Texas Wine Party!

When the quality of Texas wine is  this incredible The Texas Wineaux has a TEXAS WINE PARTY!

Texas Wine!

My beautiful wife Margie and I love wine. Everyone that even remotely knows us understands this very well!

We were married in France and caught the “Wine Bug” while discovering the most romantic city in the world, Paris France. When we ran out of time and money, we returned to Texas and began the incredible adventure of learning about  wine and the wonders that it brings. Naturally we favored “old world wines” from France, then Italy and Spain. Then after a trip to Napa Valley with a close friend that was a Wine Rep for Glazier, we were thoroughly hooked after tasting the phenomenal wines of Napa and Sonoma Valley.

Wine became a  lifestyle by this time!

Anyone that knows me very well also knows that I am a born and bred Texan! When you grow up in Texas, we study Texas History right along side American History. The people of the Great State of Texas have a pride and love of our state that I have never experienced anywhere in the U.S.

So I have followed the Texas Wine Industry since I first tasted wine in Gruene, Texas in 1981. I do not remember much detail about what the wine tasted like, or who the producers were at that time, because I was primarily a beer drinker. But I do remember it really did not impress me much! It was sweet and red, and my girlfriend liked it. I walked over to the legendary Gruene Hall and got a beer at the “Oldest Dance Hall in Texas”.

Gruene Hall, Oldest Dance Hall in Texas!
Gruene Hall, Oldest Dance Hall in Texas!

Texas Wine production has changed a lot in the last 35 years. It was in it’s infancy back then, and everyone seemed to think Texas had to become ‘the next California’. If you remember, California wine scene was still exploding in popularity after the Judgment of Paris in 1976 where the wines of Napa and Sonoma bested the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy.

But up until about 10-12 years ago the Texas Wine Industry was still trying to be the next Napa and Sonoma. In other words, they focused on Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot because that is what Americans were buying from California. But the varieties that do so well in Napa and Sonoma don’t necessarily do well in the arid and hot locations of Texas such as the Texas Hill Country AVA or the South Plains AVA near Lubbock. Check out great information here for Texas Wine Industry and Wine Growers in Texas!

Texas Wine has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and even more great improvements in the last 5 years! The best of the best are no longer heading West to California to grow grapes and produce fine wine. Many have learned that if you grow the right grapes for our hot arid terroir in Texas, you can produce as fine a wine as anywhere in the world! I have become very impressed with the quality, the variety of grapes grown and produced, and the incredible commitment to the craft from the bright new producers that have really changed Texas wine.

Now don’t get me wrong… there is still a ways to go, and there are plenty of Texas wineries that produce simple and sweet wines that have little to offer the true wine aficionado. But trust me when I say that it is not just unique to Texas. I have found simple unimaginative wines in Virginia, Michigan, Arizona, and even  lot’s in California.

I have been excited about sharing my enthusiasm with the true quality of some of my favorite Texas Wines for some time. What better way to spread the word than to gather my wine club the Dallas Wineauxs for a fun Texas Wine theme at my home?

Here are some of the producers that so graciously sent me samples to share my excitement  over Texas Wine quality, and notes of the night:

Pedernales Cellars:  One of the few underground wine producing wineries in the Southwest. Frederik Osterberg is the Co-Founder and President, and David Kuhlken is also a Co-Founder and Winemaker. Pedernales produces a stellar Tempranillo that the variety seems to be perfect  for Texas terrior, and many consider to be the “Official Red Grape of Texas”. They also make a very impressive GSM, but my favorite is the Reserve Viognier which was named the Texas Top Wine and Gold Metal at San Francisco International Wine Competition! Think ripe white peaches, lemon drops, beautiful floral nose, and vibrant acidity that cleans the palate. But don’t forget the Albarino, dry white wine with notes of peach & citrus fruits & perfect acidity.

McPherson Cellars: Kim McPherson is the WInemaker and has a degree in Enology and Viticulture from UC Davis. Kim started his label in 2000 and he and his father “Doc” McPherson have been pioneers in the development of Texas Wine.  The Mourvedre is the star here! Strawberry, raspberry, ripe cherries, and rose petals with elegant structure, and perfect for grilled meats. We also agreed the Les Copains Blanc was one of our favorites. Blend of Rousanne, Viognier, Marsanne, and Picuepul Blanc. Lemony, citrus, honesuckle, clean and refreshing!

Brennan Vineyards: Brennan Vineyards produce some of my personal overall favorite Texas Wines. The winery in in the tiny community of Comanche, Texas and Dr Pat Brennan began planting first vines in 2002. He decided to produce wine soon afterward and hired  Winemaker Todd Webster. Todd has a minimalist approach to his wines  and is incredibly talented. In fact his Reserve Viognier may be my favorite Texas Wine! Dry, full bodied white wine, Honeysuckle, Meyer lemon, white peaches, floral notes, and an incredible limestone minerality that is very reminiscent of the wines I enjoyed in France. But don’t forget the Reds! The 2013 Tempranillo is outstanding. Deep Garnet in your glass, black cherry, black and blue fruits, slightly earthy, medium tannins and delicious.

4.0 Cellars: This is a Winery and Tasting Room in Fredericksburg, TX collaboration of Brennan Vineyards, Lost Oak Winery, and McPherson Cellars. Todd Webster of Brennan Vineyards produced a terrific Mourvedre and sent me a bottle, and was one of the favorites of the night as well! 78% Mourvedre and 22% Ruby Cabernet. Ripe red wine with notes of Smoky meats, root beer, raspberries, blackberry, and slightly earth. I need another bottle Todd! The 4.0 Tasting Room is a must stop when in Fredericksburg.

Wedding Oak Winery: One of the new kids on the block in Texas Wineries, they began producing wine in San Saba in the Hill Country in 2012 but have made a true name for themselves in a very short time with real quality wines. Wedding Oak sources  grapes from the Texas Hill Country and High Plains AVA. One of our favorites of the evening was the Hill Country Sangiovese. Winemaker Penny Adams blends a bit of Tannat and Petite Verdot for structure. Soft palate, ripe black cherry, tart strawberry, and a nice grip of tannins.

Spicewood Vineyards: Spicewood sent several yummy wines to sample, but the favorite was a truly special Rose of Mourvedre that was a big hit! Very light in color, floral on the nose with notes of strawberry, and tropical fruits on the palate. Juicy and vibrant with perfect acidity. This wine begs for BBQ on the patio or pool time! The Temranillo sourced from the High Plains AVA was impressive as well. Juicy red and black fruits, red plums, and med tannins. Ron Yates is the Owner, and President. and Todd Crowell is the Winemaker. His commitment to the great wines of Texas is very evident in his delicious wines.

A great time was had by all, and I want to thank all our close friends and the Dallas Wineauxs for bringing lots of terrific foods to nibble on during the night!

And a HUGE thank you to my beautiful wife Margie for setting a great table!

Texas Wine Party at the Texas Wineaux Home!
Texas Wine Party at the Texas Wineaux Home!

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

Texas Wines
Texas Wines
Wedding Oak Syrah
Wedding Oak Syrah

Video Texas Wine

A big thank you goes out to all the featured wineries for sending samples to share and to share the greatness of TEXAS WINE!

Thank you for reading my ramblings of a Texas Wineaux and check back from time to time for new articles.

Terry Hill

Please leave a comment!

Savour South Australia Wines

Savour South Australia Wines: Old Vines, Classic Wines, Family Lines made it’s way through Dallas, Texas this last week. I was luck enough to be invited to attend the Seminar in Downtown Dallas located at Café Momentum.

Savour South Australia Seminar!
Savour South Australia Seminar!

About the time I think I actually know a lot about wine, I quickly realize there is an immense amount of information about the wonders of wine and the production of grapes that I have yet to learn. This is why I have such a passion for the grape;  just as many of you reading this now do as well. It is a never ending journey discovery and love for this thing called wine.  So when I get invited, I feel very fortunate to get to attend these types of seminars. I always learn so much, and is very humbling at the same time, and I start my journey of discovery all over again.

Savour South Australia Wines Seminar was no exception!

Savour South Australia Lineup. A great way to start Lunch on a Tuesday!
Savour South Australia Lineup. A great way to start Lunch on a Tuesday!

Australia’s wine story is long and storied.  The South Australian wine story is even more exciting and historic.

I discovered some of the oldest living grape vines in the world are in Australia!

The Barossa and McLaren Vale Regions of South Australia are the only one of the world-famous viticultural area in the world NOT to have been ravaged by Phylloxera. Therefore it remains home to some of the oldest continually producing vineyards in the world.

The first Colony  was founded in 1836 in Australia, with McLaren Vale area founded by John McLaren 2 years afterward. The first grape vines were planted at this time in 1838 by John Reynell and Thomas Hardy. Soon the Seaview Winery and Hardy Winery were in operation by 1850!

The Barossa was settled in 1842 with some of the first European Settlers. First came the British as farmers and landowners, and then the Lutheran German speaking Silesian farmers and craftsmen, who brought also brought in the grapevines to the Barossa, and the rest is history!

Wine Regions of Australia
Wine Regions of Australia

The State of South Australia is one of 6 total and 2 Territories. To get an idea of the size, the State of South Australia is 1.4% bigger than the size of the State of Texas. With a population however of only 1.3 million, or about the population of Dallas, Texas alone. Most of these residents live in the City of Adelaide.

Map of South Australia
Map of South Australia

The cool winds blow from West to East across South Australia coming from the Antarctica, so even though the summer temperatures can be very warm, the cool winds are ideal for cooling the grapes at night and keeping humidity from being much of an issue in viticulture. Cool wet winters and warm, dry summers are ideal for grape growing.

Temperatures are only slightly warmer than that of the Bordeaux region of France in the Barossa Valley. The makes for lush wines more similar to the Napa Valley in California. Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay are the favored white wines for Barossa, but you will also find Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz (Syrah), and Mataro (Mourvedre) are king here. In fact some of the oldest Grenache vines in the world are still thriving today, dating back to 1848, and 1843 for gnarly old Shiraz grapevines!

Barossa

The Eden Valley depends on the higher altitude and the slope of the hills, as well as the more shallow and rocky soils to produce more acidic wines such as world class Riesling!

McLaren Vale is located about 40 minutes south of the capitol of South Australia, Adelaide. The climate is Mediterranean and characterized by warm summers, moderate winters dominated by rainfall, low relative humidity, and relatively high evaporation. The climate can be very diverse between the Gulf of St Vincent to the south and Mt. Lofty to the north. This climatic diversity helped producers embrace Spanish and Italian varieties such as Barbera, Fiano, Tempranillo, Mouvedre, and Moscato, as well as re-emerging varieties such as Viognier, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Verdelho. Having said that the Key Varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and the crown jewel of McLaren Vale; Shiraz!

We tasted through the 12 wines listed below, and each were very different, yet very reminiscent of the “Aussie Styles” that I have been familiar with from top quality wines I have been accustomed too in the past.

Savour South Australia Wine Seminar
Savour South Australia Wine Seminar

The intense Grenache, Mouvedre, and GSM (Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre) can be very tannic when young, but the aging potential is outstanding. The young wines tend to be full bodied, lush ripe & rich dark fruits, chocolate, licorice, and complex. The Aged Wines lend more to mocha, earthy, prune, savory meats, cigar box.

The 2010 Cirillo Estate 1850 Grenache was produced from Grenache vines dating back to 1850. Bright Cherry, intense and seductive palate.

My favorites were the Shiraz’s (6-9 on list above). The Dark fruits such as blackberry, blackcurrant, and plum dominate with floral qualities, and long finishes. Aging potential should be outstanding. I would love to taste through these Shiraz again in 20 years just to see how it has evolved.

My absolute favorite was the 2010 Angove The Medhyk Shiraz. The fruit was hand-picked with only the best, then hand selected with only the best barrels to insure the absolute best the winery can offer! This is a wine I will be looking to add to my collection.

Another favorite of the day was the 2006 Elderton Ode de Lorraine Barossa Valley. This is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Shiraz, and 12% Merlot. This was a very lush wine with black and red fruits, current, vanilla, and fresh leather. Still plenty of tannin structure remaining  after 10 years in bottle, really shows how well this wine was structured. I will be looking for this bottle as well!

Elderton Ode To Lorraine
Elderton Ode To Lorraine

Most unusual wine of the year for me? The 2012 Shingleback Black Bubbles McLaren Vale! This is a SPARKLING SHIRAZ made in the “Methode Traditionelle” of the Champagne Region of France with the secondary fermentation in-bottle! Yes you read right… A sparkling red wine! I understand in McLaren Vale Region it is traditional to open a sparkling shiraz at Christmas Dinner. I was amazed and cannot wait to find more here in Texas. The body of a red wine with the cleansing palate of a sparkling wine would be perfect for a spicy Chinese dish including Peking Duck.

As I said I learned so much, and I got to spend time with my Dallas Wineauxs Wine Group I started a few years ago, so a fun time was had by all.

I have gotten a new-found respect and admiration for the Wines of South Australia!

So next time you are out looking for a terrific high quality wine remember the Wines of South Australia!

Thank you for reading my ramblings and thoughts. Please leave a comment of any kind, I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, or anything relating to the Wines of South Australia and any other article included.

Terry Hill is the Texas Wineaux!

Perfect Pool, Beach, or Patio Wine Glasses!

If you are looking for the perfect Pool, Beach, or Patio wine classes I found them!

I spotted the stainless steel wineglasses on Twitter, and decided I had to have these ultra-cool perfect outdoor wine glasses for myself. So, I contacted Vinotrek and they rushed them to me in a few days.

Vinotrec Stainless Steel Wine Glasses
Vinotrec Stainless Steel Wine Glasses

As you can see from the picture they are stainless steel. So no need to worry about dropping them near the pool and worrying about broken glass near or in the pool area! The stemless wine glasses are crafted from 18/8 food grade stainless steel. Vinotrek claims this special alloy will not allow flavors or odors to absorb into the product.

Best of all they are “Double Wall Construction”, which not only makes them durable, but allows for a high performance vacuum insulation that keeps your wine perfectly chilled!

Do you like to drink wine at the beach or at the campsite? The wide bottom allows them to rest stably in the sand or in the grass without tipping over and spilling your blessed wine.

We used them on the patio this weekend as the temperature in Texas reached 84-F outside. I poured my darling wife Margie her favorite Fopolli Chardonnay, and poured myself a William-Selyem Zinfandel into the Vinotek glasses. The wines stayed cool for the entire time we were outside, what a great product!

Perfect for the Patio, Pool, or Beach!
Vinotrec Wine Glasses – Perfect for the Patio, Pool, or Beach!

I plan on using them all summer long, and they will travel to Destin, Florida this summer for our beach vacation!

If you follow my Twitter (@friscokid49) and Instagram (@texaswineaux1) I assure you that you will see them again.

I do not endorse a lot of products, but I definitely give these the 2-thumbs up! You can find them online here: VINOTREK

Thank you for stopping by, and leave comments below if you like!

Terry Hill is the Texas Wineaux!

Chill Wine Quickly

How to quickly chill wine

Rose is made for Summer!
Rose is made for Summer!

Did you ever need to chill down a bottle of wine quickly? If you have not visited Texas in July I am sure you have heard…  it is warm (no hot!) in Texas during the summer months. I understand many of our close friends drink red wine year round and rarely consume white wines. Unless we are grilling steaks or smoking a brisket, Margie and I drink white or chilled rose wine almost exclusively during the warm summer months.

I am a “red wine in winter & white or rose wine in summer” kind of guy!

Picture this: One of our close friends call to ask if it is ok to “drop-by” to say hello and catch up with us. They know they are always welcome, and we ALWAYS have great wine at our home. Even though I have 3 wine fridges with one dedicated to white wines only that is set at 45-F, it seems the bottle of white wine I want to drink is not in the white wine fridge. Or we have one in the white wine fridge to open and pour, but that is only 4 glasses per bottle so we need another bottle chilled quickly!

Here is the solution: Wet a dish towel with water until it is wet but not dripping. Wrap it around the bottle of wine. Then put the wrapped bottle in the freezer. In10-15 minutes your bottle of wine will chill to a perfect 42-45 degrees and good to pour!

Why this works: The freezer alone will chill wine. But the wetness of the towel conducts and holds the coldness better, therefore it will chill the wine inside quicker!

I hope you enjoy this quick tip to chill wine. I will be adding this feature from time to time to assist you in enjoying your wine even more. So stop by often for new content!

Thank you for reading the ramblings of the Texas Wineaux, and please leave a comment below!

Terry Hill is the Texas Wineaux!

Uncork