The Dallas Morning News

Texas labels rack up 73 medals, including 7 gold

- By KIM PIERCE Special Contributo­r Kim Pierce is a Dallas freelance writer.

Wine experts from around the world converged on Irving in February to blind-judge more than 3,500 wines for the TexSom Internatio­nal Wine Awards. The contest carries huge cred, in part because its judges include so many master sommeliers.

When the last mouthful was swished and spit, Texas wines had earned seven gold medals, 46 silvers and 20 bronzes — a total of 73 and up against significan­t competitio­n.

Dig beneath the numbers and you get a snapshot of Texas winemaking and why you should start drinking Texas wines if you haven’t already.

Judges’ selections

Start with the créme de la créme Judges’ Selections for top Texas red and white.

Those came from Pat Brennan’s Brennan Vineyards in Comanche. (I remember when Brennan, a retired physician, was first starting out and pouring his wines at White Rock Farmers Market at Green Spot Market & Fuels. You’ve come a long way, Doc.)

These gold-medal beauties — Brennan Roussanne 2015 from Reddy Vineyard in the High Plains and Brennan Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 Texas — were made by winemaker Todd Webster.

The cab gets a “Texas” appellatio­n because the grapes come from Brennan’s three Comanche County vineyards, one in Comanche and two in Newberg, which aren’t part of any AVA, or American Viticultur­al Area.

One of Texas’ hottest new wineries, Rancho Loma Vineyards south of Abilene, took gold for its white blend, RLV III 2016 Reddy Vineyard High Plains, which includes three French grapes making hay in Texas: viognier, roussanne and marsanne.

Sweet nostalgia says it all for Pheasant Ridge Winery’s gold medalist: Old Vine Dry Chenin Blanc 2015, from the Cox Family Vineyard in the High Plains.

Bobby Cox was a pioneering Texas winemaker and grape grower who founded, lost and regained his beloved Pheasant Ridge near Lubbock. In 1986, his 1983 Pheasant Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon won gold in the prestigiou­s San Francisco Internatio­nal Wine Competitio­n. It would be a long, dry spell before Texas captured gold again.

Other TexSom gold medalists

Lewis Wines Mourvèdre 2013 from pre-eminent grower Andy Timmons’ Lost Draw Vineyards in the High Plains. Both co-owners and winemakers Doug Lewis and Duncan McNabb got their starts with Pedernales Cellars. Pedernales Cellars Reserve Viognier 2015 Texas, from one of the most beautiful Hill Country facilities with one of the tiniest appellatio­ns, Bell Mountain. The family-owned winery draws grapes from the High Plains and the Hill Country. Trilogy Cellars Reserve Malbec 2015 from Hockley County, High Plains, is the brainchild of three High Plains grape growers: Rowdy Bolen (Bolen Vineyards), Chace Hill (Krick Hill Vineyards) and Steve Newsom (Amanecer Vineyards). The High Plains has become the place to grow grapes in Texas, thanks to a combinatio­n of excellent growing conditions and cheap land. Grapes from regions that ring the Mediterran­ean do especially well there. Now if the wine gods will just hold back their crop-killing hail and late freezes. To check out all the medalists — from Texas and beyond — go to

 ??  ?? Brennan Roussanne 2015 from Reddy Vineyard in the High Plains
Brennan Roussanne 2015 from Reddy Vineyard in the High Plains

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