Get To Know Our Judges – Interview with Ron Weiss

Read about one of our Texas Wine Journal panel judges, Ron Weiss. Learn about his background and how he got into wine.

TCEQ Compliance 2017

If you supply water for drinking, hand washing, dishwashing, or cooking to at least 15 service connections or 25 people for at least 60 days out of the year…

Alive and Well

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by Daniel Kelada, Tasting Director of the Texas Wine Journal

In fact, better than well, great!

There are a select few moments in every wine lover’s journey, that they drink something so profound that it makes them arrive at a deeper level of appreciation and understanding. For me, one of those moments came when Bobby Cox of Pheasant Ridge winery presented an opportunity to taste Texas wine history in the form of a 2006 Chenin Blanc, a 1988, 1987 and a 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was one of only a few experiences where my craving for superb Texas wine was achieved. No doubt about it, these wines have raised the bar entirely of what I expect from great Texas wines going forward. The Chenin Blanc would make you guess and reminisce of worldly Vouvray-lifted, honeyed, wooly, floral and spectacular and the Cabernet Sauvignon possessing vintage specific personality that whispered deep, complex notes that simply begged not only to be sipped, but quite possibly to be laid down even further.

File Feb 28, 11 42 31 PMThose that have an opportunity to learn from these wines will not simply look at them as “old” Texas wine, but rather see them in a much grander light, a light that will open minds, build bridges and make you question what you thought you knew about Texas wine, and in turn turn non-believers into evangelists.

These wines maybe from our past, but they represent our future; or at least I hope they do. And as I swirled, sniffed, sipped on and discussed this Texas wine history I became more and more perplexed, not by the “how”, but by the “why”. As in, why don’t we see more of these great wines being produced today in the modern, burgeoning Texas wine industry? Part of it, I think, has to be that we drink Texas wines way too earlier and don’t give them the opportunity to develop into these rich, complex and nuanced wines that tell a story. The other side of the coin are the volumes produced, which are based on a host of climatic and economic limitation. But even then, where are the great Texas wines of the 1990s and early 2000s? Did we drink them all? Are they sitting in a library somewhere? What else can we learn and what other bridges can we build?

We hear a lot of back and forth within industry circles about what the identity of Texas wine is and what our future brand will be, but the more we push for a definition, or an absolute for Texas wine, the more we realise that we are far from it. We produce an incredible range of wines, and really have only just begun to discover what our magic is. Examples like these Pheasant Ridge wines are, but one example of what is and what can be the Texas wine story the rest of the world will hear and experience.

A very special thanks to Bobby Cox of Pheasant Ridge winery for this walk through Texas wine history.

From the SAHMmelier: Visit to Hye Meadow

In case you missed it, the SAHMmelier (Texas Wine Journal contributor Alissa Leenher) visited Hye Meadow Winery a couple of weeks back, and posted this fun column on her site last week. She highlighted some of the varietals and blends that gives Hye Meadow one of the 290 Wine Road’s more surprising rosters — including a Chenin/Reisling sparkling blend, a Trebbiano, an Aglianico, and a Montepulciano.

Alissa said, regarding this post, “The Texas wine industry continues to grow in both quality and breadth.  With the expansion, we are also seeing an increase in attention and accolades.  As growers and winemakers continue to refine and respond to the terroir and climate, we, the consumers, get to benefit.  I, for one, am continually inspired by what I see.  Aglianico, Grenache, Carignan are all grapes I am seeing more of in the state.  I would love to hear from you.  What new grapes are you experimenting with? What characteristics are you seeing in your region?

(She added, “If you are interested in chatting about your expansion for future Texas Wine Journal articles, please reach out to me to set up a time. Cheers y’all!)


A Look Inside The Journal

From the SAHMmelier: An Enchanted Weekend (Comparing Two Tempranillos)

Alissa Leenher, who blogs about Texas wine over at The SAHMmelier, recently posted about a weekend trip she made to Enchanted Rock with her family. Anyone who’s been there knows it’s a gorgeous and quintessentially Texas destination; she made it more interesting by comparing two Tempranillos — one from Spain and one from Texas’ own Duchman Winery. Check out her article to see how the two wines compared, how they complimented some fantastic meals, and how they helped make a fantastic Texas weekend even more fantastic (and, ultimately, more Texan!).




Food and Wine’s Ray Isle praises Texas wines for magazine’s video series

This great recent accolade for Texas wines (in particular, for Bending Branch’s Tannat Reserve) comes courtesy of Ed Tijerina at the San Antonio Express-News — last week, he posted about Food & Wine’s Ray Isle (a native Texan and a big fan of Texas wines, as evidenced by past appearances at the Austin Food & Wine Festival). Isle released a short video segment naming Texas one of the magazine’s recommended “Underrated Wine Regions” in the magazine’s fun Pull the Cork series. If you like, you can go to the video directly — though you’ll miss Tijerina’s gentle ribbing/geography lesson, which you’d expect from a San Antonio paper reacting to Isle’s generous estimation of Bending Branch being located “near Austin.”

All in all, it’s great to see Texas wines being noted and lauded by such a respected and nationally-known wine critic, and it’s great to see the Express-News taking notice.

From the SAHMmelier: Toast and Roast Review

We’re pleased to announce that we’ll be featuring articles from Alissa Leenher, who blogs about Texas wine over at The SAHMmelier, in the coming months — including both original content for Texas Wine Journal and links to articles originally appearing on her site.

She reviewed this past Sunday’s Toast and Roast event at Rancho Cuernavaca, which was promising from the get-go. Combine Jessica Dupuy’s selections for Best Texas Wines of 2014 with Chef John Bates (from Noble Sandwich Co.), to benefit the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, all curated by Matt McGinnis, and there’s just a whole lot for us to like about it. The weather wasn’t as cooperative as it might have been, but as Alissa and her friend found, the cold and damp weather created the backdrop for an event with all kinds of warmth (and good wine).

Check it out here — it’s a great read about a great event.