Texas High Plains Tasting Stop: Kim McPherson, The Legacy, and His Still Excellent Texas Wines

Kim McPherson, McPherson Cellars, Lubbock, Texas

As you may already know, the McPherson family has been a part of Texas viticulture and winemaking for over 40 years. McPherson Cellars was created to honor Winemaker Kim McPherson’s father, Dr. Clinton “Doc” McPherson, a founder and pioneer of the modern Texas wine industry. Doc was one of the state’s prime grape growers and was the first in Texas to plant Sangiovese in his Sagmor Vineyard (Click here for more).

McPherson Cellars in Downtown Lubbock, TX.

As I entered through the door from the McPherson Cellars Lubbock tasting room to the production facility in the historic 1930’s vintage Coca-Cola plant, modern Texana gave way to the mechanical sound of a bottling and labeling line. But, it’s definitely not Coca-Cola any more. The machine was spitting out, one after another, bottles of Kim McPherson’s 2021 EVS (Earth Vine Sky) Windblown, a luscious red blend. However, Kim was nowhere in sight, but just then a voice rose over the mechanical din, “You looking for Kim? Don’t worry, I’ll find him!”

Enclosed modern Texana patio at McPherson Cellars

Not but a minute later, Kim came walking in dragging a broken wooden pallet and carrying a hammer and some nails. Now pounding hard and hardly looking up he said, “Hey Russell, the Rascal.” That’s what he often calls me. “You know how much these things cost now? I need to make them last as long as possible.” I admitted that I didn’t know, but afterwards looked it up and was surprised to find the price for new 4’x4’ wooden pallets at between $180 to $300.

EVS Windblown Coming Off the “Assembly Line”

While Kim pounded, I saw on his scheduling board one of my favorite McPherson wines, the McPherson Cellars 2022 Reserve Roussanne, and it was just finished being bottled. Kim said, “Yeah, it’s bottled but not released yet.” I responded, “Well, I think that I’m likely going to be the first person in Houston to taste it.”

When Kim was finished with his pallet reconstruction, we started talking about a new project on which he had been working. It was his McPherson Cellars ‘Three Strolling Musicians’ 2022 Texas High Plains Trebbiano. He searched for a bottle and finally found one sporting label art of ‘Three Trolling Musicians’ painted by Jacques Jordan. He was a Flemish artist whose boisterous scenes of peasant life and sensuous allegories made him one of the most important painters of 17th-century Flanders. Kim indicated that he an his brother Jon first received permission to use this painting from Museo del Prado in Madrid for use on a wine label for a wine they were making in California many years ago. This is now the sixth in a series of his growing Artist Collection Series of wines.

McPherson Cellars 2022 Reserve Roussanne, Texas High Plains

For a first look from Houston, this wine was spot on! Lemon citrus, green tea and minerals on the nose followed by crisp acidity combined with a medium-bodied creamy texture of Meyer lemon cream pie on the palate. If you’ve read this blog (click here), you know that this wine will drink wonderfully now, bottle age and holdup very well for at least 10 years. I’m betting on this wine to pair with one of my favorite recipes: Provençal Poulet Farci en Crapaudine (baked stuffed spatchcock chicken with a stuffing of goat cheese, panko bread crumbs and spinach applied under the skin of the chicken).

McPherson Cellars ‘Three Strolling Musicians’ 2022 Texas High Plains Trebbiano

This wine gives an interesting combination of tart lemon, green apple, pear, and a lingering mineral salinity. On the palate the wine gains some intensity from the added flavor of blanched almonds. There is a simple choice for pairing to those in reach of Texas’s Gulf of Mexico waters… flame roasted gulf oysters on the half shell with a homemade cilantro-jalapeño-almond pesto.

EVS Windblown Red Blend, 2021, Texas High Plains

The last vintage of this wine that I’ve tasted was likely to have been from 2017. This 2021 in a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah, Carignan, Petite Sirah, and Grenache with all grape varieties in parity at between 17 and 25%. This wine came at me from so many directions: red then black berries, jammy fruit while retaining good acidity, medium-plus body accompanied by well-structured tannins, fruit-forward yet still with enough fruit to give down the line that it is long in the finish, too. This is a red wine that can go with just about anything you want to eat, pasta and red sauce, Mediterranean herbed lamb, or even cheese burgers and truffle fries.

Kim McPherson the winemaker, winery owner and the wooden pallet reconstructionist

The McPherson Afternoon Talk and Taste

After our encounter in the winery, Kim led me back to the tasting room and we tasted an expansive list of his McPherson wines, reds and whites… blended and single varietals, while we reminisced on our notable previous encounters, evolution of his father Doc McPherson’s Sagmore Vineyards, and events in modern Texas wine history like the change-out on the Texas High Plains from French-American hybrids to Vitis vinifera in the 1970s.

McPherson Cellars 2022 Albariño

These are the kinds of wines that Kim thinks are “just right” for Texas had origin stories in the warmer climes of southern Europe, the border of the Mediterranean Sea, or on the Spanish Iberian Peninsula. The reds included Carignan, Grenache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Mourvèdre, and the whites consisted of Albariño Marsanne, Roussanne, Picpoul, and Viognier, followed by several Rosés, one notably from Mourvedre. It was a feast for my palate and much more wine and personal time than I expected with Kim McPherson the winemaker, winery owner and the busy pallet reconstructionist.

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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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