When I think of Newsom Vineyards, my first thought is of well-structured red wines. On this tasting stop at the Newsom Vineyards tasting room in Tomball (104 Market Street), I did taste some excellent reds all marked with the Newsom Vineyards brand, but I will save my comments on those for Part 2. In the meantime, I was particularly captivated by the interesting set of three ‘white’ wines poured by proprietor, winemaking director, and tasting room impresario Nolan Newsom.
For starters, to call these wines simply ‘white wines’, would be to omit the true spectrum of colors and nuances these wines presented.
Albariño, 2022, Texas High Plains
A white wine made in a classic (yet more fruit forward) style. It shows pale yellow-green color as you might expect from a wine made from this grape variety that comes from the Atlantic coast of Spain often referred to as ”Green Spain”. This wine offers a pleasing fruit combo of lemon citrus, pear and a bit of white peach. My food pairing suggestion is a mild fish simply-prepared with lemon and butter like Gulf Coast flounder, or an accompaniment to briny Gulf oysters.
Albariño, 2021, Texas High Plains
The wine is an interest twist on what you would expect in an Albariño. It is oak aged that pushes the color toward darker golden hues. It starts more in tropical fruit vane with muted citrus fruit character with flavors of papaya and mango overlaid with a smidgeon of vanilla. Different, but very interesting and pleasing nevertheless. Its richer character provides weight on the palate that supports a food pairing of roasted or grilled chicken or possibly Shrimp Mac and Cheese.
Skin-fermented Orange Muscat, 2020, Texas High Plains
If you might think an oak aged Albariño would be ’different’, this third ’white’ wine made from the Muscat grape should really catch your eye and palate. It’s referred to as an ’Orange Wine’, NOT because it’s made from Orange Muscat nor otherwise even from oranges. This wine was skin-fermented like the process used for making red wines, resulting in a striking orange color. The color is actually an orange-gold you might also call copper.
For starters, since this wine is made with skin-fermentation like red wines, it is best enjoyed and a serving temperature closer to room temperature. I prefer wines like this at about 65 F, just under room temperature. It presents the essence of orange marmalade without all the sweetness, and with pleasantly bright acidity melded with nutty notes of roasted almonds and pecans. It has a remarkably generous mouthfeel leading to many possible food pairing possibilities with heavier and more flavorful preparations. The first that comes to mind is duck, either roasted or l’orange or liver pâté.
With these wines, Nolan Newsom has continued to find notable Texas winemakers to provide the mechanics of crafting his wines to his specifications. The Albarino 2022 was made by Jason Centanni in Lubbock. The oak aged Albarino 2021 was made by John Rivenburgh in Kerrville. Finally, the Skin-fermented Orange Muscat was made by Kayley Fowler also in Kerrville. All winemakers are duly recognized on the labels.
For those of you like me that live in our low and flat, hot and humid, and sweaty part of Texas on the Gulf Coast or in East Texas, the Newsom Vineyards tasting room at the Empty Glass in Tomball is a convenience you should not overlook.
It gives you a taste of what wine growing possibilities Texas has on the dry, cool-nighted high plains at upwards of 3,700 feet in elevation. Since the wines from Newsom Vineyards are not found in regular distribution, you would otherwise have to drive 4 hours west and stop at the Newsom Vineyards tasting room in Comfort, Texas, or book a stay at the Newsom Vineyards B&B clean on the other side of our large state in Plains, Texas, near the New Mexico border that is more like 7 or 8 hours away.
Part 2 of this blog will come shortly and it will present several new red wines from Newsom Vineyards. Click here for more on Newsom Vineyards Tasting Room in Comfort, Texas.