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.


Whole Foods Market Wine Geek

Yes, I am going to be one of Whole Foods Market’s wine geeks, providing my two cents on some of my favorite wines you can find at their stores.  Look for my Texas Wine Gal shelf talker soon!

Here are three wines that I buy regularly during summer:

Duchman Family Winery Vermentino 2010 ($14.99) - a great alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, this wine is crisp and refreshing with citrus notes.  One of my favorite Texas wines, it pairs well with seafood, oysters and salad.

Bieler Pere et Fils Rose 2012 ($12.99) — I can’t get enough of this summer sipper. This deeply colored, dry rose from Provence has lots of red fruit flavor with a lingering finish. Enjoy poolside or with salads and grilled chicken or shrimp.

Drouhin Vaudon Chablis 2010 ($32.99) — my “splurge” wine is from the northernmost region of Burgundy, France, where its chalky, limestone soil provides great minerality in this chardonnay. With pear and citrus flavors, enjoy this refreshing white with crisp acidity by itself or pair with salads, chicken or fish.


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.