Texas wineries win big at prestigious California competition

Texas appellation wines walked away with a cool 158 medals last week at the prestigious 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. That included an unprecedented seven “Best of Class” awards, seven double-golds and 14 single golds, plus a slew of silvers and bronzes. And to think, only five years ago, we were excited when the state got its first double-gold.

“This year, Texas wineries using Texas grapes won more medals — including some of the top awards — than ever before,” said Bob Fraser, SFCWC executive director.

“It is not surprising to me, as I recently visited the Texas wine country and was completely impressed with the quality of their wines.”

The take-away punctuates what Texas wine-watchers already know: Our grape growers and winemakers are fast figuring out what makes not just the best wines in Texas, but some of the best wines, period.

Read More at: Dallas News

Texas wineries dominate at prestige California wine competition

At the largest competition of American wines in the world, Texas wineries proved they can hold their own against some of the top wine producers in the country — taking home seven best-of-class awards for their wine and a total of 158 medals.

The only state that topped Texas’ unprecedented wins at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition was California. Texas taking second place overall, beating out lauded wine regions like Oregon, Washington and New York, is a well-earned victory for winemakers who have fought derisive perceptions of Texas wine since the 1970s.

“Texas wine may have reached a tipping point, in its development and national reputation, with the recently released results” of the wine competition, Pat Brennan, owner of Brennan Vineyards in the Hill Country, said.

Read the full story at: Austin 360

2016’s top drinks reflect Austin’s love for light summertime sippers

Although this year was a bit of a stinker in many ways, it’s worth remembering in at least one regard: Austin’s booze makers have created the kinds of experiences we’ll want to relish again and again.

And we will. The drinks they’ve crafted are paving the way for coming trends or deepening current ones, demonstrating where our tastes are headed on a culinary and cultural level.

In Austin, these were the most memorable alcoholic beverages created or released this year — suited, of course, for our nine-month-long Texas summers.

Read more at: My Statesman

Mind the Gap: 5 Takeaways From A First-Timer At The Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit

Clear skies and cool breezes provided the perfect conditions for the twelfth annual Buffalo Gap Wine and Food Summit last weekend. Despite its longevity, the festival is perhaps one of the state’s best kept secrets. Officially a Texas non-profit organization founded by Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse, the late Fess Parker of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, and Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards, the three-day event is put on every April with a mission to cultivate appreciation of fine wine and food through education and industry discussion.

And though it very well may be one of the best food and wine festivals in the country, it’s also one of the most intimate. Within about 10 minutes of their release in February, the weekend passes are snatched up by a lucky 250 people. (Another couple of hundred are released for a single Saturday event.)

It’s a bucket-list item I’ve been itching to check off, and this year, the Texas stars aligned and I was able to go. As a first time attendee, I expected the standard walk-around tasting tents and quick handshakes with big-name chefs and winemakers. I’m not sure anyone could have prepared me for just how non-festival like this special weekend would be. If there’s a trick to making a gathering of food and wine lovers feel right at home, Tom and Lisa Perini have figured it out. Here are a few of my takeaways from the weekend.

Read More at: Texas Monthly

12th Annual Taste of the NFL at AT&T Stadium a Success

What started out with a couple of dozen people in the parking lot at Abacus, with Chef Kent Rathbun grilling with his buddies for good, has turned into one of the best tailgate parties in town benefiting The North Texas Food Bank. 12 years later, more than one thousand guests filled the field of AT&T Stadium in Arlington to taste, bid, sip and enjoy food and entertainment. Those in attendance had the opportunity to rub elbows with Dallas Cowboy’s greats like Chad Hennings, Charles Haley, Travis Fredrick and Preston Pearson before dancing to the music of Texas favorite, Jack Ingram.

Read the full story at: D Magazine

Forget Provence and Savor the Rosé of Texas Hill Country

Dry Rosé has been the darling of the wine industry for the last three years. Rosé is a refreshing, crisp, light style of red wine grapes that can be enjoyed year-round. Most people think of Provence in Southern France as the traditional, go-to region for buying world class dry rosé wines.

The Texas Hill Country has been a tourist mecca for decades, thanks to the over 350 wineries now in the state. Remarkably, Texas wine tourism has increased so much that the Hill Country is now the second fastest growing wine destination in the United States, with only Napa Valley, California ahead.

Read more at: Just Luxe

Why it's such a good time to be drinking Texas wine

Last year was such a good year for Texas grape growers that the state wrung out its first surplus of juice — ever.
“2015 was picture perfect,” says Dr. Russell Kane, influential Vintage Texas blogger and co-author of The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine(Texas Tech University Press, 2012).The state had a nice, long growing season, he says, that was just a little on the wet side. “It was a very good harvest.”And it marks a Texas-size turning point for Texas wine.

Until now, Texas winemakers have been plagued by scarcity — never enough Texas grapes to go around. That’s one reason many of the 350-plus wineries go out-of-state for their grapes.

Read More at: Dallas News

How to see 7 top Texas wineries in one weekend.

I was giddy as we headed west for a wine trail road trip. It wasn’t my first — I’ve toured wineries in Spain, Portugal, France and California. But this was my first jaunt on the Texas Hill Country wine trail. My husband and I plotted a scenic course from the Northern edge of the Hill Country, to just west of Austin. It’s a manageable circuit for a three-day weekend.

“Sounds fun, but is the wine any good?” a friend asked, when I mentioned my plans earlier. After three days of tasting, my answer is a resounding yes — if your tour includes some of the region’s best producers. We had targeted wineries flush with medals from prestigious international wine competitions, awarded for wines made with Texas-grown grapes. On top of that, our visit coincided with the release of new vintages following a banner 2015 harvest.

Read the full story at: Dallas News

Pairing Texas Wines and Cheeses

I’ve never been one to turn down a cheese plate. Whether it be from the milk of cows, sheep, goat, or even water buffalo, I don’t discriminate when if comes to good cheese. In fact, I’ve often said my world would crumble—pardon the pun—if it turned out I was lactose intolerant. So when an opportunity to meet with John and Kendall Antonelli of Austin’s Antonelli’s Cheese House and get their tips on pairing wines with cheese, I was eager to accept. (If you’ve dined your way through any of Austin’s top restaurants, you’ve no doubt noticed that most of the cheese plate offerings on the menu are sourced from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, a quaint little locale in the Hyde Park neighborhood with a long deli case filled with a sea of cheese from all over the world.)

Ready to scribble notes, I waited for John and Kendall to start firing off a list of do’s and don’ts. Yet some of the first words out of John’s mouth were something to the effect of, “When it comes to pairing cheese with wine, we throw out all the rules.”

Read more at: Texas Monthly

6 perfect wine getaways near Austin

It’s time to slow down and plan a weekend getaway where you can relax and enjoy some of Texas’ finest wines. We’ve got six perfect pairings for your next getaway, all located a short distance from Austin or San Antonio.

A best-kept secret for many of the wineries on our list is membership in their exclusive wine clubs, which includes complimentary tastings, notifications of limited and newly released wines, member parties and special events, and discounts on bottles and cases. Check individual winery websites for details. Now onto the pairings.

Read More at: Culture Map Austin 

Why Texas is America's most underrated Wine Destination

A look at the leaders of the Lone Star State’s new school of wine.

Jordan Mackay still remembers his first taste of Texas wine. God, it was awful—a grossly unsophisticated glass of double-oaked chardonnay that could have passed for butterscotch.

“This was before the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement had really gotten in full swing, but my palate was already offended by oaky wines,” says the San Francisco-based food and drink writer. “It wasn’t just bad chardonnay; it was the hubris and self-satisfaction at what is now looked upon as a wine crime.”

Read the full story at: Conde Naste Traveler

What to drink now: Texas Whites.

When referencing Texas wine, a lot is written about the red wines of Texas and the varieties vintners have found do well in the state, like Sangiovese and Tempranillo. But, we also great some great white varieties like lovely floral and stone fruit filled Viognier and Roussanne, crisp and lively Vermentino, citrus filled Albarino and over a dozen more. Here are a few to consider as we wrap up Texas wine month, a few of which were sent for editorial consideration.

Read more at: D Magazine

How to see 7 top Texas wineries in one Hill Country weekend

I was giddy as we headed west for a wine trail road trip. It wasn’t my first — I’ve toured wineries in Spain, Portugal, France and California. But this was my first jaunt on the Texas Hill Country wine trail. My husband and I plotted a scenic course from the Northern edge of the Hill Country, to just west of Austin. It’s a manageable circuit for a three-day weekend.

Read More at: The Dallas Morning News 

Why it’s such a good time to be drinking Texas wines

Last year was such a good year for Texas grape growers that the state wrung out its first surplus of juice — ever.

“2015 was picture perfect,” says Dr. Russell Kane, influential Vintage Texas blogger and co-author of The Wineslinger Chronicles: Texas on the Vine(Texas Tech University Press, 2012).

The state had a nice, long growing season, he says, that was just a little on the wet side. “It was a very good harvest.”

And it marks a Texas-size turning point for Texas wine.

Read the full story at: The Dallas Morning News 

Visit Texas wineries via helicopter

Want to enjoy a visit to a Texas winery without the long drive? Try a helicopter ride. With Epic Helicopters’ new VIP Wine Tours, you can grab up to three of your closest friends and take flight from a range of North Texas airports to one or several Texas wineries — all in one day. While there, you can buy a bottle for keeps or to uncork on the flight back home.

Read more about Epic #TXWine tours at: The Dallas Morning News 

Get to know 10 of the most Texas-friendly wine grapes

Thanks to forward-thinking winemakers and grape-growers, Texas boasts some outstanding Mediterranean-style wines that have put our state on the wine map. Their foreign names may not roll off your tongue, but the eponymous grapes behind them take well to Texas soil. All but one — an American hybrid — are native to Spain, Italy or warm-weather zones in France. Take a minute to get familiar with these Texas-friendly grapes and varietals. Then seek the wines out for a taste of Texas that will make you proud.

Read More at: The Dallas Morning News 

Texas Wine Party!

Texas Wine has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, and even more great improvements in the last 5 years! The best of the best are no longer heading West to California to grow grapes and produce fine wine. Many have learned that if you grow the right grapes for our hot arid terroir in Texas, you can produce as fine a wine as anywhere in the world! I have become very impressed with the quality, the variety of grapes grown and produced, and the incredible commitment to the craft from the bright new producers that have really changed Texas wine.

Read more at: Texas Wineaux

Wine a l’Orange: 2015 Brennan Vineyards Cellar Select Viognier

While it is possible to ferment a wine made from orange juice and infuse a wine with the juice of citrus (like Sangria), I hope that you realize that this story is NOT going to be about that kind of wine. However, it IS a story that came about while I was looking for a wine to serve with a favorite dish I make – Duck a l’Orange and thus appeared… my Wine a l’Orange, Voila!

Read the full article at: Vintage Texas

Texas Grapes Making the Grade

2015 Brennan Vineyards Cellar Select Viognier

Overall score: 17.9 (8.9 for quality, 9 for value)

Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with a high score of 9.1. “Tropical fruit, nice floral notes and a bracing tannic edge.”

My score: 8.9. Tart, lively and fresh.

The winery: Pat and Trellise Brennan purchased the property’s cornerstone McCrary House in Comanche in 2000, then planted their first vines in 2002 with construction of the winery following in 2004. The Brennans’ estate covers 30 Hill Country acres and produces 13 wines. Grapes are also sourced from some of Texas’ finest High Plains vineyards. The winemaker is Todd Webster, who left a career in oil and gas when he fell in love with wine while visiting Northern California.

Read the full review at the Houston Chronicle

A Visit to Brennan Vineyards

Recently a small crew from 4.0 Cellars traveled to Brennan Vineyards in Comanche, TX, for what turned out to be a great visit and wine tasting. Suzy and Bill Kreitz, Brandie Marshall, and I drove north on TX-16 through the beautiful Hill Country to the small town of Comanche. Brennan Vineyards is located on the southeast side of town, just after passing the city limits sign. The winery complex is quite impressive with the historic McCrary House serving as tasting room, the modern winery building in the center, and a barrel storage/events building to the right. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and there is plenty of shaded, outdoor seating.

Read more about the visit at Texas Wine Lover 

Branch out and try some lesser-known Texas wines

In Texas, the high heat of our spring and summer has forged the identity of our wine.

Winemakers here know, after years of toil, that they want nothing to do with the wines California popularized: the chardonnays, the merlots, the cabernet sauvignons. Easily recognizable and often sought out, they’ve turned Napa Valley and the West Coast’s other winemaking regions into a veritable powerhouse — one that many wine producers try to emulate.

Read the full article at the Austin Statesman

Inaugural Texas Wine Revolution showcases state’s best rosés

In the Hill Country, William Chris Vineyards is bringing wine lovers an event that will allow us to enjoy rosé all day, a type of wine that has been in vogue of late.

And not just any rosé — the winery’s inaugural Texas Wine Revolution on Sunday will feature all Texas-made rosés from some of the best wineries in the state, including Bending Branch Winery, Brennan Vineyards and McPherson Cellars. (McPherson’s Les Copains Rosé is regularly regarded as a top choice among publications like Texas Monthly.)


Read more at Austin 360

Top Texas Wines: Summer 2016 Edition

Like a lot of food and drinks, wine has its seasons. Take, for instance, rosé. People are more likely to drink the pink stuff during the hot days of summer (especially here in Texas), which is why I put together a list of my top ten Texas rosés last month. But now it’s time to follow up with a list of the best red and white wines coming out of Texas this summer.

Read the full list here 

The Top 10 Texas Rosés

To borrow the food-writing cliché, rosé is having a bit of a moment. Last year, dozens of articles pointed out the rise of rosé, including this info-packed piece from WinePair.com (America drinks 13 percent of the world’s rose, second only behind France) and this it-borders-on-parodypost from GQ on the “Brosé” trend. No sense of how much influence Brad and Angelina’s Miraval Provence label, launched a couple of years ago, has had on the market.

See the full list here

Sweet 16 (on Texas 16)

Many folks currently residing in Texas arrived only in the past few decades. And while those of us who go much farther back make every effort to educate these newcomers on important aspects of being a Texan, some things must be learned through experience.

Read more at Texas Highways

Five Texas Wines For Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving looming, there’s enough stress in the idea of braving the increasingly crowded grocery store without having to worry about which wines to pair with your Turkey Day menu. We’ve created a quick cheat sheet for which wines will go best with any feast, no matter how varied the flavors.

– See more at: Texas Monthly

2016 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition – Texas Results

The 2016 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, held Nov. 14 – 15, 2015, at NRG Center, awarded thousands of champion wines. The 2016 International Wine Competition judging boasted nearly 2,500 entries from approximately 20 different countries, including Chile, Croatia, France, New Zealand, and Portugal. The competition also received 181 entries from the 2016 featured region, The Pacific Northwest, which includes wine-making regions of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia.  Texas wineries alone represented 267 entries.

See the 2015 Results here

Take a spirited Texas Hill Country tour

The Texas Hill Country simply begs for touring of the liquid variety these days.

The reach of rocky, rolling land spreading westward from Austin and San Antonio is enjoying stunning growth in a diverse assortment of adult beverage makers. Grab your favorite designated driver and head for the hills.  >>

Texas wineries toast promising harvests with grape stomp events

For Hill Country grape growers, early August isn’t the time to retreat indoors and wait out the last of the hot summer months. The growers, many of them winemakers, are waking up bright and early to harvest their crop for another round of Texas wine — and the crop, this year, is one of the best they’ve had in awhile. >>

Texas Wines amaze experts in San Francisco

Wine WalkTexas wines were ranked amongst the best in the world during the 35th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition.

There were 4,902 wines entered from 29 states and 26 countries competing in this classic international wine competition held in San Francisco on June 12, 13 and 14. >>

Why the Texas Wine industry is set to become a major player

In the inaugural season of The Taste, the prime-time ABC network cooking competition hosted by Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lefebvre, and Marcus Samuelsson, Lefebvre, a famed Los Angeles French chef, conducted an introductory interview with one of the contestants. After being asked to “Tell us about yourself,” the contestant responded, “My name is Don Pullum, and I am a winemaker from Mason, Texas.” With the shock of a man regurgitating his food, Lefebvre retorted “I did not know there was any wine in Texas!” >>

Texas Wines Shine at TEXSOM

With six gold medals for tempranillo alone, Texas wineries made a strong showing in the 2015 TEXSOM International Wine Awards in results announced Monday.

In addition, Rockwall’s San Martino Winery and Vineyards copped a gold for its sangiovese, illustrating another trend.

In all, Texas wineries walked home with 23 gold medals, and 156 total (gold, silver and bronze). There were 3,600 entries in the competition.>>

Everything we learned about drinking at the 2015 Austin Food and Wine festival

The Austin Food + Wine Festival hit its stride this year. Logistics went smoothly, lines moved quickly, food and beverage seminars drew top quality talent, and the grand tasting had a revamped layout that made it easier to navigate. Even Mother Nature got in on the act and provided decent weather.

The seminars were particularly informative. Here are six important things we learned about drinking at this year’s fest. >>

Predictions for the Texas Wine Industry for 2015

The Texas wine industry is alive and well and growing. Although Texas is years behind in developing our vineyards and wineries when compared to California, Texas is experiencing huge growth in both quality and quantity. >>

Eleven Double Gold Medals

Wine WalkAlmost 3,000 wines were judged in “blind tastings” several weekends ago at Reliant Center for the 2015 edition of the Houston Rodeo from a multitude of countries and states. There were 239 Texas wines that were judged to be outstanding, earning medals ranging from Bronze to Double Gold. Judging wines is a personal opinion and is that person’s perception and sensory judgment on whether it is a well made wine or an outstanding wine. When all five judges on the wine tasting panel agree this wine is a Gold Medal Winner, then that wine is judged to be a Double Gold Medal Winner. It is rare when all five judges 100 percent agree that a wine is exceptional. >>

Texas now 5th largest wine producer in US

Winemakers in the state believe Texas has the potential to produce “world class” wines, though erratic weather in the state means wines are often topped up with grape juice from California. By law, a wine can only carry the Texas name if 75% of the juice is harvested from the state.

The trend for cross-state blending with Californian juice is resulting in wines labelled as “American” featuring cowboys boots and lone star illustrations.

According to WSJ, falling cotton prices are forcing farmers to expand their output, with grape growing now an increasingly common activity in the state. >>