Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – Thanksgivings Day Edition

Write Off the Vine: Texas Wine News – Thanksgivings Day Edition

Nine Must-See Vineyards Along Wine Road 290 in Texas Hill Country

MARY G. RAMOS / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Highway 290 flirts with the Pedernales River for 40 miles in the Hill Country, offering a taste of the oak-studded landscape and the wines for which Texas is becoming famous.
Wineries have been popping up in the area like mushrooms in the last decade or so, and increasing numbers of visitors are coming to sample them. A recent poll by the travel Web site Orbitz.com found that the Hill Country is the nation’s second-fastest-growing wine destination, behind only California’s Napa Valley.

Of Texas’ more than 160 wineries, 30 are in the Hill Country. Nine of them have joined to form Wine Road 290 on the stretch from just east of Johnson City to nine miles west of Fredericksburg.

Most of the nine are boutique wineries, selling only in their own tasting rooms. Several also distribute to restaurants and shops in the state. The group holds six special events annually, with each member showcasing its wines with foods prepared by a local chef.

More and Winery List at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/travel/thisweek/stories/DN-winetrail_1122tra.ART0.State.Edition1.9e1f98.html

Texas Wine: Remember the Sangio! 

by Tim Moriarty / from Wine Enthusiast Magazine – UnResolved

Steven Krueger, the sommelier at the Westin La Cantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas, introduced me to two things while I was in town to attend the New World Wine and Food Festival, held every year in early November. One was Texas cowboy candy: he dropped candied jalapeños into flutes of sparkling wine, which obliterated the balance of the wine (and probably concealed some flaws) but also provided a sweet-heat drinking experience my sinuses won’t soon forget. The other was the wines of McPherson Cellars, but more on that in a Texas minute or two.

I attended the Festival to learn more about Texas wines. The most common Texas-grown wine grape varieties (winegrowing here dates back to the 1650s, so take that, California) include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Viognier. The soils are alkaline, sandy and well drained; the climate is marked by warm sunny days and cool nights.

From my tasting, Viognier is the variety that shows best and most consistently among producers. The Viogniers from the quality producers I found there were beautifully balanced with vivid acidity enlivening their delicious apricot flavor.

More and cajun turkey recipes at: http://blog.winemag.com/editors/2009/11/20/remember-the-sangio/

Wines that Hit the (Spicy) Sweet Spot with Cajun Fried Turkey

By Tina Danze / Dallas Morning News

With memories of last year’s smoked turkey still lingering, the panel couldn’t imagine a mild, oven-roasted bird for this month’s Thanksgiving wine pairing. So we ordered a spicy Cajun fried turkey.

This spicy fellow is looking for a sweetie, his wine match. Fried turkeys are widely available this time of year, and many people choose to fry their own in the backyard.

To accompany the turkey, we prepared Mirliton Dressing With Shrimp and Ham, a spicy squash dressing from Brigtsen’s Restaurant in New Orleans. The complexly seasoned dressing turned out to be spicier than the turkey and was a big hit.

To broaden the wine options, we sought matches in two price ranges: less than $15, and $15 to $30. For a crowd, choose one of our four winning budget wines. If you want to splurge, look to our six sensible picks in the next price tier.

2007 Becker Vineyards Claret, Texas joins big names of wine: Newton,  Ferrari-Carano, Gruet, Bogel and Au Bon Climat.

More wine recommendations at: http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/fea/taste/stories/DN-nf_winepaneljump_1125gd.State.Edition1.2cb32bc.html

Prospective wine-grape grower workshop Dec. 3

Paul Schattenberg / Texas A&M University

A Texas AgriLife Extension Service-sponsored “Prospective Wine-Grape Growers Workshop” is scheduled for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Fredericksburg.

The workshop will be presented at the AgriLife Extension office, Gillespie County Agriculture Building, 95 Frederick Road. Program registration will take place from 8:30-9 a.m.

“This workshop will be useful to those considering planting a commercial vineyard or for those who already have a vineyard and want to expand planting to a commercial scale,” said Penny Adams, AgriLife Extension viticulture advisor for the Hill Country.

Adams said the workshop was created by the Texas AgriLife Extension Viticulture Team to address the most common concerns small-scale producers may have prior to committing valuable resources towards a commercial vineyard enterprise.

Workshop topics include: necessary viticulture expertise, vineyard site selection, risk factors, vineyard labor requirements and vineyard economics.

AgriLife Extension presents a prospective growers workshop every six to eight weeks in regions of Texas conducive to wine-grape production, offering about eight workshops annually, Adams noted. She added that the next workshop would be held in Lubbock sometime in January.

The prospective growers workshop is a prerequisite for registration and acceptance into the Texas Tech Viticulture Certificate Program, she added. Cost for the workshop is $125 per person or $200 per couple, and includes educational materials and lunch.

Registration can be completed only through AgriLife Conference Services at their Web site or by calling 979-845-2604.

For program information, contact Adams at 830-997-7047 or psadams@ag.tamu.edu, or Fran Pontasch at 254-968-4144 or fmpontasch@ag.tamu.edu.

More information on growing wine grapes in Texas can be found at http://winegrapes.tamu.edu/.

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