Gary-Elliott-Driftwood-Awar
Gary Elliott will need to make room for his Houston Rodeo Saddle Award for 2015 Top Texas Wine – Photo Courtesy of James Skogsberg

2015 Houston Rodeo Uncorks The Best in Texas: Driftwood Estate Winery Longhorn Red 2012

Well, it’s official. The 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition just released the results of their top award winners and  champions are:

  • Grand Champion Best of Show – Rombauer Vineyards Diamond Selection Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2010
  • Reserve Grand Champion Best of Show – Charles-Le-Bel, Brut, Champagne, France NV
  • Top Texas Wine Driftwood Estate Winery Longhorn Red, Texas 2012
  • Top Sparkling Wine – Ricossa Winery Moscato d’Asti, Italy 2013
  • Top White Wine – McManis Family Vineyards Viognier, River Junction, California 2013
  • Top Red Wine – Antinori Guado Al Tasso, Bolgheri DOC Supierore, Italy 2011
  • Top Region Wine – Shirvington Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, Australia 2010
  • Top Sweet Wine – Yalumba Antique Tawny, Southeastern Australia, NV
  • Top Value Wine – Fancy Pants Red Blend, California 2012

These wineries should feel very happy with their awards as there were 2,578 entries, including wines from 43 Texas wineries and 16 different countries. I don’t think that they count Texas as a separate country from the USA, but they do feature the best wine from Texas. There were 20 panels of judges, consisting of wine experts, collectors and knowledgeable consumers. This is first time since the competition’s early history that I was able to join the panel of judges. It was impressive to taste a wide selection of fine wines from around the world. I personally tasted about 150 wines over the two day weekend period (November 15-16) allocated for my judging panel in the competition.

HLSR-2015-Judging
Houston Rodeo 2015 Wine Competition Best Texas, Regional and Value Wine Judging – Driftwood Longhorn Red was a standout.

On the first day of the competition, my panel handled Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Syrah/Shiraz and Meads. After we finished judging, we were keep waiting nearly two hours to be released only to find out that we needed to go back for a tie breaker round between five Texas wines in medal contention in the Syrah/Shiraz category.This really tells you something about Texas Syrah.

On day two, I participated as a judge in the “taste off” for the top Texas, regional (Pacific Rim), and value wines. In this round, it was obvious that Texas was well represented. We tasted and judged each of the top five scoring Texas wines on its own merits with each judge casting votes without discussing or sharing the results. To me, one wine stood out in this flight of Texas wines. It was dark, nearly opaque. It had a grand display of well extracted dark fruit and a well crafted tannic grip. It got my vote. Later, I found out it was Gary Elliott’s Driftwood Estate Winery Longhorn Red (2012).

By the way, now Gary Elliott’s winery not only has the best vineyard view in Texas, but offers the Best Texas Wine, as well. Congratulations Gary, I’m sure that both you and your wine will represent Texas well.

Driftwood-View
View of the Vineyard at Driftwood Estate Winery

Driftwood Estate Winery is located 6 miles south of Hwy 290 on Ranch Road 12 between Dripping Springs & Wimberley. It offers Mediterranean and classic style wines. it has a breathtaking hilltop view overlooking the vineyard, giftshop, tastings, picnic area and covered deck. Weddings & private parties welcome! More at: http://www.driftwoodwine.com/

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The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed nearly $375 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with RodeoHouston® online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Tumblr for all of the latest news. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Heritage Partners are Reliant, Ford, Miller Lite, Coca-Cola, BP America and Mattress Firm. The 2015 show will run March 3 – 22, 2015.

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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.