Newsom Vineyards – Part 2: Still On a Roll with Great Red Wines

…Yes Neal, there actually is a Part 2.

In part one of this blog after a visit to Newsom Vineyards tasting room in Tomball Texas, I was groovin’ on several new white wine releases of Newsom Vineyards (check it out click here). I thought the whites were particularly noteworthy by their quality and differentiation of styles.

In this blog, I’m getting back to Newsom Vineyards again, the famed Texas grape producer many of the most well-respected Texas wineries go to to make their most expressive red wines. As you may already know, in the 1980s, Neal and Janice Newsom started growing grapes on family property in Plains, TX, up on the Texas High Plains southwest of Lubbock. Neal started growing Cabernet Sauvignon and convinced his father to do the same, and thus, a legend in Texas grape growing was born. Over time Neal with the encouragement of Dallasite Dan Gatlin, eventually graduated to growing Tempranillo and helped to make it what I like to call “The National Red Grape of Texas”. Later still, Neal worked his way into other bold reds like Malbec, Tannat, and Petite Sirah.

Neal Newsom with wife Janice and son Nolan in their High Plains vineyard in Plains, TX. Photo Credit: Texas Monthly & Artie Limmer

Fast forward a generation and Neal and Janice’s son Nolan began working their vineyards with them. Nolan eventually started the family’s winemaking business with tasting rooms in Comfort and Tomball, TX. Nolan’s interesting twist to the usual winery business model was to make wine from Newsom grapes by working collaboratively with established Texas winemakers with a track record of making exceptional wines from Newsom fruit. From my February visit with Nolan in Tomball, I can say that Newsom Vineyards is still on a roll with some great red wines. There, I snagged three red wines from the 2018 and 2019 vintages that I believe are worthy of your interest.

Nolan Newsom at his Newsom Vineyards Tasting Room in Tomball, TX.

Newsom Vineyards, 2019 Tempranillo (Texas High Plains)

Aromas of classic Tempranillo ripe cherries with cigar box notes elevating from the glass followed by a sensation of desiccating dryness of high plains sandy red soil. The wine’s body is medium-plus that combines a crisp and lively tasting experience with well-structured tannins that seems to float over the wines inherent earthiness and linger through a long finish. Bending Branch Winery assistant winemaker Chad Kurtz is credited on the label.

Newsom Vineyards Tempranillo, Malbec and Inception Red Blend

Newsom Vineyards, 2018 Malbec (Texas High Plains)

Indulge your olfactory organ in the delicate pinotesque aromas of black raspberry, pomegranate and wet earth that arise from this wine. From the start, you will know that it’s not your typical everyday fruit-bomby and flabby Malbec. As you let it settle lightly on your palate, other characteristics evolve bringing raspberry and black cherry pinned with the continuing earthy notes and soft-light tannins. The acknowledged winemaker is Yanmei Zhang.

Newsom Vineyards, 2019 Inception (Red Blend, Texas High Plains)

Notes of sweet black cherry and blackberry seem be suspended over the glass with this biggest of the bunch, medium-plus bodied wine. Savory smokehouse aromas bring you in as you approach the taste that surprises with a bimodal tart cranberry and blackberry experience that starts and last through mid-palate and beyond with comfortable tannins. This wine was made by Llano Estacado winemaker Jason Centanni. According to Nolan, “The Inception is primarily our Syrah blended with Sangiovese and Tannat to enrich both the light and darker sides of this wine. There are also small amounts of about seven other red varieties in it, too. Aging was 18 months in neutral oak with another 12 months in new oak.”

NOTE: If you want to know more about the interesting back story on how adversity in the vineyard brought about the first barrel of Newsom Inception in 2013, read “Newsom Vineyards Inception: A Legacy Conquers Despair” on click here.

If you are interested in stopping by to taste some of Newsom Vineyards wines you can find them in the tasting room in Comfort, TX (click here).

Or, if you are in the greater Houston area, stop by the tasting room in Tomball at the Empty Glass Wine Bar (click here).

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Love to taste, talk and tweet about Texas wines and where they are in the global scheme for wines. After all that's the only way they will reach the full potential.

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