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RAVE FROM THE GRAVE: Pheasant Ridge 2002 Pinot Noir, Texas High Plains. ($∞)

by Andrew Chalk

In 2002 the highest grossing movie was “Lord of The Rings: The Twin Towers”. The top single was ‘How You Remind Me’, by Nickleback, And I weighed 20 pounds less.

Also, in a tiny winery in The Texas High Plains, a clonal project was underway. One of its results was this Pinot Noir which I tasted in the last few weeks as part of a personal ‘can Texas wines age?’ project.

It did not just age well, it is remarkable that when most eighteen year old Pinot Noirs from established Pinot areas such as Oregon and California (and parts of Burgundy as well) would be fine vinegar at that age, this wine still contains plush raspberry fruit and a reliable tannic backbone. There has been some fade, of course, and it has lost, or did not possess, an unfathomable complexity. However, with all that said it is very pleasant wine and I just wish I had been around to taste it on release, rather than watching endless re-runs of Lord of the Rings and listening to Nickelback on infinite loop on my headphones.

Congratulations to winemaker Bobby Cox, who has staked a mark in the sand for a later generation of wine makers to surpass. Never again will this critic say we can’t make Pinot Noir in Texas. This wine (and Bar Z Winery 2016 ‘Bayer Family Vineyards’ Pinot Noir) are the black swans that contradict the theory that 'all swans are white'.




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