2010 Top Ten Texas Wines from VintageTexas and More: Five Honorable Mentions (and for good reasons)

2010 Top Ten Texas Wines from VintageTexas and More: Five Honorable Mentions (and for good reasons)

I know that I promised that I was going to mention just my 2010 Top Ten Wines. Well, I did that. See:

Installment #1 – https://vintagetexas.com/?p=2892

Installment #2 – https://vintagetexas.com/?p=2936

However, I still had several wines left that offered me a special taste of Texas in 2010. They were wines that provided a bit of the here-and-now of the Texas wine experience and some interesting features of what’s-to-come in our Texas wine future. Here they are; my 2010 five honorable mentions:

Brushy Creek Vineyards, Sparkling Blanc Du Bois, Texas 2009

Texas can now legally lay claim to Blanc Du Bois as its own grape. There is more of it grown in Texas than anywhere else in the whole dang world and winemakers have learned the necessary harvest and process parameters that make Blanc Du Bois into a wide variety of world-class wines and in a variety of styles, too. Here is a new one. Les Constable at Brushy Creek Vineyards (Alvord, TX) has been experimenting with making sparkling Texas wines (actually made here, from Texas-grown grapes and not imported from wineries in California or New Mexico). This Sparkling Blanc Du Bois is Texas’s answer to Italy’s Asti Spumante. It’s semi-sweet and effervescent, fun and friendly. It’s like a sparkling fruit cocktail. I hope Les makes more in 2010 and others like Haak Vineyards, Tara Vineyard and Enoch’s Stomp will follow.

Bending Branch Winery, Tannat, Texas High Plains, 2008

Most people have never heard of Tannat, the grape with a Pyrenees lineage. Some say its French and others say that it’s Spanish. Either way, I feel that its the future Red Zinfandel of Texas. This Texas Tannat from Bob Young’s Bending Branch Vineyards (Comfort, TX), made from grower Vijay Reddy’s Texas high plains fruit, is thick, opaque and “teethstainingly” purple. It’s driven by a new world Tannat style invented in South America. In addition to having the necessary attributes to be a good performer in Texas as a varietal wine, it can add depth and a voluptuous quality to blends with Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, and Tempranillo, too. We have just begun to learn where Tannat could take Texas red wines. Stay tuned for more….

Dickson Petard Blanc, Texas, Estate Blanc Du Bois

If you like micro-wineries and purely natural wines, you will fall head over heels with Lewis Dickson’s Petard Blanc from La Cruz de Comal Wines (Sparksville, TX). Contray to what has become the classic Texas fruit-forward style for Blanc Du Bois, Lewis Dickson and California winemaker Tony Coturri have concocted an enchantingly earthy and minerally wine, reminiscent of old world France. The magic is in harvest small batches of Lewis’s estate-grown, Texas hill country grapes, fermentation with native yeast strains and let the wine make itself. This wine proves that Texas can be in the “sweet-spot” of winemaking and it doesn’t require high technology and gross over manipulation of the wine when you have the right grape.

Duchman Family Winery, Vermentino, Texas, 2009

I liked the Duchman (previously Mandola) Winery 2008 Vermentino and the 2009 is even better. This wine should have been in the Top 10, but in fairness to the other really good Texas wines, I already had the Duchman Dolcetto as my top wine of 2010. Furthermore, I feel that Texas Vermentino from Duchman and hopefully other wineries around the state has a destiny for greatness. In 5 to 10 years, if Vermentino is not the top one or two of white varietals in the state, its likely to be the results of market manipulation/control by the major Texas wine distributors (trying to make Texas be like California – An utterly  stupid thing to do!) and not because people don’t like it. Duchman Vermentino is light, refreshingly crisp and dry with citrus, pear and herbal notes. By the way, I hear that it was Oz Clarke’s favorite wine when he visited Texas recently.

Haak Vineyards and Winery 2006 Madeira Blanc Du Bois, Texas, 2006

I’ve known Raymond Haak for a while now and just can’t seem to stop calling him the Impresario of Blanc Du Bois. This grape can be grown anywhere from the Texas Gulf Coast to its north coast  that borders on the Red River. As Raymond has shown, it’s adaptable too and can be crafted into nearly any style of white wine: light and dry, off-dry, sweet, and in this case barrel treated and “overaged” in an Estuffa oven at 105 F for three months to produce a Madeira-style wine. The day I visited the Haak winery (Santa Fe, TX), Raymond presented me a flight of his “Blanc” that included five wine, each in different style. In the glass, this Haak Madeira has a coppery-yellow cast that is followed by what I can only described by nose and palate as a sweet yet zesty compote of poached tree fruits (peach, pear and apricot) combined with crème brulée and a minerally, near-salty finish. Now, that’s a mouth (palate) full.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I share your belief that Tannat is coming on. That Madeira Blanc du Bois sounds fascinating! Glad to see Texas exploring different varieties. Do you have any experience with Texas Norton?

    • Ultimately, I think that it will factor in Texas red blends as Tannat is just not on the map of major red varietals. But, I’ve had Tannats in both Old World (Pyrenees) and New World (Uruguayan) styles and love them. They are big wines with lots of color and fruit extraction. Therefore, they can add a lot of depth to Texas red blends with other grapes.

    • Jeff,

      Tannat has better potential than Zinfandel to be a good producer in Texas. It seems to crop and handle the heat well. The young Tannat vines that I have seen seem a lot more mature than other red varietals, the same age. Other than the lack of name recognition, the viscosity of molasses and stains everything (including teeth) purple blue, what’s the beef with Tannat.

      I think that your just being Curmudgeonistic and making me work to defend myself. 🙂

      Love ya Man!

  2. I always wonder why Les gets all of the credit for Brushy Creek’s wine? 26 year old Rachel Cook is the winemaker there. She breaks her back daily to make wonderful wine for Brushy Creek, yet never gets a mention. Les himself has said that she has the best palate that he has ever encountered, and that he could never reproduce the wine that she makes. The sparkling Blanc Du Bois is her creation alone, and the 2010 is even better than the 2009. It’s high time that this extraordinary young lady get’s the attention she deserves. As far as I know, she is the youngest winemaker in Texas, and she puts out some of the best wine. Why she hasn’t been featured in more articles is beyond me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.