Becker Vineyards – Courtesy Texas Wine Country
Texas wines and vines occupy an important role in the history of global wine production. With over 4,000 acres of vineyards planted and boasting 436 wineries, Texas is continuing to impress national and international wine makers winning several prestigious awards.
The first vineyards were planted near El Paso in the 1662 by Franciscan priests looking to produce sacramental wines. Texas is also home to vines used by Thomas Munson from Denison in his research to create root stock to eradicate the Phylloxera disease that destroyed significant numbers of vineyards in France during the nineteenth century. Prohibition wiped out the growing Texas wine industry. It wasn’t until the 1970’s with the opening of Llano Estacado and Pheasant Ridge in the Texas High Plains appellation and La Buena Vida in Springtown that some of the first wineries started to recover.
Texas has 8 different appellations or American Viticulture Areas (AVA) designated to differentiate terroir and boundaries.
• Texas High Plains – located west of Lubbock in the Panhandle. This AVA produces 80% of the grapes grown in the state. This AVA is the home of 2 of the first wineries to open after the repeal of Prohibition.
• Texas Hill Country – the 2nd largest AVA in the US has, located North of San Antonio and west of Austin. This AVA hosts microclimates that have also been specified as AVAs within this blanket area.
• Bell Mountain – located north of Fredericksburg and part of the larger Hill Country AVA. This is the first designed AVA in Texas.
• Escondido Valley – located in Far West Texas in Pecos County.
• Texas Davis Mountains – a cool and wet AVA located in West Texas.
• Fredericksburg – 110 square miles located in the Hill Country.
• Mesilla Valley – a growing region north and west of El Paso that is has hot and dry growing conditions.
• Texoma – located in north central Texas neighboring the border of Oklahoma.
Thirty-eight varieties of grapes are grown through Texas. Multiple varieties of Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Viognier are grown along with lesser-produced varietals such as Tannat and Lenoir. Lenoir is used to make Texas port wines.
One varietal newer to the Texas landscape is Tempranillo and the focus of today’s blog. Tempranillo is an early ripening grape which makes it fit for Texas’hotter climates. My offering focus for today is Becker Vineyards located in the Texas Hill Country which produces an opaque plum colored 2015 Tempranillo with cherry and herb on the nose. Produced and bottled at the Becker Hill Country location the grapes were sourced from two wineries in the Texas High Plains –FarmHouse Vineyards and Diamante Doble. Winemaker Joseph Leahy has produced a wine with currant, cherry, a little smokiness, and light oak on the palate. The tannins are moderate, making this a pleasant wine to enjoy with pork, lamb, chicken dishes and some beef with my recommendation being filet mignon. The herbal flavors are complimentary to the fruit and are tasty for a medium lasting finish. This is not a jammy wine. The fruit content provides the nose and flavor without the thickness found in some jammier wines. With a list price of $24 per bottle this is a great value for the quality. I have found it for $13 in local wine stores. I recommend letting this wine breath for 30 minutes after chilling in your fridge for 30 minutes before enjoying to release the full aromas and tastes. The average home in Texas (even in the winter) is too warm to serve reds straight from the wine pantry. If you have a wine cooler than you are in luck and can get it to the recommended 62 degrees in no time flat.
When to Drink: Now or can hold up to 5 years
Alcohol Content: 14.2%
Food Pairing: Pork, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Filet Mignon
Average Selling Price: $24/bottle (I have found it for $13 at my local wine store – Total Wine)
Throughout 2018, I will explore Texas wineries around the state and feature a new wine each month. Come join me as we explore the growing wine industry in the Lone State!
Remember to drink what it is that makes you truly happy and always think positively!
#texaswine @beckervineyards #tempranillo