Whether you are a wine snob, connoisseur, or new to wine culture, keep in mind that Texas boasts some good wines. When shopping for the next bottle, forget about the French, Australian, or Californian varieties and opt for these delightful local options instead.
The Pheasant Ridge 2015 Old Vine Dry Chenin Blanc comes from one of Texas’s oldest wineries. These grapes have some history! This particular vintage was made with 30-plus-year-old Chenin Blanc grape vines. As with most Chenin Blanc, expect crisp apple and lemon undertones with a good amount of acidity. $18
Hye Meadow Winery’s white, the 2016 Voignier, has a particularly nice appeal. Its nice crisp touch takes the mind immediately to peaches and stone fruits. $28
A glass from Grape Creek Vineyards is the perfect way to start a weekend brunch. The 2015 Voignier has a firm feel, but the wildflowers and honey are well-balanced against the fruity flavors of the peaches and apricots. $27
Make any special event festive with this special bottle from McPherson Cellars. The 2016 Albrariño hails from a Spanish grape that was previously only found on the Iberian Peninsula. Now grown in a few locations outside of Spain and Portugal, this white wine features a unique tartness. Experience subtle hints of peach, mango, and even orange when you enjoy a glass. $18
Wedding Oak Winery offers a 2016 Viognier made with grapes from the High Valley Vineyard of San Saba. The melon, apple, and flowery undertones add a bit of spring to any meal. If you get the chance to visit Wedding Oak Winery, look for the 400-year-old tree that gives the winery its name. $28
Expect a “fruit-forward” experience from the Hilmy Cellars 2015 Chenin Blanc. Grown on the high plains in Texas, the fermentation process contributes to the taste and balance of this white. $24
For folks who want a blend, the 2016 Kuhlman Cellars Calcaria is a must try. With the blends of Viognier, Roussanne, Trebianno, and Vermentino out of West Texas grapes, you have a strong deep blend with a mineral taste on the palate coupled with hidden fruit. $22
Hailing from west of Johnson City in the Hill Country, the 2016 Albariño from Ron Yates combines a Spanish flavor with fruitiness and a bit of a crisp and earthy extension. It may be the only wine on the list that hints of lychee and saffron. It is not too light nor too harsh and delights with the finest finish. $20
If you are a fan of rosé, the Dry Rose 2016 from Duchman Family Winery is an excellent choice for any occasion. The Aglianico grape used here adds a unique twist, bringing out strong berry tones. $22
Fall Creek has many grapes of which to be proud, but the 2016 Creekside Rosé is refreshing and fruity. Blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Merlot, and Shiraz, it tastes full with a strong finish. $22
Becker Vineyards is always creating fantastic options, so it comes as no surprise that the 2015 Dolcetto Reserve Wilmeth Vineyard is a clear winner for red. While this red tends to taste of heavy berry flavors, food pairing plays a major role in discovering its various notes. $29
Red Caboose is commonly mentioned by Texas wine drinkers these days. For a true “wow,” try the 2013 La Reina. It is a classic Tempranillo featuring hints of smoke that create a deep, rich taste. $28
The Llano Estacado Winery has many good bottles, but the 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is an especially strong choice. Selected from small batches of wine produced in 2014, this Cellar Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is 94 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, four percent Malbec, and two percent Sangiovese. Dry and full-bodied, the winery said that this red pairs well with steak and wild game, making it a Lone Star State favorite. $20
For Sangiovese lovers, try a red from McPherson Cellars. The 2015 Vintage Sangiovese offers hints of cherry, cola, and licorice. Providing a strong taste and feel in the mouth, this was one of the first grapes grown at this vineyard. $20
A stronger and more intense wine than many, the 2014 TX Barranca from Kuhlman Cellars features notes of herbs and fruit. Blending Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Malbec, this creation instantly brings up the deep imagery of a dark afternoon under a shady tree. $36
Becker Vineyards’s 2015 Petite Sirah, a standout featuring hints of smoky coffee and rich fruits, is of course included on this list. Expect the heavier fruits to shine on the palate and pair it with a heavier meal. $40
Fall Creek’s Salt Lick Vineyards Tempranillo from 2015 is a delightful red. The first vineyard was planted in 1975 and now the Tempranillo grapes are full grown. Taken from the Driftwood area, enthusiasts will enjoy deep fruit flavors with strong tannins and weighted feel on the tongue. $24
Cabernet Franc has not always been the most notable in Texas, but the Westcave Cellars 2014 offering is a must for red table wine. Strong, rowdy flavors create a superb taste that will have you still reminiscing long after the meal is done. $50
Looking for an exciting weekend adventure? Take a trip to a winery for a day of tasting and shopping! These winery standouts are all excellent options for a Lone Star State vineyard experience.
Perissos Vineyard and Winery | Burnet
The standout wines here are the Tempranillo and Aglianico. The vineyard sits on sixteen acres and features the Italian, French, and Portuguese grapes front and center, though all are Texas-grown.
Pedernales Cellars | Stonewall
With a nice tasting room offering both shade and light foods, this winery features Rhône and Spanish grapes. The grapes come from Texas Hill Country and High Plains vineyards. Their must-try wines are the Viognier and Tempranillo.
Spicewood Vineyards | Fredericksburg
Ron Yates purchased this winery just eleven years ago and has made exceptional wines ever since. To taste wines made with Texas-grown grapes, try the Estate Tempranillo. The Sauvignon Blanc is also a crowd pleaser.
Lewis Wines | Johnson City
In 2014, the first grapes were planted at Lewis Wines. The winery has responsibly produced delicious Texas wine ever since. Using 100 percent Texas-grown grapes, the stand out here is the High Plains Rosé. The Tinta Cao is also making a splash, billed as a floral, spicy option much akin to port.
These seven Texas wineries brought home Best of Class awards from the 2017 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition:
- Brennan Vineyards – Viognier 2015 (Viognier – $25 and above)
- Haak Vineyards & Winery – Tempranillo 2015 (Tempranillo – $24.99)
- Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards – Sweet Blush Colibri (Dry Rosé/Blush)
- Messina Hof Winery – Merlot 2015 (Merlot – up to $18.99)
- Perissos Vineyards and Winery – Dolcetto 2015 (Dolcetto)
- Trilogy Cellars – Malbec 2015 (Malbec – starting at $25)
- Wedding Oak Winery – Sweet Alyssum 2015 (White Blends – starting at $20)