by Andrew Chalk
We are just days away from what, for many Americans, is the biggest family get-together of the year - Thanksgiving. Turkeys all over the country may be taking cover and using fake IDs so as not to get cooked but, regardless of how you prep. yours, one of the best things about the Thanksgiving meal is that it can go with so many types of wine.
With that excuse, over the next few days I will post some suggestions for Texas wines, based on wines that I have been sent by the wineries. All are 100% Texas grapes.
RIVENBURGH WINE 2021 VERMENTINO ‘CANTED COUNTY VINEYARDS’, TEXAS HIGH PLAINS ($36)
John Rivenburgh is one of the most experienced winemakers and viticulturists in the state of Texas. He is prolific as proprietor of Kerrville Hills Winery, founder and motive force behind a wine making incubator, and a consultant to over two dozen Texas wineries in his career. The incubator has already turned out, triffid-like, a succession of mini-Rivenburghs onto the Texas wine scene (check out, for example, Ab Astris Winery and Siboney Cellars). Now he has found a name for bottling the avant garde in Rivenburgh Wine.
This vermentino is an example. I am delighted to see Canted County Vineyards in Lamesa (and any other growers I have not heard of) commit to this Italian grape. It adds another flavor dimension to the pantheon of white grapes in the state (roussanne, viognier, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and albariño). It is unlikely to become the dominant white grape, but I see it as of medium importance.
Appearance: Classic golden color of Sardinian vermentino or provencal rolle;
Nose: Lime zest, green apple, cantaloupe, and almonds;
Palate: Bright, fresh acidity. The citrus (lime) flavors dominate. Nuttiness on the back end that adds complexity.
This is a wine for the turkey for sure. Also, the accompanying vegetables.
KERRVILLE HILLS 2020 TANNAT, ‘RUSTIC SPUR VINEYARDS’, TEXAS HILL COUNTRY ($40)
Tannat was the wine for which micro-oxygenation was invented, so forbidding was it when young. More recently, a range of new winemaking techniques have also broken down its characteristically long-lived tannins. One thing, tannat is a star in Texas.
Appearance: Deep plum color. Zero visibility to the other side of the glass.
Nose: Potent concentrated blackberry, dark cooking chocolate, vanilla, roasted coffee, five spice;
Palate: Massive blackberry and boysenberry fruit. Medium acid. Tannins like fine sandpaper. Fruit emanates in waves creating the memorable finish.
Serve with the blackberry or blueberry pie dessert or with strong cheeses. Also, bring your toothbrush.
An impressive example of Texas tannat that you should share liberally with friends from out-of-state.