ON TEXAS WINE: Do They Age? Part 4
Kiepersol Estates 2008 Merlot, Texas (∞)
by Andrew Chalk
The preamble to part one read…
“More people are coming round to the idea that Texas can make good wine as they sample more of it. But the ultimate test of gravitas in, at least red wines, is how they age. How does Texas do in that regard?
To find out, I am doing a series of tastings of Texas wines, all 10+ years old, and assessing how they are doing. I am choosing them based on how their peers in other parts of the world do at the end of their first decade.”
And later added
“Since this vintage is no longer available in the retail market I have helpfully indicated the price as ‘infinity’ in the title, above. ”
Kiepersol, conventional wisdom has it, should not exist. A 50+ acre vineyard in the area of the state that God has designated as a nature reserve to the glassy-winged sharpshooter, spreader of Pierce’s disease, a vitis vinifera vine killer. Here, the late, great, Pierre de Wet planted vitis vinifera, and only vitis vinifera, in the form of 13 varieties of the most popular types of grapes. Among them, Merlot, the French grape that accounts for the largest vineyard acreage in Bordeaux. A remarkable wine maker who changed the way that the wine industry thought about Pierce’s disease, Pierre de Wet passed away in 2016 at the age of 61, having arrived in the USA in the 1980s as an agricultural worker from his native South Africa, one infant daughter in each arm (his wife passed away from cancer a few years before). He built a winery, hotel, distillery, and residential developments that employed over 75 people. The Tyler Morning Telegraph said
In 2012, de Wet wrote a book about his life, titled "The Story of We." He wrote about his love for the land. "Maybe it's a state of mind, but Kiepersol didn't belong to us; we belonged to Kiepersol," he wrote. "And suddenly, with that realization, we had purpose, and something about being the caretaker of that land gave us that childhood sense of belonging that I hope my children will have until they, too, leave it one day."
His daughters now run the family’s operations. Today, we are fortunate to taste De Wet’s 14-year old merlot. A grand old age for the grape, even in Bordeaux.
Astonishing how much ruby is still in the core of this wine, although garnet , and even a little brown tinge, takes over towards the edge of the meniscus.The nose is full of secondary and tertiary aromas including cedar, cigar box, mushrooms, toasty notes from oak barrels, tobacco, leather, forest floor. For wine students, this is an exemplar of tertiary aromas at the zenith of their dominance over their primary counterparts. I could sip and savor it for hours, or I would pair it with roast lamb, hog, or beef. A very impressive wine.
Does it age? Hell yeah.