VintageTexas 2009 Texas Best Wines
During the past year, I had the chance to taste a number of Texas wines. This included two wine competitions, a twitter taste-off and on the wine trail on the Texas High Plains, Hill Country, North Texas and Gulf Coast. The good news to report is that the vast majority of these wines I would consider to be of high quality and competitive in the global marketplace.
The hard part was narrowing this down to just a few wines to include in the VintageTexas list of Texas’ Best Wines for 2009. I realize that I have not tasted all of the wines in Texas and therefore may have omitted some serious contenders. For this, I apologize.
The one thing that I noticed (and you should too) in this years list is that there are interesting and innovative things that Texas winemakers are doing with white wines. I do not know if this says that Texas white wines are getting better overall or that recent vintages of red wines have suffered a bit more from the weather than the white wines. Perhaps, I just tended to taste more white wines than red wines this year due to the ungodly heat we experienced this year in Texas.
Regardless of the details, here is the VintageTexas list of Texas Best Wines for 2009 for you to enjoy. If you think that I have overlooked a particularly good Texas wine or your favorite, please respond as a comment to this blog (balloon button in upper-right corner of the blog) or contact me more privately by email. I am always looking for advice and input on good Texas wines to taste.
Addendum: I have received several emails since posting this blog yesterday from people that said that their local wine shop does not have some or all of the Texas wines on my 2009 Texas’ Best List (shown below). My response was for them to either go to the winery website (links shown below) as some sell wines online. Alternatively, I also suggested that they can call the winery directly and ask where their wines are sold or simply ask if the winery will ship their wine order. If Texas is what you want, there’s nothing that can stop you!
White Varietal and Table Wines
Flat Creek Estate Pinot Blanc, 2008 (www.flatcreekestate.com)
An inaugural vintage for this wine yielding a full bodied white wine dominated with tropical fruit qualities including passion fruit and guava leaving a long, crisp finish.
Grape Creek Vineyards, Viognier Lost Draw Vineyard 2008 (www.grapecreek.com)
Very stylistic, sleek Texas adaptation of Viognier, the queen of the French Rhone’s white grapes, offers crisp white peach and light apricot fruit, honey comb, and fragrant floral wildflower characteristics.
Llano Estacado, Viviana (White Blend) 2008 (www.llanowine.com)
A inspired blend of Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, Viognier, Riesling and Chardonnay. Aromas of honeysuckle, tropical fruits and hint of musk followed by a lemon-lime, just a modest hint of sweetness, silky feel and long finish.
Mandola Estate Winery, Vermentino 2008 (www.mandolaestatewinery.com)
Golden straw colored and lightly aromatic white from the grape of the same name native to Italy, mostly in the regions of Liguria and Tuscany and on the island of Sardinia. It makes for a bright, golden-colored white wine, with fruity aromas and bright acidity.
Becker Vineyards, Fleur Sauvage (Bogar Vineyard), 2008 (www.beckervineyards.com)
Chenin Blanc as it should be made, offering a slight straw color with a slight green hue, aromas of peach, honey with a hint of tropical fruit, the intense fruit flavor of muskmelon followed by almondy marzipan, a slight slippery slickness on the palate, and its clean soft finish.
Red Varietal and Table Wines
Inwood Estate Vineyards, Tempranillo-Cabernet 2005 (www.inwoodwines.com)
This wine continues to impress all that taste it with its opaque, purple color and rich dark berry flavors carrying vanilla and smoke. A marriage of Texas High Plains legacy (Cabernet) and future (Tempranillo).
Sandstone Cellars, VI (Red Blend) 2008 (www.sandstonecellarswinery.com)
A fusion of Touriga Nacional, Barbera, Primitivo and Zinfandel layers of complexity from deep and heavy to light and bright freshness merge dark fruit, chocolate and black pepper qualities.
McPherson Cellars, Grenache Mourvedre 2007 (www.mcphersoncellars.com)
A blend of Mediterranean red grapes commonly found in Chatauneuf du Pape in southern Rhone. It yields black cherry, raspberry, currants
Times Ten Cellars, (Red Blend) Cathedral Mountain Vino de Tierra Alta 2007 (www.timestencellars.com)
This newcomer pleases with an unfathomable broth of savory cherry, vanilla, clove and coffee characteristics integrating Texas Tempranillo, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Messina Hof Cabernet Franc, Double Barrel Reserve, 2005 (www.messinahof.com)
A blend of Texas Cabernet Franc with a skosh of Merlot from juice produced with extended skin contact meld to provide rich dark berry and plum fruit qualities with herbal overtones of vanilla and allspice. How did I miss this one before now.
Sweet or Dessert-Style Wines
Haak Vineyards & Winery, Madeira Blanc du Bois 2006 (www.haakwine.com)
Made from the French American hybrid grape, Blanc du Bois, in the classic (heat aged) Madeira style this wine captures sweet honeyed aromas with intense flavors of apricots and peaches preserves fused with almond, vanilla.
Landon Winery (Port-style) Grand Finale Texas Tawny Port (www.landonwinery.com)
This wine is based on extra-ripe Texas High Plains Cabernet Sauvignon and brings deep rich flavors of cassis and blackberries mated with Rich vanilla bean and smoky aromas.
Thanks for the list! I’ll have to start working my way through trying these. One of my personal goals this year is to expand my Texas wine experience, so this should be a good start.
Texas has so many wineries and visitors can taste some great wines. Our experience in visiting many of the Texas wineries was delightful. Each winery has its own personality.
My personal white wines I like are from the Muscat family followed by Blanc du Bois! Muscat wines are great alone or perhaps with a salad.
Nice list Russ. I had the privilege of tasting some of these during the Drink Local Wine conference this summer. Overall, I was impressed with how far Texas wine has come in terms of quality in such a short time. Unfortunately, finding Texas wine in California is basically impossible, and I was only able to bring one bottle back with me. I hope that I will have the opportunity to visit again sometime soon.
Lets put our heads together and see if we can do something in 2010 in your place or mine.