wines were intermixed with the well known ringers. This shows that a good selection of Texas’ best wines have the quality to compare favorably with perennial favorites like California’s Kenwood and Chateau Souverain, and noteworthy value wines from Washington’s Columbia Crest and Australia’s Yellowtail.
Most astounding in the results was the diversity of grape varietals and winemaking styles that the gold medal winning Texas wines represented: Five were Bordeaux-style wines based on Cabernet or Merlot, one dry rosé, one Sauvignon Blanc, and three sweet wines made from Muscat and Chenin Blanc.
The mix of high scoring varietals in this competition should not be surprising due to the size of Texas, which is actually comparable to that of France. It is like having the growing regions of Bordeaux, Rhone, Burgundy and Alsace all in the same state….and a lot closer to home.
Further, the Texas wines were also made by some of Texas’ best winemakers who are infusing Texas with international winemaking skills gained in France (Benedict Rhyne – consultant winemaker at Delaney Vineyards), Australia (Craig Parker at Flat Creek Estate) and California (Greg Bruni at Llano Estacado).
It was also interesting to note that the top ten Texas wines included five estate and single vineyard designated wines from Texas Hills, Flat Creek, Spicewood, Llano Estacado and Delaney Vineyards. Two came from collaborations with the powerhouse vineyard of the Texas High Plains – Newsom Vineyard. Remarkable? Not if you know the Newsom’s family commitment to quality vineyard operations and the impact that 3500 foot High Plains elevation has on grape growing. In total, Texas winemakers placed four single vineyard designated wines with gold and silver medal awards that were made with Newsom Vineyard fruit.
Next……The Texas Top Ten Tast-Off.