A Montepulciano from Texas - a Texas Fine Wine

After riding 65 miles in the rolling (and windy) Texas Hill Country today, I decided to open a Texas wine to celebrate. And yes, there is a Montepulciano in Texas —from Duchman Family Winery.


Boy does it deliver — great plum, blackberry and black cherry notes that are balanced with hints of leather and tobacco. A great wine to pair with food or to sip by itself (slightly chilled).

I just heard that Newsom Vineyards planted some Brunello today in the High Plains (I think for Lewis Wines) — can’t wait to try that wine in three or so years.


Real Ale Ride 2014


Duchman Family Winery is part of Texas Fine Wine, representing four of Texas’ most distinguished wineries that produce quality wines sourced from Texas appellation vineyards.  I am proud to represent Texas Fine Wine.

Dry Creek Valley Wines

When I think Dry Creek Valley, I think Zin.  And I’m not a big Zin fan, but when invited to a tasting of Dry Creek Valley wines, I wanted to go and see what they had to offer — largely because Sonoma Valley reminds me so much of the Texas Hill Country in its beautify, low-key atmosphere, and diversity of wines.

I must admit I was pretty surprised because my favorite wines were two Sauvignon Blancs and a Rose of Zinfandel. 

The Fritz Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc had great grapefruit, orange, white peach notes with this terrific flint minerality.  Plus it’s pretty cool that Fritz has a two-story underground winery!

The Dutcher Crossing Sauvignon Blanc had this great floral nose and finish that surprised me until I found out the wine has a bit of Viognier in it.

The Pedroncelli Rose of Zinfandel is from a 4th-generation family that has been making wine since 1954.  This strawberry, raspberry number also reminded me (in a good way!) of the cherry cola Slurpees I enjoyed as a kid.  It wasn’t sweet, but had some interesting cola notes.

The rest of the line up included a Dasche Cellar Les Enfants Terribles Grenache, Estate 1856 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Vineyard ‘The Mariner’ Meritage (Bordeaux blend), Ridge Lytton Springs (blend of Zin, Grenache and Carignan), and a Perrari-Carano Zin from 20-year-old vines.

The main things to know about Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma is that this region produces a wide variety of wines, not just Zin, with different styles by the different wineries.  Many are dedicated to making their wines sustainably and organically when they can. 

If you want more information, check out Wines of Dry Creek Valley.


Charles & Charles Rose

This is a bargain rose wine from the Charles & Charles portfolio (a collaboration between Charles Smith and Charles Bieler.). I met Charles Bieler a year or so ago when he visited Whole Foods Market to unveil one of his wines on tap at Bar Lamar.

Charles Bieler and Devon Broglie, MS, Whole Foods Market

The 2012 rose has notes of strawberry and cherry, great minerality and the perfect pairing with my grilled salmon tonight.

It’s also a great sipping wine, too!  Tip from the Texas Wine Gal: keep a bottle chilled in your fridge at all times.


Gruner Veltliner from Hungary

If I can’t have Chablis, then give me Gruner!  Gruner is one of the best-kept white wine secrets — a lot of people are not familiar with it but should give it a try if you like dry, racy white wines. 

This Count Karolyi Gruner has great tart green apple notes and terrific acidity that almost hints at effervescence. And love the minerality (chalk, limestone) on it.

Most Gruners are from Austria but this beauty is from Hungary. I’m pretty sure this is my first Hungarian wine and it sure doesn’t disappoint.


This perfect, crisp and cool Austin evening deserves a refreshing wine and tonight’s pick is the 2011 Bodegas Muga Rosado Rioja. Super light pinkish-orange in color, you get strawberry and raspberry on the nose, with tart green apple and lime on the finish.

From Spain, this rose is made from Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura.


Fourchaume Chablis Premier Cru

Those of you who know me know I love Chablis,  On Easter, I opened this beauty that has honey notes on the nose, with lemon citrus and minerality on the palate. Super nice body and acidity too.

The 2011 Domaine Gerard Tremblay Chablis Premier Cru “Fourchaume” Vieilles Vignes (I know….super long name…those French love to complicate things) is about $30 from Austin Wine Merchant.


A Texas Fine Wine — Duchman Vermentino

This is one of my go-to white wines because it’s so crazy refreshing.  The Duchman Family Winery Vermentino has lemon and lime flavors, some white floral notes, and crazy acidity on the finish.  So crisp and clean, it’s no wonder it’s a great summer time white.

It’s easily found at Whole Foods Market, Spec’s and other retailers, and I’m always really happy when it’s on tap at Whole Foods Market’s bars because it’s the perfect pairing with sushi.

Duchman Family Winery is part of Texas Fine Wine, a distinctive group of highly respected wineries recognized for making quality Texas appellation wines.


*Disclosure: Texas Fine Wine is one of my favorite clients.

A Texas Fine Wine — Pedernales Cellars Dry Rose

If you’re looking for a terrific Texas dry rose wine, you won’t be disappointed with the Pedernales Cellars Dry Rose.  With hints of strawberry and raspberry on the nose, along with some rose flower notes, this dry rose screams tart cherry on the palate.

To no surprise given it’s made from Sangiovese and Tempranillo grapes. I even get a hint of earth on this bone dry rose, which I suspect is from the terroir (i.e., red dirt) of the Texas High Plains.


Pedernales Cellars is one of four wineries that make up Texas Fine Wine, a distinctive group of highly respected wineries recognized for making high quality Texas appellation wines. The other wineries include Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards, and Duchman Family Winery.

You can’t go wrong selecting a wine from any of these four wineries.


(*Full disclosure: Texas Fine Wine is one of my favorite clients.)

Marie Andre Bourgogne

If you’re looking for a refreshing, inexpensive Chardonnay — but you hate oaky Chards — give this French number a try.

Only $11 at Costco, this Marie Andre Bourgogne has pear and apple notes, with a hint of lemon on a creamy finish. Good value.

One of Texas’ Up and Coming Winemakers

Doug Lewis of Lewis Wines in Hye — keep an eye on this guy. 


Learning the ropes at Pedernales Cellars and with help from good friends at William Chris and Calais Winery, Doug Lewis is a young winemaker who is already making quality wines, and I can tell you that you can expect even more based on some recent barrel tastings.

Sadly, we did not meet Duncan McNabb — co-winemaker and co-owner of Lewis Wines who also got his start at Pedernales. He and Lewis are Texas winemakers to watch, for sure.

Currently available at Lewis Wines are his Texas White Viognier-Chenin blend, a refreshing floral, citrus, creamy white.  His 100 percent Viognier (unoaked) is equally delicious and fresh. 

The Texas Red blend of Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache has terrific aromas of strawberry, raspberry, red flowers and cinnamon.


Coming soon….a Blanc du Bois made in Vinho Verde style (with just a touch of effervescence), a 100 percent Mourvedre rose (tasted like a rose from Provence!), and several vineyard-designated Tempranillos.  Also in barrel is a 100 percent Touriga and a 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon (of course, made from Newsom Vineyards grapes).


When we visited, Doug was hosting Benjamin Calais, who was in Hye breaking ground on his new Texas Hill Country tasting room.  Benjamin is another young Texas winemaker to watch.


Benjamin Calais

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday or Sunday than to head to Hye and visit Lewis Wines, William Chris, Hye Meadows and Garrison Brothers Distillery,  


Lewis Wines view


Photos at Lewis Wines by Chas Erickson