This cool weather is right on schedule! October is an AMAZING time for trying new wines, and not just in Napa. Harvest season is winding down in Texas, but the tasting has only just begun.
It’s the sixteenth year for Texas Wine Month, and there’s never been a better time to slip into this crisp autumn air and do some exploring in the Hill Country.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a very special shout out to the Beckers. Bunny and Richard Becker, I believe, are largely responsible for putting Texas wines on the map. Sure, there are other pioneers, folks like Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars and Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo with Messina Hof.
There are a number of native Lone Star wineries that participate with fun tastings and activities throughout the month. I’m partial to a few spots below, but there are many, many others to be found along the Texas Wine Month Trail. 🙂
464 Becker Farms Rd
Stonewall, TX 78671
Handcrafted, award-winning Bordeaux, Burgundian and Rhone-styled wines from a very well known San Antonio family. Just recently, Wine Enthusiast announced Becker Vineyards as a Nominee for “Best Winery in America 2015.” FYI, the results will be announced in their November issue.
As of this last harvest year (2014), their production has grown to 104,000 cases! This year (2015) marks the 20th harvest at Becker Vineyards! This is a beautiful vineyard with a festive tasting room.
Some of My Rec’s:
Some call this Viognier one of the most seductive, alluring wines Becker makes! A heavy melon/apricot nose; flavors of honey and nectar with light citrus notes. Try pairing with salmon, aged hard cheeses or chilled fruit.
The Viognier 2012 won Silver at the Concours de Vin 2013 in Lyon, France.
Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (Canada Family)….$40
A balanced, fruit forward wine with soft tannins and dark red fruit. This is a good steak wine as well as an excellent accompaniment to any fatty cheeses and grilled meats.
This one is an aromatic blend of Malbec and Petite Verdot. Light notes of rose and pepper on the finish. There’s some nice spice on this Texas star! Food complements include most meats, even wild game…
Bending Branch Winery:
142 Lindner Branch Trail
Comfort, TX 78013
Kick back in Comfort! Catch this boutique Hill Country winery with 16 grape varieties planted on 20 acres. Theirs is an “organically focused operation” with the signature grape: Tannat, which BTW, is one of the red grapes that’s been given credit for its heart healthy benefits. These guys at Bending Branch are making some good Texas wines.
This 2012 Texas Tannat [above] is from the Texas High Plains. This is THE wine Bending Branch is known for. You’ll taste black cherry, vanilla, tobacco and smoky finish. Texas Tannat is best when decanted an hour before it’s enjoyed. Around $30/bottle.
The 2014 Hoover Valley Vineyards Comfortage is made from 100% Roussanne grapes…the first Texas vintage of this wine! It’s getting rave reviews. Retail is $28/bottle:
Here’s a recipe from Bryan Gillenwater – a talented chef who knows Texas wine and terroir. It pairs best with the Roussanne…
Shrimp Crab Avocado Terrine
4 oz Grilled Gulf Shrimp
4 oz Blue Crab Meat Cooked
6 oz Ripe Avocado Diced
2 oz Cilantro Chopped
1 teaspoon Chipotle in adobo puree
2 oz lime juice
3 oz Sliced Cherry Tomatoes
2 oz Diced Red Onion
3 pinches Kosher Salt
Combine all ingredients in a bowl mix by folding and adjust the seasoning if needed.
Place in a Terrine dish lined with plastic wrap. Place a weight on top of the Terrine to compress the mixture minimum of 6 hours, refrigerated. Uncover and slice into nice one inch pieces.
Serve with fried wonton skins or your favorite Corn tortilla chips.
802 S Austin St
Comanche, TX 76442
Todd Webster and his talented team at Brennan produce notable wines by blending old world traditions with high tech winemaking techniques. In all, ten varieties of grape make up thirteen different wines!
Find Brennan’s Mourvèdre Rosé ($20) at the winery in Comanche, as well as 4.0 Cellars in Stonewall. It’s just recently gone into distribution and should be available in select restaurants and retail locations this fall.
The 2014 vintage is a dry and light-bodied wine with notes of strawberry, watermelon and pomegranate, and finishes with a hint of honey and raspberry. A nice pairing for soft cheeses, quiche or Greek salad.
William Chris Vineyards:
10352 US Highway 290
Hye, TX 78635
The focus here is eco-friendly, Texas grown, premium wines. Plus, anticipate a tasting or two inside William Chris’ century old farm house! William Chris also boasts a most beautiful oak grove, leading up to a cemetery dating back through the 1800’s.
About one hour away from Austin and San Antonio with barrel tastings and special events, not to mention the live music Saturdays… 😉
This is a fun spot to put on your wine tour, and the wines are worthy of your time. The New York Times wine critic, Eric Asimov, told me he’s a fan of one of the William Chris wines too.
WC’s Texas Mourvèdre [below] is a new release that’s in stock for October for around $36. The 2012 vintage is a multi-award winner, including taking Texas Reserve Class Champion at the Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition: