Video: Black Spanish – The Mysterious Red Wine of Texas

Video: Black Spanish – The Mysterious Red Wine of Texas

This video features a tasting of Black Spanish red wine with Franklin Howser owner of Dry Comal Creek Vineyards.

Several months ago, I blogged about my experiences on a Hill Country Winery tour with the grape known as Black Spanish (otherwise known as Lenoir) that has a long history both in Texas and Internationally. It continues to be one of the most highly accessed articles posted on during the past year.

Black Spanish actually has many names that go back over a hundred and fifty years back into history: Jacques, Jaquez, or Jack, as well as El Paso, Burgundy and Lenoir. The credentials of Texas Black Spanish were established in the mid-1860’s when its vines were introduced by the millions into Southern France. It was found to furnish an excellent, Phylloxera-resistant root stock onto which the classic French grape vines could be grafted. Additionally, it also made a superior, deeply colored red wine. In Texas, reports of that period can be found on Lenoir grapes growing in the “Sand Hills” of Bastrop county, that were “as fine as any Zinfandel” of its day.

Rather than descriptions used for classic Cabernet-like black currents and cassis, the Dry Comal Creek Black Spanish provided different fruit qualities that needs to be enjoyed on their own merits – the wine was dry with well evolved jammy aromas and flavors of fruits like a preserve made from lesser known berries – elderberry and boysenberry, but with a spicy initiation. If I had to compare it to something in the known wine world, this Black Spanish wine is more like a good Pinotage (grown extensively and enjoyed in South Africa) and I emphasize “a good Pinotage”.

For a recent article, I opened bottles of Messina Hof 1998 and 2000 Papa Paulo Port Private Reserve made with juice from the Black Spanish grape. The 1998 had matured admirably during the first ten years with a collection of jammy elderberry fruit, soft and silky texture on the palate and toasted oak on the nose. The 2000 showed more like a younger wine including a spicy aromatic on the initiation often experienced with younger Ports made with Lenoir. No sediment was observed in either the 1998 or 2000. I have one more bottle of the 1998 that I plan to cellar to twenty years before opening. I will keep you posted.

Do Some Black Spanish Tasting

Dry Comal Creek Vineyards –
Black Spanish (Red Table Wine)
1096 Port (The most amazing sweet thick Port-style wine you will ever taste)
White-Black Spanish (Blush-style wine)

Messina Hof Winery and Resort –
Paulo Port

Pleasant Hill Winery –
Tawny Rosso Forte Port

For more information on Black Spanish on, check out my very popular post titled, “Texas Black Spanish – The Grape Otherwise Known as Lenoir: Regional Character, International Reputation”, at:

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  1. I have a small home vineyard and I was having a very difficult time controling black rot in my Vidal Blanc so I made the decision to eliminate the Vidal Blancs from my vineyard so I dug them up and disposed of them. I also have Cynthiana vines so I am seriously considering replacing the thirty Vidal Blancs with the Black Spanish and eventually blending the two…maybe 25% Cynthiana and 75% Black Spanish. I would also make a Black Spanish unto itself. The fact that it is disease resistant is a very important factor since I live in Arkansas and it get’s very hot and humid here. I am really excited about planting the Black Spanish vines. Please let me know where I can purchase the vines. I found one sight onlne but the plants cost $6.95 each…is there anywhere else that I could purchase them for a lesser amount. All help in this matter would be greatly appreciated.

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