If you saw part one of my “These Are a Few of my Favorite Texas Wines…” blog, welcome back for more good tastes. Because these wines are in Part 2 of the series, it does not mean in any way that they are secondary or inferior to those wines in Part 1. Well, grab your glass, and let’s get tasting, again.
A couple very special Texas Petite Sirahs come to mind – Bending Branch Winery and Westcave Cellars:
Bending Branch Winery 2017 Newsom Vineyards, Petite Sirah, Texas High Plains
This tasting took place early in the year and the wine likely came out of my cooler after a couple of years. Unfortunately, I’ve lost track of those details. But, what I remember is that it was a delightful pairing with tri-meat (beef, pork, and lamb) meatballs, tomato ragu and linguini served with a side of steamed green beans. This Petite Sirah with its Newsom Vineyards in its pedigree was particularly notable to me. It was the one that put this grape variety back on my tasting radar. It showed a rich purple color in the glass, dominant blackberry on the nose, interwoven with twists of mocha and tobacco, all brought together with a special finesse.
Westcave Cellars, 2018 Petite Sirah, Texas HIll Country
This wine was tasted at the winery’s new location just off the Route 290 trail near Hye, where it was savored with the winery’s charcuterie plate. However, it was born and raised from hand-tended vines grown in the estate vineyard of the winery’s old location near Round Mountain. With a dense red-purple color, the wine shows its ripe black raspberry essence combined with earth, tobacco, and smoke that pairs very well with hard cheese and savory sausages.
Now… Three White Wines not to Forget (One Old and Two New)
McPherson Cellars, 2010 Roussanne Reserve, Bingham Vineyards, Texas High Plains
Who said that white wines don’t age? I must say that this wine rested for a long while in my wine cooler, actually longer than any other white wine from Texas, but perhaps as long as some White Burgundy or White Rhone blends that I’ve owned and savored previously. As I recall, I pronounced 2010 a vintage of the century for Texas – starting early, running long, a cool spring, and hot but not excessively hot through harvest. A great year for making and cellaring white wine in Texas. At the pour, the age of the wine was noticeable from the yellow-gold hue that it emitted. However, on the nose and palate this wine shouted out lemon preserves, green tea, toasted almonds, and crisp acidity. It was a testament to both the vintage, and the winemaker, Kim McPherson, and the special attributes of Roussanne for Texas wine.
Messina Hof Winery, 2018 Blanc Du Bois, Texas
I featured this wine in a blog that emanated from my first visit to the new Messina Hof winery and bistro in Harvest Green about 45 minutes from the center of Houston where I live. It is dry with crisp flavors of lemon with tropical fruit, a floral note, and a little more body than many white wines like sauvignon blanc. It reminded me of some Italian white wines that I’ve tasted with a little more weight on the palate perhaps from time on skins. Pairings for Blanc Du Bois included a wide range of cuisine, but most of all with anything made with cream or especially goat cheese” from crostini to cheesy seafood and poultry dishes.
Cheramie Wine, 2019 White Blend, Texas High Plains
This wine comes from Cheramie Law, owner, and co-founder with Todd Aho in Salt and Pepper Wine, and it is a southern Rhone-style white blend made with Texas-grown Roussanne, Marsanne, and Viognier. In making this wine, Cheramie worked with consultant winemaker Michael McClendon at Wes Jensen’s at Sages Vintage in Nacogdoches. I tasted it at a Houston Chronicle tasting panel where it received near-unanimous 9 out of 10 scores for its stone fruit and citrus characteristics typical of classy Rhone-style white wines.
C.L. Butaud 2020 Randy Hester, Carbonic Counoise
It was from the 2020 vintage (from Farmhouse Vineyard I’m guessing), a pet project of C.L. Butaud’s owner and winemaker Randy Hester – a wine, darker than a Rosé made from the Counoise grapes by carbonic maceration. It was made for the wineries club members but I laid claim to a bottle, and it is worth a special shout-out from my 2021 tasting. Why? I’ll tell you what… I’ve not been blown away with Counoise as a varietal wine in Texas, but this one has gravitas. When served slightly chilled, it made me pucker with red cherries and strawberries reminiscent of a Jolly Rancher but with pleasant tannin that gives structure and minerally notes on the finish. It was hitting on all cylinders with Rotisserie chicken, roasted beets, and a salad of cukes, cherry tomatoes, and homegrown sweet red peppers.
Well, that’s all for now, running out of gas, but I’m still not finished with my Texax wine shout-outs for 2021. It WAS a very good year for tasting Texas wine and… I’ll be back with a few more.