Crystal blue water, glistening golden sandy beaches, bronze bodies, and a kaleidoscope of flora and fauna. These are a few things that come to mind when I think of the Mediterranean. It is a tempered tropical region with some of the world’s best vacation destination. I live in Texas. Although I enjoy my great state it in no way reminds me of the Mediterranean. However, Mediterranean grapes disagree, finding Texas to be a comfortable home that allows them to be cultivated into a delicious glass of wine.
I know it is hard to believe but keep in mind Texas is a huge state (as large as France), with a variety of climates, soils, and agricultural zones. The more I travel the more I come to understand that people who have never been to Texas really do not understand the size and diversity of the state. The majority of grapes in Texas are grown within the Hill Country AVA and High Plains AVA. Parts of these regions share a similar climate to the Mediterranean. Both have warm to hot, dry summers with mild to cool and wet winters. According to US Climate Data, the average rainfall in the Texas High Plains is 18.28”, with up to 3” of annual snowfall, and an average temperature is 59.95° F. With the Texas Hill Country located further south, the rainfall totals and average temperatures increase.
All this is to say, Texas is an ideal second home for Mediterranean grapes. Furthermore, as the Texas wine industry has worked diligently over the past several decades to improve viticulture through trial and error, the industry is finding its groove through utilizing Mediterranean grapes to express Texas terroir. Wedding Oak Winery in San Saba, Texas is a prime example of Texas winemaker crafting high quality wines using Mediterranean grapes.
Wedding Oak Winery utilizes estate vineyards in the Texas Hill Country and vineyards in the Texas High Plains to craft a variety of award-winning wines using a variety of Mediterranean grapes. They also live by a philosophy we can all embrace:
“Wine is about the shared pleasures of life.
Slow down long enough to appreciate the blessings of the land while enjoying local food and wine with friends, family and community. And that’s where we began.” ~ Wedding Oak Winery
Here are four examples:
2016 Wedding Oak Winery Roussanne Texas High Plains USA ($28):
This wine is crafted of 100% Roussanne grapes cultivated in the Narra Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. Wedding Oak described the 2016 harvest as “stellar.” In fact, it was so good this is their first production of a single varietal Roussanne. This wine, crafted from a Rhone variety, won a gold medal at the prestigious 34th annual Lone Star Wine Competition, AND a silver medal at the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards.
My notes: Medium lemon with straw hues; medium+ aromas of apples, pears, lemon curd, wild jasmine, honey, sweet spice notes, marcona almonds; rich and elegant on the palate with layers of flavors, depth in texture, pronounced acidity that coats the mouth making it pucker, long, persistent tart finish; this is wine delivers on every level. This full-body white wine is perfect with seafood, shellfish, poultry, and creamy pasta, but will also stand up well with bbq pulled pork and ribs. Stellar wine.
2016 Wedding Oak Winery Marsanne Texas Hill Country USA ($29):
This 100% Marsanne (another Rhone variety) was grown atop a mesa overlooking Cherokee Creek in the estate vineyards in the Texas Hill Country in San Saba, consisting of deep limestone and clay soils. This first production wine also won silver at the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards.
My notes: Pale gold; medium+ aromas of ripe stone fruit, tropical fruit, white floral notes, sweet spice notes, cashews, and trailing cedar; silky mouth-feel, faint nuttiness on the palate from time in neutral French oak, medium body, round texture, medium acidity, refreshing with a nutty fruit medium finish. This fresh and clean wine will pair great with charcuterie, seafood, shellfish, poultry, and summer salads.
2015 Wedding Oak Winery Regency Bridge Red Blend Texas Hill Country USA ($28):
This red blend is crafted of 43% Graciano, 39% Tempranillo, 16% Grenache, and 3% Tannat, bringing together Spanish and French Mediterranean grapes in one bottle. These grapes were all cultivated from vineyards in San Saba County in the Texas Hill Country. This wine was crafted as a Rioja style blend and represents the first vintage since its creation in 2012.
My notes: Medium+ ruby with garnet hues; medium aromas of cooked blackberries, cherries, boysenberries, raspberries, and cranberries, sweet baking spice, candied violets, black pepper, dusty earth; medium body, lots of juicy fruit on the palate, medium acidity and tannins that are youthful yet approachable, fresh, easy drinking wine with a medium finish. This wine is a crowd pleaser, easy to enjoy with BBQ, grilling, steak, lamb, and chile.
2015 Wedding Oak Winery Sangiovese Texas Hill Country USA ($29):
This wine is a blend of 86% Sangiovese and 14% Tannat. The grapes were cultivated in Tio Pancho Vineyards in San Saba in the Texas Hill Country. It is crafted in the expression of Super Tuscan and won a bronze medal in the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition Awards.
My notes: Medium- garnet, medium aromas of cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, currants, all slightly dried, dried roses and black tea, black currant leaf, dusty earth, black pepper, savory spice notes; medium+ body wine with pronounced acidity and grippy tannins, elegant with tension between earthiness and juiciness, a lovely representation of Texas Sangiovese. Pair this wine with wild boar pasta, fillet, ribeye, lamb, lasagna, meatloaf, or spaghetti Bolognese.
Each of these wines, and many more, are available by ordering online through the Wedding Oak Winery web site. I sincerely hope by now you are embracing online ordering for wine purchases. If not, you are limiting your own experiences. Texas wines are not distributed throughout the US in local retailers; however, they are easily accessible with just a few clicks.