My mother created a vineyard in the Texas Hill Country called the Vineyard at Florence. I’ve been a part of this Vineyard for 7 years now. Because of it, I am now knowledgeable about wine in general and feel like I am qualified to write about the subject, unlike most of the Texas population, who guzzle sweet reds and moscato like some sort of life-giving Gatorade.
To each their own.
There is a stigma that Texas produces shitty wine. I myself, along with my boyfriend, went this weekend to the Hill Country and wine tasted at a very small winery. They stated proudly that they were known for their watermelon and pear-flavored wines. This is understandable in Texas; what else could be better to a Texan than to unwind with some beyond sweet, fruit-flavored, almost-a-wine-cooler beverage?
But we went to drink wine, not to coat our throats with sangria.
To make a long and painful experience short, the dry wines were abysmal. The winery (which I will not name) ages everything in plastic containers, and you can tell! “Ahhh, yess, I’m getting raspberry, plum, and…ah…pool toy.” There were absolutely NO tannins on ANY of the wines (and we were drinking Cabernet Sauv and Chianti here…they’re known for drying out the tongue a bit). It was almost like fermented Welch’s, sans sugar. I think I wrote on my tasting note sheet “Never again” and “Why, Jesus?”
Now, I’m not expecting to visit any mom and pop Texan wineries and taste something akin to an ’06 Italian Barolo, or something so complex that my eyes close with creepy satisfaction. No, I just want something with next to no residual sugar, and something that doesn’t smell like a container from Target.
My point is that horrid, no-Jesus-no wine certainly does exist in Texas. It exists everywhere. But here’s the kicker: good wine also exists in Texas. I think Fredericksburg in general, in which most of the wine country has blossomed, has done a decent job in manipulating the grapes to produce something that’s past drinkable to winos.
Remember California? Remember what everyone said about its wine 40 years ago? Yeah, that’s what Texas is experiencing. I guarantee that, in 30 years or so, Texas will be the next California, and those vineyards that pioneered and were the first established will be the next freaking Chateau Montelena. Watch the movie Bottle Shock on Netflix, now.
I wouldn’t be a good marketer for my own family’s business if I didn’t mention it. It’s called the Vineyard at Florence, in Florence, TX, which is 40 miles northwest of Austin. Inspired by European vineyards, the facility itself has red roof tiles, stone walls, and some of the best wine in Texas. Yeah, I said it. We have fine wines, which is very rare for the state, but it is AMAZING what you can do to Texas grapes if you just ferment them in a certain way. Check us out: www.thevineyardatflorence.com. I also have a blog related to them calledwww.thevineyardatflorence.wordpress.com, and it is also satire about the behind the scenes nonsense that happens there.
Moral: Keep your eyes open for Texas wine. It will be on everyone’s minds very soon.