Fifty States of Wine

This is my second post about my experience at Texsom. You will recall from my first post that Texsom was a conference held in August at the Four Seasons Resort and Spa in Las Colinas, a suburb of Dallas, Texas. Though the majority of attendees were wine industry professionals, Texsom was a conference that welcomes all level of wine enthusiast; from novices to full fledge wine geeks Texsom offers excellent wine education for all. If you desire to learn more about wine tasting, regions, making or just taste lots of high quality wine than I highly recommend you visit the Texsom web site and make plans to attend next year.

As I stated in my first article about Texsom; the conference offered many highlights for me. One of those highlights was getting to meet many people face to face I had previously only known through social media. Additionally, I explored Germany through 12 fantastic wines and Portugal through 8 outstanding wines. Furthermore, our tasting breaks offered wines such as Quintessa, Chappellet and Faust to name a few; while at lunch we dined with a 1998 Berringer Private Reserve, Stag’s Leap 2010 “The Leap,” Cinq Cepages 2010 Red Wine on Sunday and an array of top quality wines from Chili on Monday. Another highlight for me was the first session I attended at the conference: Beyond the Big Three: Exciting Regions of the US Beyond the West Coast. Since I participated in Protocol Wine Studio and Le Metro Wine Underground’s July #Winestudio shining light on the Independent Spirit of US winemakers outside “the big three” this particular seminar was particularly interesting to me. If you do not already know, wine is made in all 50 states and a large percentage of that wine is quite good! We tasted 11 wines in that session; I will mention them all and highlight my four favorites.

Beyond the Big Three

Gruet Winery Grand Rose, Chardonnay/Pinot Noir New Mexico 2010: Yes, bubbles from New Mexico, crisp, clean, floral, creamy, high acidity, long finish. 300 cases produced

Mawby Cuvee 202 Blanc de Noir, Pinot Noir, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan: more bubbles, tart apples, citrus, bright acid, medium body, poem on the back label, different poem per vintage

Chateau Grand Traverse Riesling “Whole Cluster” Michigan 2013: tart apples, stone fruit, off-dry, creamy texture

Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York 2013: intense bouquet, citrus, stone fruit, lemon curd, seductive, medium finish, great acid, different than MI Riesling

Duchman Family Winery, Sangiovese “Reddy Vineyard” High Plains, Texas 2011: light ruby with orange streaks, bright fruit, pepper, touch of spice, light body, medium acid, short finish

Bookcliff Vineyards Syrah “Reserve” Grand Valley, Colorado, 2012: Colorado has 2 AVAs and 112 wineries, deep purple, ripe berries, spice, anise, medium body, tight tannins, nice acid, well balanced cool climate Syrah, restrained

Stone Hill Winery Norton Missouri Wine Country, Missouri 2011: native American grape, ripe berries, oak, spice, touch of vanilla and dark chocolate, very dry, full  mouth, long finish, needs cellaring to calm down a bit

 Beyond the Big Three tasting

The following four wines stood out to me and were wines I would buy:

Barboursville VermentinoBarboursville Vineyards Vermentino “Reserve” Virginia 2013: Virginia has 7 AVAs and 250 wineries, bright gold, beautiful aroma, fresh stone fruit, floral, lemon custard, honey suckle, minerality, well balanced acidity, dry with medium body and long finish; stainless steel fermentation, 12.8% alcohol, SRP $23. This was first time tasting Vermentino and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This was a delicious dry, refreshing white wine that would pair very well with seafood poultry and crisp summer meals. Visit Barboursville Vineyards web site to order.


Arizona Stronghold Rhone BlendArizona Stronghold Rhone Blend “Nachise” Bonita Springs, Arizona 2012: dark ruby with purple streaks, rich ripe blackberries, strawberries, menthol, spice, pepper with a touch of cayenne, earthy, great acid, medium body, long finish; crafted from 42% Syrah, 30% Petite Sirah, 18% Grenache, 10% Mouvedre; aged 95% neutral oak and 5% new French oak; 15.2% alcohol. This was a dark, jammy wine that would pair well with grilled steak, lamb and burgers. Arizona Stronghold was co-founded by rocker James Maynard Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle. He has parted ways with his co-founder and now owns Caduceus Winery. To order this delicious Rhone Blend visit Arizona Stronghold’s web site.

Perdernalles TempranilloPedernales Cellars Tempranillo, High Plains, Texas 2012: Texas has 8 AVAs with 300+ wineries, light garnet with purple highlights, ripe berries, plums, spice, toasted oak, medium body, high acidy, full mouth feel; 13.5% alcohol, this wine drinks well now and will only improve with age; SRP $50. Perdernales is a family owned winery located near Fredricksburg; specializing in award winning tempranillos and viogniers as well as many other high quality wines. Visit their web site to view their entire profile of wines and to order the Tempranillo.


RdV Vineyards Lost MountainRdV Vineyards Cabernet/Merlot “Lost Mountain” Virginia 2009: garnet with brown highlights, dark rich berries, black plums, black cherries, pepper and oak, 2nd vintage Bordeaux blend crafted of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 9% Petit Verdot; rich full mouth feel, refined tannins, well balanced acidity. This wine was well balance and had a great structure. I don’t one would know it was from VA if not told; great flavor profile. SRP $88, which does seem like a lot for a VA wine but once you taste it you will see this wine can hang with the “Big Wines of the Big Three.” To order this high quality Bordeaux blend visit Rdv Vineyard’s web site.

My Song Selection:  The song I have chosen to pair with this great tasting experience and the high quality wines is 3 Libras by A Perfect Circle. Not only is James Maynard Keenan the only rock star wine maker featured in this tasting, his wines are award winners and the press his wines receive is very positive. These wines were all very diverse and it is always a challenge to select a song to represent multiple wines from multi winemakers so the nod goes to Keenan. I chose a song to that represents his softer side (which is not an easy task) because it is more appropriate than say 46&2, which is a great song but does not fit here. Cheers to Keenan as well as all the winemakers in our 50 states who are crafting high quality wine.

Get your bottles of any and all of these high quality wines and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!





11 responses to “Fifty States of Wine”

  1. Very cool spotlight on lesser known wine regions. Much like here in Canada people generally think British Columbia first, then Ontario, but there lots of great wines outside those regions. I’m particularly impressed with the development of quality wine in my home province Nova Scotia. Benjamin Bridge is an excellent example of a small producer doing great things and growing with demand. Thanks for educating me on a few different wine regions in the US. Cheers!

  2. I really loved this session at TEXSOM. Great to hear about lesser known regions. I was really impressed with the Bookcliff Vineyards Syrah “Reserve” Grand Valley, Colorado. Deelish.

    • Hi Matt. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I too enjoyed the Bookcliff Syrah. I have now had two wines from Colorado. They seem to be producing some quality wines. I would enjoy exploring more. It is great that the US has such wine diversity. Cheers!

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