Sergio Cuadra is 10
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
by Andrew Chalk
Ten years in Texas harvests that is. Since he arrived as Fall Creek Vineyards winemaker in 2013, he has applied skills learned over years at Concha y Toro, Chile's largest winemaker, to produce some of the best wines in Texas.
I consider his first important wine to also be the first FCV wine he took from leaf to bottle, a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. It was served at a session on Texas wine at Savor Dallas, back when the festival was organised by the late Jim White and his wife Vicki Bryley-White. Sitting in that room I was blown away at how refined it was, with a balance of greeness, fruit, and acid that set it equidistant from its French and California counterparts. It could be said he had defined a Texas style for the grape, although I think the focus has, regretably, gone away from Sauvignon Blanc since.
The next landmark was the ExTerra line of single-vineyard wines from the Salt Lick Vineyard opposite Fall Creek's Driftwood facility. Available as full-bodied reds such as cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and a slightly less heavy tempranillo, the wines sold for triple digits (around $100). Could this be sustained? James Suckling, a man who usually ignores Texas except when changing planes from Hong Kong at IAH, gave the latter 93 Points in his James Suckling 2019 Report. Also in 2019, I had the task of selecting and serving wines for a $150 Outstanding In The Field dinner at Pure Land Farm in McKinney, where Graham Dobbs was the executive chef. I served the 2016 ExTerra Mourvèdre to 200 highly discerning diners who were in a position to buy anything out of California or France, and many of whom had extensive cellars. They were blown away, and the popularity of the ExTerra left us unable to keep up with requests for refills.
In between these two dates, there were lots of other highs and FCV was consistently one of the best wineries in Texas. Needless to say, this was all done with 100% Texas grapes. Judging Sergio at 10, he has been a good custodian of Fall Creek's legacy and an enhancer of its reputation. The celebration dinner will bring back lots of memories and anyone who can should plan to attend!