A Little Bull, Country Western Honky Tonkin’ and a Glass or Two of Texas “Chardonnay” at Brennan Vineyards
During my recent sit in the Brennan Vineyards (www.brennanvineyards.com) tasting room in Comanche, Texas, while I was trying to discern the nuances between their 2008 and 2009 Viogniers, in walked a lady. She was welcomed by Trelise Brennan with a friendly enough, “Would you like to taste some wine?” The response was immediate, “OK, but actually, I’m a beer drinker but want to buy a bottle of wine for a friend hosting a party. Do you have a Chardonnay?”
Trelise mentioned that Brennan Vineyards, like a growing number of Texas wineries, does not make a Chardonnay as this varietal can be difficult to grow in Texas. However, she offered, “How about our Viognier?” The look on the other side of the tasting room bar was one of puzzlement as if to say, “What, no Chardonnay? Is this a winery or what?”
I pitched in with a comment of my own saying, “You know that Viognier is in Texas what Chardonnay is in California.” To this I added, “When you taste the wine it’ll be dry like a Chardonnay, but with a taste of white peach, a dry white peach.”
Her acceptance of the Brennan Viognier was given with her smile and nod of her head. With that, she asked, “What do you have that’s like a Merlot?”
By this time, I had moved on to the red wines; the Brennan Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and their Austin Street Red, a blend of a warm weather Sicilian grape called Nero d’ Avola mixed with some Syrah and Barbera. Before Trelise could say that they didn’t have a Merlot either, I suggested to the tasting room guest that she should try the three Brennan Vineyards red wines and decide which she likes best. All three have what I think is the characteristic Brennan smoky style.
Which did she like best? I guessed it right. Her preference was the Syrah, likely the softest of the three red wines at Brennan Vineyard and most like Merlot to her taste buds. After the tasting, she ended up taking home three bottles of wine which is not bad for an acknowledged Texas beer drinker.
Before she left, I asked her, what she was doing in Comanche besides tasting wine. She said that she was looking at bulls, Brangus to be specific, a hybrid between Angus and Brahma. To me, this sounded like a marketing opportunity for Comanche County’s only winery, actually a bit of cross marketing: Imagine with every two bulls you get a hefty discount on a case of red wine from Brennan Vineyards. As you know, red meat does go with red wine!
In the evening, my wife and I returned to Brennan Vineyards for their monthly music event, Second Saturday Sounds that featured singer, songwriter Zane Williams. It was a night of C&W honky tonkin’, Texas wine country style in the Brennan Vineyards Austin House(http://www.zanewilliamsmusic.com/fr_index.cfm).
The music was accompanied with offerings of Brennan Vineyard’s signature red and white wine including the Syrah and Viognier, and grand food selections that included beef tenderloin tacos and a gourmet grilled quail pizza.
After that night, I had to admit (again), that there is no wine country like Texas wine country. Where else can you talk a little bull, do some boot scootin’ to fine country western music, and drink a glass of two of Texas “Chardonnay”. Stop on by and enjoy.
There are some really great Viogniers being made in Texas. I’ve really fallen in love with these wines in the last few months.
The Syrah also goes to show that Rhone varieties can be really outstanding here in Texas. I also love the thought of Texas producing some more uncommon varieties, like Nero d’Avola. I think that some of the more unique varieties are likely to end up being Texas’ claim to fame in the long run.
Way to go, Russ. Now, if we can only have you sitting in every tasting room in the state when customers walk in….