The Texas wines I picked for regional wine week and DrinkLocalWine.com have one thing in common (besides quality). They’re excellent examples of wines that are well done in Texas, and that aren’t made with the same grapes that everyone else uses everywhere else in the world.
That’s a key to regional wine – if chardonnay doesn’t grow well where you are, then don’t grow chardonnay. The wine world – growers, wine makers, retailers, restaurants and wine writers – is obsessed with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay. Everything is measured by those three varietals, and almost always found lacking.
This is not to denigrate those grapes, because they do make the best wine in the world. But it doesn’t mean they make the only good wine in the world. As the great Lynne Kleinpeter always reminds me: “One thing is not necessarily better or worse than another. It’s just different.”
So, in the spirit of difference, here are three Texas wines that are unique, reflect what Texas is doing and can do, and are well made and well worth drinking. All are available from the winery.
• Maydelle Country Wines Lemonade Wine NV ($10). Texas wineries produce quality fruit wine, and this is among the best. Think homemade lemonade, not too sweet, but wine. Drink it on the back porch or with grilled or boiled seafood. It’s really well done, and every time I taste it I’m surprised by how good it is.
• Dry Comal Creek Black Spanish 2006 ($31). Black Spanish is a native hybrid (its origins are hazy) that almost everyone else in the world, including winemakers in Texas, uses for blending or to make uninteresting port-style wines. Franklin Houser, on other hand, produces a dark, deep rich red table wine that I recommend despite the price. Think tempranillo with plums instead of cherries and vanilla and you’ll get the idea.
• Brennan Vineyards Syrah 2006 ($17). Few wineries in Texas embody the push to make wine with Texas-friendly grapes better than Brennan. I have waxed poetic about its viognier, and the syrah is worth waxing, too. It’s dirty and earthy, like a syrah from the French Rhone, but with that medium fruity style that distinguishes Texas’ best wines.
For more on Texas and regional wine, see: