Texas Whites

Profiles & Notes

Blanc du Bois

Pronunciation: “blanc du bwa”

  • Fruitiness: 2-5/5
  • Body: 2-4/5
  • Tannin: 0-1/5
  • Acid: 4/5
  • Alcohol: 2.5-5/5

The workhorse white grape of Texas, and by far the most versatile variety being produced in the State.  It is a grape that flies under the radar for so many, but is unique in that it can be cultivated to produce a range of styles from dry to sweet and from sparkling to fortified. It is also disease resistant, can be grown on its own rootstock and produces generous yields. This French-American hybrid was created in Florida in the 60s to provide the gulf states a hardy grape that could deal with humidity and disease pressure, and compete in terms of quality against more famous French varietals. Blanc du Bois in the still, dry wine style can have racy acidity and herbaceous and citrus flavors akin to Sauvignon Blanc. When produced as a sparkling wine it can be fresh and limey like Prosecco or layered and toasted when produced utilizing the Champagne method and when produced in the style of Madeira it takes on a beautiful nougat, brûlé character that is simply world class.


Roussanne

Pronunciation: “roo-sahn”
aka: Bergeron, Fromental

  • Fruitiness: 5/5
  • Body: 4/5
  • Tannin: 0-1/5
  • Acid: 2/5
  • Alcohol: 4/5

Roussanne derives its name from the color of mature grapes, which is russet-a reddish gold pigment. It produces a wine that isn’t afraid to show its personality like Vioginer in terms of aromatic and flavor intensity, but tends to be fuller bodied, have a rounder, almost velvety mouthfeel and with it a savory/herbal, dare I say umami, quality that makes it a fine food pairing wine. Also like Viognier, Roussanne is indigenous to the Rhone Valley in Southern France, but may in fact be more suitable to Texas than Viognier. Texas is consistently hit by late season frost in late April and early May that can destroy early budding varieties and severely depress total yields. Roussanne, however, is late ripening, which allows for consistent production each year, barring any of the other factors that makes growing grapes in Texas a challenge like hail, disease and the constant threat from wildlife.


Vermentino

Pronunciation: “ver-men-tino”
aka: Rolle, Pigato, Favorita, Malvoisie de Corse

  • Fruitiness: 3/5
  • Body: 2.5/5
  • Tannin: 0-1/5
  • Acid: 4-5/5
  • Alcohol: 2/5

Vermentino is a varietal classically from the western Mediterranean where the wines embody a freshness with a backbone of mineral, almost saline, and a crisp citrus character. It is the principal grape on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica, but is also regularly found in Liguria, Piedmont, Tuscany, Provence, Languedoc and in new world countries, namely the United States and Australia. Wines made from Vermentino tend to be 100% of the grape rather than blends because the grape can produce a complete wine on its own. There are, however, examples of blends that utilize Vermentino for its high levels of acidity to add structure. Vermentino is typically fermented in stainless steel, does not undergo malolactic fermentation or oak aging which helps lock in the wines freshness, but again there are exception-in Tuscany you’ll find Vermentino that has gone through malolactic fermentation as well as barrel aging, which produces a richer, riper and fully bodied wine with less acidity overall that can mimic Viognier in style. Vermentino loves mineral rich soils like the calcareous soils found in the Texas Hill Country or the sandy loam soils of the Texas High Plains. Overall, Vermentino allows warmer growing regions, like Texas, to produce a wine that in many ways is similar to a Sauvignon Blanc in terms of its crisp acidity and citrus character.

Pairings:
Fresh seafood, oysters on the half shell, or grilled Mediterranean vegetables.


Viognier

Pronunciation: “vee-own-yay”

  • Fruitiness: 5/5
  • Body: 3/5
  • Tannin: 0-1/5
  • Acid: 2.5/5
  • Alcohol: 4/5

Viognier seems to have found a home in Texas where in the Texas High Plains we find sandy clay loamy soils and in the Texas Hill Country we find limestone based soils, which mimics in part the native soils of its home in the Northern Rhone valley. Viognier produces wines that are highly aromatic, medium bodied and can be incredibly fruity, encompassing aromas and flavors of tangerine, peach, mango, honeysuckle and honeydew melon. Viognier is a grape that reflects its vintage and when it was harvested very transparently. Meaning, in warmer years or when the harvest is later in the growing season the aromas are much more pronounced with yellow florals and riper, fleshier pitted fruits. In cooler years or when harvested earlier in the growing season the aromas are more citrus and white floral driven. The easy give away on the label is the alcohol content. The lower the alcohol content, the fresher and more delicate the style. The higher the alcohol content, the richer more opulent the style.