La Proprietà del Vino di Estate (The Estate of the Summer Wine)
Two weeks ago I blogged about need for good summertime wines in Texas. See:
You know, if there is one thing in Texas that you can’t have enough of, its summertime wines. The problem is that most are two sweet and low in acid to keep your interest particularly if you ask the question….”Do I really want a second glass of this wine.”
This past weekend, I was lumbering down the Route 290 Wine Road (www.wineroad290.com) between Fredericksburg and Johnson City on my way to see the Benini art installations on their sculpture ranch (www.benini.com) and I stopped into to see Roberto Ponte at Rancho Ponte Vineyards (www.ranchoponte.com).
I found out that Roberto is actively involved in planting his estate vineyard. It’s likely to be 4 acres or so of Blanc Du Bois and Black Spanish grapes. In the process, he has been ripping up the dirt getting it ready to accept his new little sprouts later this year. He has his tractor working well (I think that he has a newer one than the one shown in the photo below) and he’s now working on the irrigation lines that will give the vines their vital sustenance when nature can’t provide it.
The other thing that I found out is that Roberto has a addition to my summertime wine list. It’s his new Sorelline (pronounced Sor-el-leen-nee). Go figure, I could figure that out either until someone in the tasting room told me how to pronounce it. Rancho Ponte Sorelline is a blend of aromatic white grapes including Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Riesling and Viognier. It has a light floral nose and loads of grapefruit and crisp citrus on the palate. This is a wine for which you will be able to answer my question above with a resounding yes. Interestingly, some of the bottle of Sorelline have scerw caps and some don’t. You will have to ask Robert to tell you the rest of the story if you see him in the winery tasting room.
I returned to Houston with a bottle of Sorelline and served it with a light summertime meal consisting of my Pasta Carbonara al Salmone (see lead photo) complete with garlic, bacon, parmasean cheese, egg, parsley, green onion and fresh wild caught Salmon. This probably breaks more rules of Italian cooking than I care to know.
Roberto Ponte comes from an Italian winemaking family with ties to Temecula, California, a wine region not too much different from parts of the Texas Hill Country. See Ponte Winery (www.pontewinery.com).
Stop by the winery next time your in the Fredericksburg area and give Rancho Ponte Sorelline a try.
Is this a 100% Texas wine? I was unable to find any information on their site as to whether it was or not. Thumbs up to those that are blending the whites varietals together finally. I think in the blends is where Texas wines are going to really shine. As we have seen with Viviana, Fiore Bianco and many others.
I do not know what you think about Blanc du Bois Russ, but there are a few places in East Texas that would change your mind about Dry Summer wines from Texas. Particularly the 2009 vintage.
Lately I have been noticing that when it comes to Texas wines the song by Texas born and raised Lyle Lovett applies here “Thats right your not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway.”
I will leave it up to Roberto Ponte to weight in on the origin of the grapes. I frankly don’t know.
If you have seen several of my posts, I am realy positive on Bland Du Bois. There are more of it grown in Texas than anywhere else and we have finally learned how to make into a truly fine white wine, in many styles to boot. Raymond Haak has a complete line of wines from dry to sweet, reerve oak aged to dessert styles, even a Madeira, all based on BDB.
I may not be originally from Texas, but I have been here well more than half of my natural born days which qualifies me for special consideration as a naturalized Texas just like Davy Crockett and his friends. Got here as fast as I could.
“You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas” –David Crockett.
I have done allot of research into the life of this man, and as it was in the most recent Alamo movie Davy Crockett preferred to be called David Crockett. Its a shame to see the “Davy Crockett national forest” named that way. I also had a close descendant who fought and died at the Alamo and we have researched believe that he served under Crockett’s command.
Texas is the best place for Blanc Du Bois, especially if you have ever had it from Florida or Louisiana…. and the sandy soil in East Texas make it even better (Enoch Stomp, Tara) Oh BTW Haak buys most of his BDB from Enoch’s Stomp in Harelton, Tx Now.
The word on the street that I have been hearing from people is that Haak for a few years started to wain in his excitement over Texas Blanc du Bois. I was told that he ripped up all his local old vines and no longer grows it anymore. Which was a blow to allot of the growers and wineries in East Texas that are counting on Blanc du Bois to be the next big thing.
I did hear though that he has a new lady working in the winery that has discovered something that they can do to improve the quality of the wine… I am excited to see what 2010 does for that grape. More wineries are starting to make this wine like a Savignon blanc instead of a Riesling. Thus my comment about the dry 2009 vintages that I have tasted from the tanks.
Wow folks, I am shocked at what I am reading that bears no resemblance to the facts! I know there will always be rumors about any subject but I encourage everyone to research the rumors before sharing them.
Please allow me to share some facts about Blanc du Bois that I have absorbed from growing this varietal for over 25 years. Making wine from Blanc du Bois is not difficult and does not require any special “tricks” to make premium wine from it. It only requires good wine making equipment and skills like all wines do. I did not pull out or remove my Blanc du Bois Vineyard, actually it is to the contrary. I replaced an acre of Black Spanish/Jacquez with Blanc du Bois thereby increasing my acreage of Blanc du Bois. I also source my Blanc du Bois from Fulshear, Texas, Cat Spring, Texas, New Ulm, Texas, Brenham, Texas and Longview, Texas (about 10%) and up until 2008, I also sourced them from Palestine, Texas. Having these grapes grown across Texas and in different soils & climates allows us to produce extremely interesting flavor profiles & complexities of Blanc du Bois
I currently crush over 60+ tons of Blanc du Bois and we produce a dry version, a semi-sweet style, a barrel fermented/sur lie style, a blush using Grenache for color, a white Port and a madeira Blanc du Bois. I am working on sourcing this fabulous wine varietal from the valley of Texas in the next few years.
All Blanc du Bois we produce is 100% Texas produced and all Blanc du Bois wines I bottle are 100% varietal Blanc du Bois except for our 2009 vintage which is blended with 20% Chenin Blanc because 2009 was a dry vihntage year which reduced the harvested tonnage considerably. We do have a “New Lady” working here since 2008. She is Nadia Hetzel our winemaker and a graduate of Geisenheim University in Germany with a degree in Viticulture & Enology. She is also a certified viticulturist. She is an outstanding winemaker and a great person that has added a great deal to our overall wine quality.
I think I have covered most of the “rumors” about Haak winery and I hope I have enlightened those of you interested in Blanc du Bois and its rightful place as one of the best white wines of Texas. Cheers & Ciao!
Sorry, I just realized that I missed clearing up one statement posted by a previous blogger. I have never “wained” in my excitement or passion for Blanc du Bois. I don’t know what street that word was heard on but I would recommend staying off it.
I am super excited to hear what I was told is not true and feel deeply ashamed.
I have had a passion for Blanc du Bois over the past 5 years and have taken it upon myself to try as much of it as I can get my hands on from as many people that I can find that produce it. Including some from Florida and Louisiana. I mean no disrespect to you Mr Haak and I admire your reputation and your mindset when it comes to growing grapes and making quality wine in Texas.
Again I am sincerely sorry for my comments, I think there are allot of bad rumors going around about allot of things in the Texas wine industry…and I think some people are just talking to make a sale and not really analyzing the facts. Again I am deeply sorry. However there are a few which I have actually found to be shockingly true!
I think I need to get me a bottle of this 2009 blend because I also love Chenin Blanc and would love to try the 2 mixed together even if at only 20%! I travel allot and have visited many wineries in my travels I have even visited your place Mr Haak (although it was about 4-5 years ago)
I hope 2010 is a great year to push this wine into it rankings that it deserves.
Is there anything new that we might see down the road with Blanc du Bois?
Again I am deeply sorry.
No problem Bob. As I rapidly approach my 71st year, I can honestly say I have been guilty of repeating something I heard only to find out it was incorrect on more than on occasion. Our 2009 is a very nice wine but as you know the appreciation of fine wines is a personal thing with the wine expert residing between our nose & chin. I personally prefer our 100% varietal Blanc du Bois. I don’t know if you are aware of our Madeira Blanc du Bois dessert wine that was recently released a few years ago. It is not widely distributed but it has won multiple gold & silver medals in international wine competitions across America. There are several other Texas producers of premium Blanc du Bois (BdB) winning gold & silver wines such as Enoch’s Stomp in East Texas.
Cheers & Ciao!……..Raymond
Enoch’s Stomp BdB is “lighter styled – edit VT” compared to others that I have tried. I do not know if its his process or if he is over cultivating the grapes. I was there last Year and Altus was telling me about how he was got almost 5 tons an acre with BdB. According to Altus he is a 5th generation “grape farmer” from South Africa So I know he knows what he is doing, however I was kinda shocked by that number and in 2009!
I did try the BdB Madiera and it was quite nice with the nice nutty finish. I am not a fortified wine person, but it was nice.
Do you still feel that Blanc Du Bois can compete with Viognier in being the “White Wine of Texas?”
Do you plan on making a premium label blanc du bois using the best grapes you can get here in Texas? I would love to try the best of the best sometime.