I just can’t get enough

And I’m not talking about the Black Eyed Peas song, which is playing through my head now. 

I can’t get enough of rose or “pink” wines — and I’m talking the super dry (not sweet!) pink wines that are super refreshing and that just dance in your mouth.

Tonight it’s the Starmont Rose 2013 from Merryvale Vineyards in Napa Valley.  Salmon color, watermelon and citrus on the nose, and gorgeous peach on the finish. 

Lettie Teague of the WSJ just did a story on summer rose wines — of course, when in doubt, go with a rose wine from Provence (Bandol) or Travel. Check out some pink wines from the USA too… I recently enjoyed some terrific Rose of Pinot Noir from Oregon….and this delicious number from Texas’ own Pedernales Cellars.

Below are some other terrific roses to check out.


Spicewood Vineyards — What’s Next?

Spicewood Vineyards is among the oldest wineries and vineyards in Texas, with 20+-year-old vines still producing some of the best Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion in the state.  And they can add Tempranillo now to their notoriety.

Since Ron Yates purchased the winery from the Manigolds, he has planted new acres of mostly Spanish and Portugese grapes. While he makes several estate wines, he also relies on High Plains fruit to make his portfolio of wines, which are winning medals right and left.

Yates credits his award-winning wines to his new winemaker, Todd Crowell, who studied at Texas A&M and got hands on wine-making experience working for several Sonoma wineries.  Like every good Texan, Crowell wanted to return to the Lone Star State and Ron snatched him up.

Todd Crowell and Ron Yates

And just in time because Yates is expanding with a new tasting room, production facility and vineyard just six miles outside of Johnson City in the burgeoning new Johnson City-Hye winery corridor. 

Here are some notes from a recent tasting with Ron and Todd:

Estate Sauvignon Blanc - refreshing (not overpowering) grapefruit, lemon, white floral.  No oak.  Delicious. 

Estate Semillion — lemon, grapefruit, herbal notes, but softer, rounder than the Sauvignon Blanc.  One of my favs.

Rose of Tempranillo — watermelon, green notes, reminds me of the Muga Rose.  Can’t wait for the new vintage because they are sold out of this wine.

2012 Bayer Vineyard Tempranillo — blackberry, blueberry, floral and pepper notes, soft tannins.

2012 Estate Tempranillo — black and blue fruit, violets, cocoa and pepper notes, nice minerality.  Won Gold at the TEXSOM-DMN Competition.

Estate Merlot — blue and black fruit, green notes, pepper. :Lush.

Finally, the barrel sample of The Good Guy 2013 (named after Ron’s grandfather) — delicious goodness of cherry and raspberry flavors.


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.

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.)

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.

I am crying over wine.

My tears are for joy — and sadness.  I am thrilled to share the news that Perissos Vineyards & Winery in Burnet received “Best of Class” for its 2012 Aglianico at the prestigious San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.


Perissos is the only Texas winery to receive this honor since 2006.

I’m sad because this is the wine (2011 vintage) I bought last year on a road trip to Perissos, which bit the dust when our car slammed on the brakes to avoid a deer.


Poor me.

Congrats Seth and Laura on this great honor!


Hawk’s Shadow Vineyards

Deep in the heart of the Hill Country (and smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite cycling routes) is the new Hawk’s Shadow Estate winery and vineyards. (For my cycling friends, the winery is 3-4 miles down McGregor at the end of our Fitzhugh ride.)

With a breathtaking view, the winery has big plans and, in my view, is on the right track. They are planting the right gapes for Texas — grenache, syrah, mourvedre, aglianico, nebbiolo, tempranillo and my fave, sangiovese.

Right now they offer a 2011 Orange Muscat and it’s dry, which makes me super happy.  With lots of orange and honeysuckle notes, it’s got nice minerality (although I would like to see this with a bit of acid, which would give it a nice kick and brightness).

The 2011 HSV Estate is a blend of sangiovese, syrah, tempranillo, grenache and mourvedre.  Again, another really nice wine with cherry and raspberry flavor, balanced with pencil lead and leather notes.  It’s just been bottled so get it and give it some time.

We enjoyed some barrel samples of mourvedre in different oaked barrels, which is super cool because you can really taste the difference in how wines are aged. The 2012 mourvedre in the neutral French barrel is so elegant with great strawberry, cherry and cocoa notes, but and the 2012 in the Hungarian barrel screams bacon, pepper and leather.  I see an interesting blend in the future.

Congrats to brothers Tom and Doug who are making these wines!  Looking forward to see more of what’s to come.

Tom and Doug Reed


Pontotoc Vineyards

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon — tasting the new releases from Pontotoc Vineyards. Pontotoc is Indian for “land of hanging grapes.”

Made by owner Carl Money and winemaker Don Pullum, these wines show what Texas can do with warm climate grapes like Tempranillo, Mourvedre, and Alicante Bouschet. 

My favorite — their signature blend San Fernando Academy, named for the old school on the property located on Highway 71 and FM 501 in Mason County. This is a blend of 65 percent Tempranillo, 15 percent Mourvedre, 15 percent Alicante, and 5 percent Cab. With lots of red fruit and mint on the nose, it is rounded out by the Alicante and offers a chocolate cherry finish. Yes, I will enjoy this bottle tonight.

The Smoothing Iron Mountain, named for the mountain between Llano and Pontotoc, is 75 percent Tempranillo, 20 percent Cab and 5 percent Alicante. With bright red/cherry fruit, it offers some earth and spice tones.

Finally, the estate Tempranillo offers tart, red currant and cherry flavors, with some green tobacco notes.  This is a favorite of Mary Stanley of the Turtle Restaurant in Brownwood.  Next time you are in Brownwood, make time for dinner at the Turtle Restaurant…great food!


Wedding Oak Terre Blanc

I visited Wedding Oak Winery recently and am so glad I picked up this bottle of Terre Blanc — a Roussanne-Marsanne blend.  Great fruit - peach, lime, combined with some racy acidity.  A really great white wine to sip.

Roussanne continues to shine as a great Texas white wine grape.