The next Specialist of Texas Wine class from Doc Russ – Texas Wineslinger, and the Texas Wine School in Houston, Texas, on April 27, May 4, May 11 (with the exam on May 12) gives you an opportunity to understand Texas wine like a Burgundian understands Burgundy’s wines. Or, like a Bandolian understands the wines of Bandol. Learn and live the Texas wine experience!
In my book, The Wineslinger Chronicles, I tell 26 stories of people, historical events, tastings, and travels, both around the State of Texas and in major wine regions of the world. Parts of this personal education were initially related in my blog, later in my book, and starting six years ago, in my Specialist of Texas Wine classes. The most common response I get from students after a class has been, “Gee, I didn’t know that Texas has so much in common with other major and more established wine regions.” This is why I’d like to invite you to join us for the next class starting in late April taught live with wine tastings, and with interactive Q&A via Zoom.
On one of my first wine trips abroad, I went to southern France. Why? Simply put….to experience “Things Mediterranean” and its wine culture first hand. Well, guess what? These parts of France offer many things that we have right here in Texas. Provence, Bandol, and Gigondas have their arid hills festooned with limestone outcroppings, while crape myrtles, sycamores, and even palm trees adorn city streets. Even the tall weeds that grow in the creek and the dry vegetation by the roadside are what you see during a car ride across parts of Texas.
But, I had another motive for this trip. It was to take Texas wines to share with the French. Call me crazy, but in my suitcase were two “TexMed” wines. One was a Syrah/Mourvèdre blend and the other was a cuvée consisting of an abundance of Mediterranean varietals – Syrah, Mouvedre, Grenache, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, to name a few. Why these two wines? Besides both being superior wines, they presented a nuclear view of the transition in Texas winemaking…..both are blends that lean hard on sun-loving Mediterranean varieties of grapes.
In Bandol, I stayed at Hostellerie Berard in La Cadiere d’Azur with our room in the 11th-century convent. I opened the shutters, to behold a breathtaking view of a rainbow ending in a field of Mourvèdre grapevines. What a knockout! But, on to dinner…..the real reason for choosing this venue.
I was seated, ordered dinner, studied the wine list, and then greeted my Sommelier and gave him my
selection from his wine list – Domaine Lafran Veyrolles (Bandol) 1993. Then, I asked him to have my Texas Syrah/Mourvèdre opened and to give it a taste to judge if it was worthy to share the table with one of the best of Bandol wines.
He poured, swirled, sniffed, and tasted and offered a surprised look followed by the statement…“Bon acidité! (Good acidity)” At which point, he motioned to Mde. Berard at the reception and asked her to come over for a taste, too. The Madam also swirled, sniffed, and sipped, then offering in return….”Bon terroir! (Good terrior)”. I took this as a reference to the wine’s natural minerality presented in balance with fruit in the glass.
These French enophiles keyed on two very important points in French wine appreciation – acidity
(what keeps wine fresh on the palate and accommodating to food) and what they call “terroir” (the culmination of the soil, climate, and related viticultural elements expressed by wine in the glass).
The Texas wine was young both in vine and vintage compared to the deep, aged qualities of the
Bandol that we consumed that night. But, the unsolicited responses to our Texas wine showed
the true potential for “Texas Terroir”.
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For more information and registration for my Specialist of Texas Wine class, click here. There are separate rates for certification students that want to take the test and received a certificate of competence, and those that prefer not to test and merely audit the class. Please don’t wait too long as we will be shipping you six bottles of Texas wine to taste as a group in class.