Why not support our Texas Hill Country wineries and impress your friends and family at the same time with the wide variety and high quality of Texas wines?
I’ve asked a handful of knowledgeable, wine-loving local friends how to make the holidays more festive with Texas wine. Now I know I need to try more Texas wine!
Disclosure: Matt McGinnis, Denise Clarke, Julia Dixon, and Aleida Taddei-Elwell all work in either marketing, creation, or promotion of Texas wines, and their clients are represented in their profiles here and in some of their replies.
My Texas Wine Panel
To get a balanced panel, I called upon a mix of Texas wine lovers, food/drink bloggers, and wine experts. I sent them all the same seven questions, asking them each to answer at least two of the questions. Some have added more detail; I left their answers as provided with minimal editing.
Here is my panel:
- Reed Arnos is a foodie and a Texas wine fan. He and his wife are members of a few local wine clubs and always have good things to share.
- Vanessa and Natasha (@atxfoodchronicles) and Amy Drohen (@sushigirl_atx) are local food and drink bloggers.
- Nina Hess Hsu is an attorney, part-time Hill Country resident, and wine lover.
- Ketan Patel is a wine lover.
- Jenn Flores Bono is a wine lover and popular Instagrammer @txblondevoyage.
- Matt McGinnis is the founder of Big Thirst Marketing and Big Thirst Consulting and has worked with many Texas wineries, distillers, breweries, and restaurants.
- Denise Clarke is a Certified Wine Educator and Texas Wine Gal and currently serves as executive director of the Texas Fine Wine group.
- Julia Dixon is a Certified Wine Professional and owner of ArtProWine & Gravity Imports, and sommelier-partner in the Sketch Wine project. Follow Julia’s reviews of sustainable wines on her Instagram. @juliadixonwine.
- Aleida Taddei-Elwell is Adega Vinho’s in-house Sommelier and Special Events Coordinator and @thetravelingwinechica on IG.
I am identifying their answers by first names, as this is a friendly, familiar panel rather than a buttoned-up interview.
Quick and Dirty: Your Shopping List
These are *just* the wines recommended for each question, no commentary.
Which Texas wine(s) do you love to eat with holiday chocolates?
- Reed: Hilmy The Temp
- Vanessa and Natasha: Fall Creek Vineyards Tempranillo
- Jenn: Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo or William Chris Vineyards Black Jacque II Port
- Matt: Bingham Family Vineyards Dugout
- Denise: Haak Vineyards and Winery Madeira
- Julia: Kuhlman Cellars Ignis Newsom Vineyards blend 2017, William Chris Black Jacque II Port, and French Connection Roussanne Port
Which Texas wine(s) best pairs with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?
- Reed: Ron Yates Albariño
- Vanessa: Torr Na Lochs Muscat Blanc
- Jenn: Pedernales Cellars Viognier Reserve
- Julia: The Grower Project Sangiovese 2018 from Letkeman Vineyard, C.L. BUTAUD Grenache Desert Willow Vineyard 2019, or Dandy Bubbles Rosé 2018
- Aleida: 2018 Adega Vinho’ Rosé of Sangiovese, 2019, Ron Yates Grenache Rosé, or William Chris 2019 Malbec Rosé
- Amy: Ron Yates Pétillant Naturel Sparkling Rose 2019, 1851 Reddy Vineyards Viognier 2019 from Slate Mill Wine Collective, or Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc Lescalo
- Matt: Any quality Texas Viognier or Sangiovese
- Denise: Brennan Vineyards or Pedernales Cellars Viognier, Duchman Family Winery Roussanne, Calais Winery Cuvée du Gaston, Lewis Wines Touriga Rosé, Mourvèdre (William Chris Vineyards has several) or Sangiovese (Sandy Road Vineyards, McPherson Cellars, Lost Draw Cellars), Bending Branch Tannat or Petite Sirah
Name a pairing of Texas wine(s) for a pumpkin pie, pecan pie, rugelach, and/or gingerbread cookies.
- Reed: Stone House Vineyard Cuvée Cuddles
- Vanessa: Carter Creek Peach Sparkling
- Natasha: Grape Creek Vineyards Riesling
- Ketan: Messina Hof Riesling
- Nina: Cheramie Wines Texas High Plains Riesling 2019 or Siboney Cellars Coral Estrellas Rosé 2019 sparkling Pet-Nat
- Aleida: French Connection’s 2019 Picpoul Blanc, 12 Fires Winery Blanc Du Bois, “Besito”
- Matt: Pedernales Cellars Port-style Stonewall Glögg
- Julia: Pedernales Cellars Dulce Texas High Plains Viognier, Valley Mills Texas Tawny Port 2013, or Kalasi Cellars Sparkling Muscat of Alexandria 2019
What is your go-to Texas wine for a fancy holiday gift?
- Reed: William Chris Vineyards Enchanté
- Vanessa: Saint Tryphon Muscat-Pet-Nat
- Natasha: Grape Creek Vineyards Cabernet Trois
- Ketan: Stonehouse Vineyards Cuvée Cuddles Reserve Brut Non Vintage
- Nina: Calais Winery Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, any Southold Farm + Cellar or Crowson wine
- Jenn: Fall Creek Vineyards 2017 GSM or 2016 ExTerra Mourvèdre, William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, Saint Tryphon 2018 Albariño Barrel-Fermented “Cuvée Clarence,” Pedernales Cellars 2017 PC TX Tempranillo Reserve, and Wedding Oak Winery 2018 Petit Sirah
- Julia: Sketch red or white blends
- Matt: Fall Creek Vineyards2016 ExTERRA Mourvèdre
- Denise: Texas Fine Wine’s Holiday Celebration Pack: includes Bending Branch Winery Tannat CM—Tallent Vineyards, Brennan Vineyards W, Duchman Family Winery Aglianico—Oswald Vineyard, Pedernales Cellars Viognier Reserve, and Spicewood Vineyards Good Guy
- Aleida: Adega Vinho Tempranillos, 2016 or 2017 Reserve, Texas Heritage Vineyard 2018 Souzao or their 2017 Alicante Bouschet THV, Ben Calais 2017 Cuvée de l’Exposition, or Pedernales Cellars 2017 Texas GSM Mélange
What is your go-to Texas wine(s) for an affordable gift?
- Reed: Dandy Rosé or Dandy Bubbles
- Vanessa and Natasha: Becker Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
- Ketan: Dandy Rosé
- Amy: Lost Draw Cellars Spritztown 2019, any of the current Fall Creek Vineyards CLASSICS
- Nina: Kuhlman Cellars Alluve Red Blend 2016 or 2017, Lewis Wines High Plains Rosé or Becker Vineyards Reserve Merlot or Claret
- Julia: William Chris Petillant Naturel or Cheramie Wine off-dry Riesling
- Denise: Duchman Vermentino, McPherson Cellars Picpoul Blanc, or Bending Branch Tannat
- Aleida: Bell Springs Reston Superhero, or Fall Creek Vineyards 2019 Chez Rosé or 2019 Sauvignon Blanc
Which showy Texas wine(s) would you share for a high-end wine exchange for a virtual wine tasting?
- Vanessa: Perrisos Vineyards Mourvèdre Rosé
- Jenn: William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, Fall Creek Vineyards 2017 GSM, and Pedernales Cellars 2016 Family Reserve
- Julia: Inwood Estates Vineyards Oentrepid “X”
- Nina: Sketch Red 2016 by Vinovium, or any bottle by Southold Farm and Cellar or Crowson
- Denise: The Fall Creek Vineyards ExTerra Tempranillo, Salt Lick Cellars
- Adega Vinho 2018 Cuvée Carmesim , Calais Estate 2017 Gravitas red blend, or Fall Creek Vineyards 2016 Ex Terra Mourvèdre
What Texas wine(s) do you drink at your own family holiday dinners?
- Reed: Stonehouse, William Chris, Kuhlman
- Vanessa: Fall Creek Vineyards Grenache Rosé
- Natasha: Llano Cabernet Sauvignon
- Jenn: Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo, William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, 1851 Vineyards 2017, and Barbera from Slate Mill Wine Collective
- Amy: Any Texas Mourvèdre and/or Texas Tempranillo, especially Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo vintages or William Chris Vineyards Mourvèdre High Plains 2017
- Ketan: Solaro Estate – L’Elvira Spumante Brut Cuvee
- Nina: Any, especially Crowson Rosé and Kuhlman Cellars Sangiovese
- Matt: Ron Yates Wines 2017 Friesen Vineyards Red Blend
- Julia: Crowson Malvasia and concrete-aged Malbec or Southold Farm + Cellar Dream of the Escape Montepulciano and Stay on Target Chardonnay
- Denise: Heath Sparkling Wines, Bending Branch Winery Frizzante Rosé or Sandy Road Vineyards Pet-Nat, Cheramie Wine Riesling, Brennan Vineyards Viognier, Pedernales Cellars La Pradera Carignan, or Spicewood Vineyards Tandem
- Aleida: Adega Vinho 2018 Viognier, Pinot Fleri 100% Mourvèdre, and 2016 Tempranillo, and Texas Legato Winery 2017 Sojourn Port or 2017 Sojourn Blanc
Always Learning: Extended Tasting and Pairing Notes
These are some of the notes provided by my awesome Texas Wine Panel, in case you are curious or want to level up in your wine knowledge.
Austinot: Which Texas wine(s) do you love to eat with holiday chocolates?
Jenn: Oh this is a hard one, I think the first one would be from Pedernales Cellars, their Tempranillo with dark chocolate; last year I went to a tasting at William Chris Vineyard and tried their Black Jacque II, a Port wine with a chocolate truffle and it was divine!
Matt: My favorite wine and chocolate pairing is with the Bingham Family Vineyards Dugout, which is a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot made in a Bordeaux style. This wine recently was awarded Double Gold medal, named Top Texas Wine, and Class Champion at the 2020 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. It is a bold wine with soft tannins that let it pair incredibly well with dark chocolate truffles. I’m a huge fan of our client, Delysia Chocolatier truffles, including their holiday Advent calendar.
Denise: I will reach for the Haak Vineyards and Winery Madeira—THE Texas Madeira—with notes of apricots, peaches, honey, and toffee. (And honestly, I’d rather just sip on this for my dessert fix.)
Julia: Chocolate is generally hard to pair with wine because most of the chocolate is sweet, and the predominantly consumed wines are dry,
yet it doesn’t mean impossible.
Chocolate pairs with wine based on sweetness level and cocoa content. Overall, dark bitter, moderately sweet chocolate can pair nicely with young, medium-bodied Texas dry and off-dry red wines. A perfect example of the pairing would be Kuhlman Cellars Ignis Newsom Vineyards blend 2017. The wine bursts with dark ripe fruit, crushed violets, fresh leather, baked earth, pepper, and a touch of coconut, which complements dark chocolate’s bold and slightly bitter taste.
Milk, white, and other sweet chocolates are best paired with Texas sweet or semi-sweet wines to avoid the unpleasant astringency when combined with dry styles. William Chris Black Jacque II Port creates a perfect union with sweet medium-dark chocolate. The wine is sweet, rich, and dense and will complement your favorite chocolate dessert. French connection Roussanne Port is a sweet layered, complex wine perfect for exquisite chocolate treats, such as white chocolate raspberry truffles or caramel toffee.
Austinot: Which Texas wine(s) best pairs with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner?
Jenn: Going back to Pedernales Cellars, their Viognier Reserve is great with roasted turkey.
Julia: For a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, I recommend staying with the easy-drinking lighter in alcohol (so you can drink more) red or rosé wines. Holiday dinner food is usually hearty and heavy and needs less pronounced harmonious wines to balance the feast. Grower Project Sangiovese 2018 from Letkeman Vineyard is bright with apparent red fruit and pleasant savory freshness that would pair nicely with roasted turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes.
C.L. BUTAUD Grenache Desert Willow Vineyard 2019 is dry, playful, and pleasurable with notes of raspberry, green peppercorns, and cinnamon; with a soft mouthfeel and lingering finish, this wine goes excellent with deep-fried turkey, your favorite gravy, holiday roasted vegetables, cornbread dressing, and green bean casserole.
Dandy Bubbles Rosé 2018, with notes of tart berries, wild herbs, and a touch of earthiness, will complement roasted butternut squash soup, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry sauce while keeping the celebration spirit going with its light fizz.
Aleida: With the traditional turkey and ham deal, I would recommend 2018 Adega Vinho’s Rosé of Sangiovese 2019, Ron Yate’s Grenache Rosé, or William Chris’s 2019 Malbec Rosé. The fresh fruity flavors of Rosé wine work beautifully with the texture, weight, and spices of the dishes.
Matt: There are several fantastic wines that pair really well with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The key to picking wines for a meal with a wide variety of diverse dishes is to select wines that are a bit lighter in body and have plenty of acidity. Good choices from Texas are Viognier and Sangiovese. Viognier is one of the most prominent white wines made in Texas and it’s a great turkey wine with citrus and stone fruit flavors. Sangiovese, which is the primary red wine grape in Chianti, typically has bright cherry, red plum, oregano, and thyme flavors. Both of these wine varieties are made by several top wineries in the state and make a great accompaniment to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Amy: Wines that I highly recommend for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner include: Ron Yates Pétillant Naturel Sparkling Rosé 2019, the perfect sparkling wine to greet guests; 1851 Reddy Vineyards Viognier 2019, a versatile wine that pairs well with poultry; and the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc Lescalo Texas to pair with apple pie. These are also the wines that will be on our Thanksgiving dinner table.
Denise: I like to serve a white, rosé, and red with my Thanksgiving dinner, something to please everyone and that can pair with all the different flavors on the table. You can’t go wrong with a Viognier or Roussanne for your white—both have nice fruit notes and a roundness that pair well with food. My faves are Brennan Vineyards or Pedernales Cellars Viognier or the Duchman Family Winery Roussanne.
For a red, I lean toward a lighter style Texas red that won’t overwhelm the dishes, like a Mourvèdre (William Chris Vineyards has several) or Sangiovese (Sandy Road Vineyards, McPherson Cellars, Lost Draw Cellars). Save your big reds for the prime rib roast in December (hello Bending Branch Tannat or Petite Sirah).
Austinot: Name a pairing of Texas wine(s) for a pumpkin pie, pecan pie, rugelach, and/or gingerbread cookies.
Ketan: Messina Hof Riesling—It’s sweet and crisp, really goes great with warm, spiced, fall desserts.
Nina: I’m not a big dessert wine person, so I would opt for an off-dry Riesling, like Cheramie Wines’ Texas High Plains Riesling 2019, or a sparkling Pet Nat like Siboney Cellars Coral Estrellas Rosé 2019. Bonus that both of these options are made by up-and-coming female winemakers.
Aleida: I can totally pair French Connection’s 2019 Picpoul Blanc, 12 Fires Winery Blanc Du Bois, “Besito.” The stone fruits and sweet citrus pair up well with the rounder flavor of pumpkin and can handle the fall spices.
Matt: This is an easy choice for me. Pedernales Cellars makes a Port wine style Stonewall Glögg for the holidays. It is slightly sweet balanced with light nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon spiciness, which makes it a perfect wine to pair with desserts like pumpkin pie and gingerbread cookies. It’s an excellent dessert on its own.
Julia: If I had to choose a wine style to pair with all the mentioned treats, I would go with a Texas off-dry bubbly or dessert wine based on the considerable sweetness level. My favorite wine to drink with pumpkin pie is Pedernales Cellars Dulce Texas High Plains Viognier. The lush texture of the wine enhances the joy of the silky smooth filling. Simultaneously, aromatic floral notes of ripe citrus, wildflower honey, and nuts complement the traditional pumpkin pie spice set of nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and ginger.
Valley Mills Texas Tawny Port 2013, with its butterscotch, hazelnut, and caramel flavors, would gracefully accompany the deliciously intense gooey, buttery pecan pie. Rugelach or gingerbread cookies are asking for a juicy, refreshing off-dry lightly sparkling wine with notes of honey-spiced pear, lychee, and dried jasmine, such as Kalasi Sparkling Muscat of Alexandria 2019.
Austinot: What is your go-to Texas wine for a fancy holiday gift?
Ketan: Stonehouse Vineyards Cuvée Cuddles Reserve Brut Non Vintage—
OK, so I don’t know how fancy it is, but this stuff is made in the traditional champagne method, has a mellow flavor, and isn’t too sweet. Who doesn’t want to give some cuddles right now?
Nina: Any red wine by Calais Winery, like the Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. If I know the person is interested in natural wines, I would go with any Southold Farm + Cellar or Crowson wine. Making a trip to any of these three wineries to purchase said gift is also an unforgettable experience and a treat to yourself, but you really must make a reservation or call ahead.
Jenn: Fall Creek Vineyards 2017 GSM, Fall Creek Vineyards 2016 ExTerra
Mourvèdre, William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, Saint Tryphon’s 2018 Albariño Barrel-Fermented “Cuvée Clarence,” Pedernales Cellars 2017 PC TX Tempranillo Reserve, and Wedding Oak’s 2018 Petite Sirah.
Julia: Sketch Red or White blends would make a fancy holiday gift together as a set or separately. The Sketch project is always a passionate collaboration between Texas grape grower, winemaker, sommeliers, and a local artist Mila Sketch. All things artisanal Texas combined in one, from the delicious dry wine to collectible signed and numbered by hand label.
Matt: When I want to give a gift that really impresses, I choose the Fall Creek Vineyards 2016 ExTERRA Mourvèdre. Fall Creek Vineyards is unquestionably one of the most venerable wineries in the state with plenty of national acclaim. ExTERRA is their top-of-the-line brand that is made with the best fruit in very small lots. This wine scored 91 points in a national review by esteemed wine critic, James Suckling. The Mourvèdre is elegant with lively red and black plum flavors, and a gorgeous earthiness. It is available at a few select wine shops and at the winery for $100 a bottle.
Denise: This year, I have something new to give for a fancy holiday gift. Texas Fine Wine is offering its first-ever Holiday Celebration Pack that includes a stellar wine from each winery—something that wine enthusiasts have been asking for. It’s a nice gift for a wine lover—whether they already love Texas wines or are new to what Texas has to offer. The inaugural holiday wine pack includes Bending Branch Winery’s Tannat CM, Tallent Vineyards; Brennan Vineyards W (Winemakers Choice red blend); Duchman Family Winery Aglianico, Oswald Vineyard; Pedernales Cellars Viognier Reserve; and Spicewood Vineyards Good Guy. It’s $160 + tax (includes shipping).
Aleida: There are so many options! I would recommend either of the Adega Vinho Tempranillos, 2016 or 2017 Reserve. They are so different from each other and they can always please the lucky person that gets to enjoy it. I also love the elegance and flavors of Texas Heritage Vineyard 2018 Souzao or the 2017 Alicante Bouschet THV, so bold but velvety and delicious. Try the Ben Calais 2017 Cuvée de l’Exposition. I also love the Pedernales Cellars 2017 Texas GSM Mélange. All of those wines are full-bodied wines dominated by dark fruity notes, all of them delicious to be enjoyed by themselves or contemplative and elegant for your intimate dinner party host gift.
Austinot: What is your go-to Texas wine(s) for an affordable gift?
Ketan: Dandy Rosé—This is a fun bottle to gift, goes down easy, and is memorable.
Amy: A few of my go-tos (retails $18 or less) are the Lost Draw Cellars Spritztown 2019 and any of the current Fall Creek Vineyards CLASSICS.
Nina: Kuhlman Cellars Alluve Red Blend 2016 or 2017 ($29-32) would be my top pick, it’s a total crowd-pleaser that impresses all levels of wine drinkers. If you need something even more affordable, I would recommend Lewis High Plains Rose ($15) or Becker Reserve Merlot or Claret, which I’ve seen at HEB, ($13).
Jenn: Fall Creek Vineyards 2019 Chenin Blanc Lescalo, Saint Tryphon’s 2018 Rosé de Cinsaut et Mourvédre “Dosithea,” Sandy Road Vineyards 2019 Sangiovese Rosé, Sandy Road Vineyards 2018 Mourvèdre, and Ron Yates 2016 Farmhouse Sangiovese
Julia: I like to surprise people with unusual Texas wines like William Chris Petillant Naturel. This wine is made by the oldest original sparkling wine method called Ancestrale, with a yearly rotating grape blend selection. The wine is fun to drink; it’s refreshing and light, bubbly, with the flavors of wild strawberry, lemon peel, pickled lemon, and rainwater.
Cheramie Wine off-dry Riesling is a brand new product and, while being affordable, offers high drinkability and crowd-pleasing qualities with its floral aromas and pure juicy citrus and stone fruit profile. It makes an inexpensive and unique gift as Riesling is still rare for Texas noble grape varietal.
Denise: I like to share Texas wines made from grapes that people may not be familiar with—it’s a fun and entertaining way to help people learn about Texas wines. So maybe the Duchman Vermentino (an Italian white grape from Sardinia), McPherson Cellars Picpoul Blanc (a French white grape from the Languedoc), or Bending Branch Tannat (a red grape from southwest France and Uruguay). These are available at Central Market and other retail stores.
Aleida: I absolutely love Fall Creek’s 2019 Chez Rosé, it is such a pretty wine to the eye and so incredibly flavorful, the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is also great for the selling price and would pair well with all kinds of spicy food like Mexican, Thai, or Indian. Bell Springs Reston Super Hero, with pomegranate and black fruit flavors, has a balanced acidity and is great for casual drinking or with casual fare such as burgers.
Austinot: Which showy Texas wine(s) would you share for a high-end wine exchange for a virtual wine tasting?
Vanessa: Perrisos Vineyard Mouvedre Rose
Jenn: William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, Fall Creek Vineyards 2017 GSM, and Pedernales Cellars 2016 Family Reserve
Julia: Inwood Estate Vineyards make premium wines mainly from Tempranillo and Cabernet grapes. Often described as Boudreaux meets Napa profile, the wines are dry, deeply concentrated, chewy, intensely rich, and scrumptiously balanced. Oentrepid “X” blend would undoubtedly get a high-end wine lover’s or a collector’s attention on the other side of the screen.
Nina: Sketch Red 2016 by Vinovium, a lovely tempranillo blend, both for the wine and for the meaningful artwork on the label. Each bottle is individually numbered and signed by the artist, Mila Sketch of Austin. And I love low intervention and natural wines, so I’m always happy to share a bottle of Southold Farm + Cellar or Crowson wine with someone who will appreciate it.
Denise: The Fall Creek Vineyards ExTerra Tempranillo, Salt Lick Vineyards ($100) is a beautiful representation of Texas Tempranillo, with notes of blackberries and cherries, earth, leather, and chocolate. It is a highly regarded Texas wine that would be fun to blind taste against Spanish Tempranillos.
Aleida: OOOH, without a doubt Adega Vinho 2018 Cuvée Carmesim blend of Touriga National and Merlot, Calais Estate 2017 Gravitas red blend, or Fall Creek Vineyards 2016 Ex Terra Mourvèdre. All are incredibly delicious and award winners. Texas has so many high-quality varieties and flavorful wines, it’s not easy to decide which one to get but for sure any of these options would please a wine connoisseur’s palate.
Austinot: What Texas wine(s) do you drink at your own family holiday dinners?
Reed: Stonehouse, William Chris, Kuhlman
Vanessa: Fall Creek Vineyards Grenache Rose
Natasha: Llano Cabernet Sauvignon
Jenn: Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo, William Chris Vineyards 2017 Artist Blend, 1851 Vineyards 2017, and Barbera from Slate Mill Wine Collective
Amy: You can bet there will always be a Texas Mourvèdre and/or Texas Tempranillo being poured during our holidays. I am a long time fan of the Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo vintages and recently fell in love with the William Chris Vineyard Mourvèdre High Plains 2017.
Ketan: Solaro Estate – L’Elvira Spumante Brut Cuvee—This place is often overlooked, but it’s near Dripping Springs. I always grab a bottle of bubbly to take home for holiday dinners.
Nina: Any and all! Last year we stowed away several Texas wines in our luggage to fly to California for Thanksgiving, including the Crowson Rose and Kuhlman Cellars Sangiovese and both showed very well.
Matt: This year I will serve the Ron Yates Wines 2017 Friesen Vineyards Red Blend with our holiday dinner. This is a special wine that has the bold fruit flavors, acidity, and complexity that I want with Thanksgiving dinner. It’s made with a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot grown in a small, immaculate vineyard in the Texas High Plains.
It was just awarded a Double Gold medal and 95 points at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition, and it is certainly deserving of that honor. This wine is in high demand, so it is only available for sale at the winery on Highway 290 in Hye, Texas, limited to one bottle per person. I will pile my plate with mounds of dark turkey meat and my special recipe stuffing, both of which will be lovingly complemented by this delicious wine.
Julia: I am a big advocate for low interventional wines, and generally, those wines are my drink of choice whenever possible. Luckily, a few quality producers are making the wine this way in Texas. Crowson Winery is one of them located in Johnson City, TX. The owner and winemaker Henry Crowson captures the varietal beauty without adding commercial yeast, chemicals, and even sulfates. Henry will also give you an unforgettable wine tour if you visit the tasting room.
While all Crowson wines are being made this way, the Crowson Malvasia and concrete-aged Malbec are my seasonal favorite. Another “natural” Texas wine producer I thoroughly enjoy is Southold Farm + Cellar. Their wines are philosophical, occasion versatile, and food-friendly. Dream of the Escape Montepulciano and Stay on Target Chardonnay are perfect for my holiday drinking.
Denise: Bubbles to start! I will open a sparkling from Heath Sparkling Wines, the Bending Branch Winery Frizzante Rosé or the Sandy Road Vineyards Pet-Nat while snacking on a Casero Austin cheese and charcuterie board. The Bending Branch Frizzante is a sparkling Tannat with just a hint of sweetness—a crowd-pleaser, for sure. The Sandy Road pet-nat is made from Prieto Picudo (the only planted vineyard in the United States of this Spanish grape). Its refreshing bubbles with fruity notes of raspberry and strawberry make a delicious aperitif and it’s fun to tell people about pet-nats.
For my mom who likes off-dry whites, I’ll have the recently released Cheramie Wine Riesling on the table, and for my dry white, I’ll open the Brennan Vineyards Viognier. For my lighter red, I’ll serve my last bottle of Pedernales Cellars La Pradera Carignan (made in the Nouveau style like Beaujolais) or the Spicewood Vineyards Tandem, a Rhone-style red of Syrah and Carignan—both have lots of red fruit notes to complement the turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce.
Aleida: We are doing paella this year, with appetizers that will definitely pair with Adega Vinho 2018 Viognier for the ones that prefer a crisp and refreshing wine and their Pinot Fleri 100% Mourvèdre made in a Pinot Noir style, light and delicious. For the paella, I’ll definitely use the 2016 Tempranillo from Adega Vinho; this wine is my go-to for Spanish dishes, complementary without overpowering the food. I’ll probably go for Texas Legato Winery 2017 Sojourn Port to pair with brownies, chocolate pie, or cake, and would have on hand the Texas Legato 2017 Sojourn Blanc to pair with my traditional cheesecake and snickerdoodle cookies.
Whew! Still think Texas wines are simple or unsophisticated? I challenge you to grab a bottle or case of these Texas wines, pair with the perfect holiday party tray or treat, step up your holiday gift-giving, or buy some to enjoy yourself.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What are some of your favorite Texas wines?