Some Texas Wine Gal favorites

White and rose wines make me smile, but sometimes a girl needs some red wines to balance things out.

Here are some beauties I have recently tasted:

2012 Duchman Dolcetto — This is a Texas winner! Lush black plum with a hint of raspberry and cocoa.  A smooth, medium-bodied dry red to enjoy just slightly chilled. (A Texas Fine Wine made from grapes from the Bingham Family Vineyards)

2010 McPherson Cellars Sangiovese

Made from some of the oldest vines in Texas, this light-bodied red has terrific cherry and cola notes with a hint of violet flower.

2010 Primus from Veramonte

This Carménère (member of the Cabernet family) does not disappoint! Dark cherry, plum, cocoa and black pepper notes.  Lush and full-bodied.



McPherson Roussanne Reserve 2012

Opened this beautiful Texas wine tonight — the McPherson Cellars 2012 Roussanne Reserve.  With tons of tart pineapple and stone fruit on the nose, it surprises with citrus (lemon and lime) on the palate. A full-bodied white with tons of acidity, this is a terrific wine to wind down the night.

Texas Wines at TEXSOM

The Taste Texas Wines Hospitality Suite, sponsored by Texas Monthly, was rocking at TEXSOM!  Guests enjoyed wines from some of the state’s most prestigious wineries including Brennan Vineyards, Duchman Family Winery, McPherson Cellars and Pedernales Cellars.

Jeff Ogle of Duchman Family Winery, Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards, Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars and Fredrik Osterberg of Pedernales.

Texas wine folks with MS Devon Broglie and MS Craig Collins

Todd Webster and Pat Brennan of Brennan Vineyards

TEXSOM founders and MS James Tidwell and MS Drew Hendricks

SOMM film star and MS Fred Dame with Fredrik Osterberg of Pedernales

Texas Monthly’s Jessica Dupuy (left) and Pat Sharpe with Four Seasons Austin Beverage Director and Advanced Sommelier Mark Sayre

Fred Dame and Kim McPherson share a glass of Texas wine

Jessica and yours truly with MS Fred Dame

Mark Sayre and Fred Dame

A Texas wine event is not complete with Texas grape grower and MS Guy Stout

MS Guy Stout who tested me for my Certified exam

Fredrik Osterberg and MS Jay James of Chappellet

Jessica, Jenny and I at the Texas Monthly table at the Grand Tasting

Kim and Kassie McPherson

Besides enjoying great Texas wine, we also celebrated Jenny achieving Level 1 Certification!

Jenny with one of her Intro instructors, MS Jay James

A Negroni after the Grand Tasting with pal and Certified Somm Matt McGinnis

Sangiovese — Texas vs The World

Tonight’s Sangiovese Showdown proved, once again, that Texas wines can stand up to their worldwide counterparts.  Organized by Gusto Tastings, the blind tasting featured 20 wines — 14 from Texas, six from Italy and one from Washington.


We tasted through all 20 wines blindly, providing our individual ratings.


My favs from Italy:

Natale Verga- cherry, cherry cola, leather, mocha notes, nice tannins, well balanced

Renieri-cherry, cranberry, leather on nose with cherry sweet tart on finish

Antinori-strawberry with hints of blue fruit and green notes, nice tannins

My favs from Texas:

Salt Lick Cellars Estate Sangiovese- sour cherry, cranberry, raspberry, leather notes with nice tannins (my top Texas Sangio of the night)

McPherson Cellars Sangiovese- cherry, cherry cola notes with a cherry sweet tart finish

Wedding Oak Winery Sangiovese- cherry and violet notes with cherry sweet tart finish

Llano Estacado Viviano- cherry notes with a hint of green/young wood from the Cabernet. Always a good wine.

Sangiovese is a grape that does well in Texas — next time you are considering a Texas wine, try a Sangiovese!


Thanks to Gusto Tastings and  Malaga Tapas & Bar for hosting this event.



Sway Rocks My Boat

I finally dined at Sway this weekend, and oh-la-la.  Loved every bite.  With my friend Kate, we started with the chicken wings with a chili tamarind caramel sauce and thai basil.  They came out super hot and sticky delicious.  I mean, delicious.

Next up: tiger cry.  Char-grilled hangar steak with a crazy hot red chili nahm jim that made my upper lip sweat.  Amazing.

The XO mussels had a smoky flavor with bacon, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Great flavor.

We ended the night with thai tea affogato….condensed milk ice cream with black tea tapioca and macadamia crumble underneath, with steaming thai tea poured on top. Silky.

We enjoyed a bottle of super crisp Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rose from Provence.  Nice to see the McPherson Cellars Rose on the wine list, too.

The group seating worked for us since we had corner seats, but I can see how conversation could be difficult with a bigger group. Loved the open viewing area of the kitchen.


Lucky girl

Yes, I really am one of the luckiest people I know.  I spend lots of my time enjoying wine and visiting Texas wineries.  The best part is the friends I travel with and the friends I make along the way, including the winemakers, winery owners and grape growers in the Texas wine industry.

This weekend, Jessica Dupuy of Texas Monthly, Alissa Leehner with SAHMmelier, Margaret Shugart with Wine Roads of Texas and I headed out for a Texas wine journey. 

Destination: Mason and Pontotoc. 

Of course, we had to make a few stops along the way, starting with Hye. Texas and William Chris Vineyards.


Tasting with Chris Brundrett of William Chris.

My two favs:


Next stop: 4.0 Cellars — the tasting room with McPherson Cellars, Brennan Vineyards and Lost Oak Winery.

Had to pick up Brennan Vineyards Lily and Buffalo Roam.


Next up:  Mason and swinging by Sandstone Cellars.


Scott Haupert with Sandstone Cellars


Beautiful, rich, dry reds powered by Touriga

I went home with this piece of art — not sure I will ever want to open it because it’s so beautiful!


Sandstone NV Port




Chillin’ with Cowboys and Gauchos

The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas has some killer events, and today’s Cowboys and Gauchos was one of them — super fun and laid back, with great wines and amazing BBQ meats prepared by local chefs.

The wines were primarily from Texas and Uruguay, both countries sharing similar climates.  More and more Texas wineries are making wines from Uruguay’s Tannat grape — including Bending Branch and Alamosa Wine Cellars, which includes Tannat in its Texacaia red blend. Alamosa’s Jim and Karen Johnson have also been pleased with their Graciano, the first of this Spanish varietal to be produced in Texas.  Super nice wine with chocolate-cherry flavor.

My wine favorites included some new Texas wines I have not tasted before:  Becker Vineyards Provencal Rose, the first Provencal made by their new winemaker John Leahy, and Flat Creek Estate’s Cuvee Blanc and Tempranillo.  I also enjoyed old favorites including the McPherson Cellars Albarino,  Duchman Family Winery Vermentino and the Pederales Cellars GSM.

Hye Meadows Winery is set to open in several months and will offer wines from Washington state, including a lovely Edelzwicker, Chardonnay and Sangiovese. Today, they shared a tank sample of their first Texas Tempranillo.

My food favorites: Jack Allen’s cabrito tacos and Cafe Josie glazed pork with a sweet sauce and served with the most amazing, super crisp sweet but peppery cookie. 


Salt Lick Pavilion meat pit


Jim and Karen Johnson with Alamosa Graciano


Alyssa @Sahmmelier and Matt @whatareyoudrinking


Hye Meadow Winery owners Mike and Denise Batek with Matt McGinnis


Hye Meadow Winery wines


David Mayfield, king of Tannat and importer of Uruguay wines


John Bratcher and Kassie McPherson, McPherson Cellars


Texas Monthly Top 20 Wine Picks for 2012

My friend Jessica Dupuy with Texas Monthly has shared her Top 20 favorite Texas wines — and lucky for me, I have tasted most of these.  I must admit the Brennan Vineyards Lily, the Duchman Winery Vermentino and Trebbiano and Perissos Roussanne are among my favorite white white wines.

For the reds, I am intrigued that two of the Top Reds are Nero D’Avola.  I have not tried either of these wines but will pick them up soon! I love the McPherson Sangiovese and William Chris Hunter for lighter style reds, and the Pedernales Tempranillo Reserve and the Pontotoc Vineyard San Fernando Academy when I’m hankering for something with some weight.

While I was getting over bronchitis last week, I sipped on the Hilmy Cellars Muscat Canelli and it was like enjoying a Clementine. It has nice acid to balance out its slight sweetness.  The Messina Hof Moscato is also a nice dessert wine that is not too sweet.

Go try some of these wines and let me know how you liked them!


With Texas Wine Month right around the corner, why don’t you pick up a Texas wine and give it a try?  I LOVE all the wines on this Dallas Morning News list.  The Duchman Vermentino (on tap at my local Whole Foods Market bar) is my go-to wine with sushi.


Check out this Texas Monthly story by Jessica Dupuy on the “new” Cap*Rock winery under Cathy Bodenstedt’s leadership.  Next time you are in Lubbock, go check them out (and McPherson Cellars and Llano Estacado).