Twenty years ago, John Alban started Hospice du Rhône as an event to promote viognier wines. Over the past two decades it has come to be a global Rhône gala. So, it seemed rather fitting, on this 20th anniversary of HdR, to take a look at just how this variety, almost universally proclaimed as not age worthy, changes over time.
Over the last couple of decades, regional wine has rooted itself in all 50 states.
I had entertained the idea of starting a home vineyard on a family property within eyesight of downtown for several years. I had hesitated because I was not certain which cultivars would do well at the site.
The 2008 Mandola Aglianico from Duchman Family Winery, is a 100% varietal wine sourced from fruit grown in the Reddy Vineyard in the Texas High Plains. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and then spent 10 months in American oak. The wine started with very brambly, jammy raspberry aromas up front accompanied by plum aromas and light, cocoa-like oak notes. In the mouth, cranberry flavors with a candied edge were the dominant flavor. A faint hint of rose petals was also detectable. Medium-bodied, with slightly dusty, but not bitter, fine grained tannin texture, good acids. The wine became a bit dry and a bit lean or thin-feeling towards the back. The finish was quite long, with berry flavors and some cranberry notes. This wine did better with the brisket better than the BBQ ribs which overwhelmed it. This wine did not hold up well overnight. Aromas of melted butter and kefir dominated with the latter persisting into the flavors. (12.5% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, production volume unknown)
The 2008 Mandola Spino, from Duchman Family Winery, is a 100% varietal wine sourced from fruit grown in the Reddy Vineyards and the Mandola state vineyards in the Texas High Plains and Texas Hill Country. Temperature-controlled fermentation was followed by nine months in French oak. The wine starts with aromas of bright, fleshy strawberry, a faint floral hint, and a slightly funky edge. Cranberry and strawberry flavors dominate this light-bodied wine with, light fine tannins, some heat and lower acids. The finish is a bit hollow feeling. On the second day the faint funky aromas persisted, taking on a more vegetal character, but were dominated by fleshy macerated strawberry followed by a floral/oaky note. In the mouth, strawberry dominated cranberry and a slight mineral-like astringency. The structure took on more definition with taut, fine, slight tannins, vibrant acids, good body and balance. The medium-length finish was juicy with cherry/cranberry flavors and a vague floral hint. The rustically-styled wine blended in well with a mushroom pizza but clashed aromatically with blackened salmon. (12.5% ABV, 1 bottle tasted, 662 cases made)