VintageTexas 2012 Top Texas Wines – Honorable Mentions, For Darn Good Reasons Too!
As I have learned in previous years, even when I list what I believe to be the ten best Texas wines, there are still stellar wines from the Lone Star state with distinction. I’ve chosen a few honorable mentions for this year’s 2012 Top Texas wines for the reasons stated below:
Best Value Wine – Red
Becker Vineyards Reserve Merlot 2010 – Just when I’m ready to throw in the towel on single varietal Bordeaux grape varieties grown in Texas, leave it to Doc Becker. He offers this really good Merlot and at a value price less than $13 and it readily available and many supermarkets and wine shops around Texas.
Best Value Wine – White
CapRock Winery Roussanne 2010 – You are probably tired of hearing me rant and rave about Texas-grown Roussanne. It is marvelous and McPherson’s Reserve Roussanne deserved to be in the top ten wines this year. But, this wine is Roussanne for the common man (and woman). It’s generally available in distribution around the state and goes for around $10-12. This wine is a steal! Also, look for the 2011 or multi-vintage versions of this wine.
Best “Creative” Wine
Brushy Vineyards Creek Boom Chocolatté – A fortified Tannat Port-style wine with an infusion of chocolate. This wine defines what is meant when someone says, “This wine is dessert in a glass!”. It’s not cheap and you have to order and ship it from the winery, but it’s it really worth every penny of it. Gold Medal winner from the 2012 Lone Star International Wine Competition. The bottle is a real hoot!
Best Non-Grape Wine
Sandstone Cellars Cider Dessert Wine – I don’t know what gave winemaker Don Pullum and winery owners Scott Haupert and Manny Silerio the idea for this wine. Is it wine or is it cider? My opinion is that it’s wine; barely sweet (with a proprietary formulation) and it’s fortified with spirits that provides a kick from both Texas-grown apples and a near 19% alcohol level.
Best Esoteric (Thinking Man’s/Woman’s) Wine
Bar Z Winery 2007 Sassy S – On my last trip up to the high plains around Lubbock, I ventured to the far northern extremity of the kingdom of Texas wine: Canyon, Texas. There I met up with Monty Dixon and tasted his wines. My description of the wines at the time read, “BarZ Wines are for those who savor and ponder”. If you like aged qualities of wines try this Sangiovese-dominated red blend amplified with a kiss of red Bordeaux that yields a crimson appearance with aromas of red berries, cedar, charcoal and dried flowers followed by cherry seed, mineral and brisk acidity on the palate with baking spice on the finish. That’s a lot to ponder!
Mark-My-Word: The Best (No-Name) Grapes for the Future of Texas Red Wine
Credit is due these two wineries for believing in red grapes that frankly most people have never heard of, but that just might just blow the lid off red wines in this state. Cheers to Stan Duchman and Dave Reilly at Duchman Family Winery for making their 2010 Aglianico. Stan poured this wine with me a few months ago and it was a surprise with natural crispness and notes of red-berries and smoke that could make a Pinot-lover give Texas wines a second look. Equal accolades go to Pat Brennan and Todd Webster at Brennan Vineyards for their Dark Horse wine made from Nero d’Avola. I’ve following the lead-up to this release and just experienced its aromatic joy. Jessica DuPuy said it best in her recent blog “smoky and spicy with hints of bright red fruit, wild orchid, white pepper” (click here). It’s a real nose-full. Both of these grapes derive from south-central Italy and Sicily – get the connection?