What do you know about the Texas Wine Industry? As a Texan, I have known and experienced the Texas Wine Industry for decades. Therefore, it always surprises me when those outside Texas are unaware of that Texas even has a wine industry. For the record, every one of America’s 50 states produces wine; however, I have only had wine from about 18. Though I know Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, etc produce wine I do not know anything about their respective wine industries. For those of you who did not know Texas produces high quality wines, allow me to introduce to you to Spicewood Vineyards!
Did you know Texas has the fifth largest acreage of wine grapes of any state, approximately 8,000 acres! The majority of the grapes are grown in what is known as the Texas High Plains; however, the majority of the wineries are located in the picturesque Texas Hill Country. There are 350 bonded wineries in Texas contributing $1.88billion in revenue to the Texas economy. Though Texas wine makers grow an eclectic variety of grapes they are learning Mediterranean varietals from France, Spain and some Italian varietals are best suited for the Texas climate. In June 2015, Texas wine writer Andrew Chalk summed up beautifully the Texas Wine Industry in The Daily Meal. Chalk recounts the first season of The Taste on ABC, now cancelled, where contestant Don Pullum (who I had the pleasure to meet at the 2015 TexSom Conference), was asked his occupation by the cast of world famous chefs. When Don explained he was a Texas winemaker French Chef Ludo Lefebvre replied, “I did not know there was any wine in Texas!” Thankfully Chalk’s article not only highlights the Texas Wine Industry but explains in his article and title that the “Texas Wine Industry is set to become a major player!” The problem is Texas has done a poor job promoting itself. (To learn more about this read Matt McGinnis’ article “I’m Embarrassed to be a Texan.” However, there are two key indicators that promotion is on the uptrend in the Texas Wine Industry. First, the Texas Wine Industry has been selected to be the host of the 2016 Wine Tourism Conference! The committee selected Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country, this is only the second time a location for the Wine Tourism Conference is to be held outside the West Coast! Second, the number of medals awarded to Texas wines in out-of-state wine competitions has risen from 30 a year from 1984-2011, to increasing up to 164 medals in 2014! One of these perineal award winning Texas wineries is Spicewood Vineyards!
Edward and Madeleine Manigold began Spicewood Vineyards in 1992 with the goal of making the finest wines possible. Their first Chardonnay won a silver medal in a national competition. After the Manigold’s promising start, the Yates family took over and now continues the tradition of making fine wines that have won State, Regional, National and International Competitions. Spicewood Vineyards Tempranillo has been awarded a Texas Top 10 Wine in consecutive 2011 and 2012 vintages by Texas Monthly Magazine! I received four media samples of Spicewood Vineyards wines from Pen and Tell Us; here are my tasting notes:
2014 Sauvignon Blanc: This wine was crafted of 100% Sauvignon Blanc from grapes cultivated in the Texas Hill Country and poured soft gold with green hues into the glass. Dry fall grass mingled among stone fruit, citrus, white floral notes and soft melon with a hint of minerality on the back of the palate; creamy in texture yet brisk in acidity this was a well-balanced, light yet lively wine, mouth-coating with a lingering dry finish. Perfect wine to sip by the fire and recall a cool early spring day or pair enjoy as an aperitif with marcona almonds, aged white cheddar and pimento cheese spread, or with a meal of roasted salmon, chicken salad, or a creamy potato leek soup. Fermented and aged 6 months in stainless steel.
2014 Mourvèdre Rosé: This wine was crafted of 100% Mourvèdre from grapes cultivated in the Texas High Plans and poured a soft salmon into the glass. Cantaloupe, white peaches, apricots, touch of orange zest, and some savory thyme dazzle the palate in a carefully crafted wine that delivers a complexity of flavors across the palate in a clean, crisp and round sip. It was very well balanced with familiar comfortability yet a classy feel. Crisp but not penetrating acidity allow for a soft, clean finish. A versatile rosé that will pair with most anything from burgers to your Christmas feast this is a perfect wine to have on your table year round! Fermented and aged 8 months in stainless steel. SRP $18.99
2013 Syrah: This wine was crafted of 100% Syrah from grapes cultivated in the Escondido Valley and poured an inky purple into the glass. Black berry marmalade, black cherries and black raspberries were exuberantly wrapped in cedar spice box, dark chocolate, licorice and smoked meats in a broodingly full body wine that was mouth coating with a dusty tar lingering finish. Round acidity and rich tannins indicate this wine well lengthen and become more cohesive with proper cellaring. However, it was quite pleasing upon opening and will pair beautifully with winter fare of hardy pasta dishes, wild game, beef tenderloin with a creamy peppercorn sauce and steak soup. Aged 12 months in 25% new American oak, 25% 1 year old American oak and 50% neutral oak. SRP $30.99
2014 Tempranillo: This wine was crafted of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from grapes cultivated in the Texas Hill Country and poured a deep garnet into the glass. Black cherries and black raspberries are met with spice notes of cinnamon and all spice, a touch of ash, licorice and dark chocolate. A complex crafting of a new world wine with an old world rustic quality that was quite pleasing with pronounced acidity and tannins that also indicate a leaner integration with proper cellaring. However, certainly enjoyable now, especially if you enjoy acid like I do. Pair this wine with smoked brisket, andouille sausage, beef empanadas or braised beef short ribs for a delicious winter meal. Aged 12 months in 40% new French oak and 60% neutral oak.
These wines are available direct from Spicewood Vineyards and in local Texas wine retailers.
Spicewood Vineyards is conveniently located between Austin and San Antonio in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. They host a number of fun events throughout the year including an annual 10K, ½ marathon and 5K called Wicked Wine Run: Run Wicked, Drink Wine, Rock On! How great is that! Furthermore, the scenic estate of Spicewood Vineyards is perfect for weddings and parties. See the Spicewood Vineyards to learn more about these events.
If you are not familiar with Texas wines Spicewood Vineyards is a perfect launching pad for excellence. And if you have never been to Texas or visited any Texas wineries what are you waiting for? We are friendly people so come on down to the Lone Star state and see what all the wine fuss is about!
My Song Selection: In addition to wine there are decades of great music that come out of Texas; ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble, Willie Nelson, Gary Clark Jr, Janis Joplin, to name a very small few. One of my favorite Texas bands is from Austin, the musical capital of Texas. Spoon is an alternative rock band with a modern sound that is pleasing and diverse; a great pairing with Spicewood Vineyards!
Get your own bottle of Spicewood Vineyards wine and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!