Russ Kane and Steve Krueger (Sommelier at the Westin La Cantera) recently hosted the Culinaria Texas Two-Sip tasting at San Antonio’s Hilton Palacios Del Rio. The tasting pitted carefully selected Texas wines against comparable wines from around the world. Six pairs of wines were tasted blind, with one wine in each pair hailing from a Texas producer. The audience and panel were then invited to vote on their favorites and to guess which wine was made in Texas. The results were, to say the least, eye-opening.
A slightly dusty-looking brickish red. Aroma is of brick dust and freshly tilled earth, dried cherries, and cocoa powder. Rough tannins hover across the early- and mid-palate and linger on the (moderately long) finish. Beneath the tannins, dried cherry and clove notes add to a profile that is surprisingly light and freshened by plenty of acidity. Overall impression is raspy and astringent, but flavorful and reasonably well-rounded. This would be splendid with smoked trout or a substantial grilled fish like mahi or swordfish, or with a vegetarian entree laden with lots of garlic and a bit of cream.
Let's start with the conclusion: this is a QPR crazy bottle of wine. What do you do when you're having a couple of dozen people over for a barbecue, but one is your wine-loving boss? Buy this wine. Bright cherry fruit flavors dusted with cocoa powder lead to vanilla from the obvious use of wood. But acids balance tannins, and wood does not overwhelm or collapse into a maple-vanilla mess, but rather complements the fruit. Serve with a crowd and don't worry about disappointing the wine lovers or giving the wine snobs a reason to whine.
Passing through a guarded gate, my wife and I, on an anniversary trip to Spain, entered the bucolic 1000-hectare estate of the storied Vega Sicilia. This Bordeaux-style winery, founded in 1864, originally was a small village inhabited by the wineries’ employees and connected by rail to Valladolid, 40 kilometers to the west.
For my 40th birthday I took a much-needed get away to Napa. We visited my friend Jeff Miller and his wife Beryl. Jeff lives in Napa and grows and makes wines in the Suisun Valley AVA under several labels: Seven Artisans, Sly Dog Cellars, and Red Côte.
When I went to a dinner featuring D.O. Madrid wines about two years ago, the wines were a mix: from overly fruity to international style to more sophisticated; some were old-fashioned and some seemed young and carelessly made. ut I saved a bottle of Tempranillo-based wine from that night and opened it a few months ago...