Tag Archives: wine

Drink This: A Few Recent Tastings

IMG_4386by Andrew Chalk

2012 Gnarly Head Cabernet Sauvignon, California

The nose in this wine is extremely upfront with ripe fruit. Plums, blackberries, tar. A more complex nose than I expected fro this wine. In the mouth there is a higher level of acid than such rip fruit would portend (was it acidified?). Confirm the fruit from the nose. Also, thyme. Not a lot of complexity in the mouth. Medium finish.

$10 and worth it.    Continue reading

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Texas Department of Agriculture Proposes 75% Texas Grapes Requirement in GO TEXAN Wine


by Andrew Chalk

June 12th, 2014: In a major rules announcement the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) today proposed that future use of the GO TEXAN mark on wine packaging will require that 75% of the grapes used to make the wine be from Texas. This replaces the existing rule under which 0-% of the grapes must be from Texas and makes GO TEXAN labeling consistent with Federal appellation labeling.

This change is a huge win for three groups, and a huge loss for one.    Continue reading


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Wine Ad Verbiage — Romance or Rubbish?

wineby Andrew Chalk

Reading some wine advertisements makes it hard to remember that we are talking about fermented grapes. I have read about wines that supposedly contained sunlight, family dreams, history, magic and genius. Put charitably, this copy is trying to convey the feelings that went in to making (or are derived from drinking) the wine. However, sometimes you come across copy that is simply bullshit. Such was the case this week with the ad. for Manuscript Pinot Noir in Modern Luxury.    Continue reading


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Texas Sommelier Has 27 Texas Wines on His List

Steven-Kruegerby Andrew Chalk

La Cantera Hill Country Resort is an absolutely spectacular sight in the southern Hill Country just north of San Antonio. The vast resort has a popular world-class golf course, private villas (casitas), six pools and a flagship restaurant Francesca’s at Sunset. As well as being close to the most rapidly improving culinary scene in the state, the resort is also part of it. Its extensive dining facilities make it one of the area’s largest customers for community-supported agriculture, Texas ranches and line-caught fish. And that commitment to Texas product does not stop at the edge of the plate. The resort also has one of the most extensive and carefully curated selections of Texas wines in the state.

While attending Culinaria this month, I took a look at the April release of the monthly-updated list and asked its creator, Steve Krueger, Resort Sommelier, about the Texas angle. Continue reading


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The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley Show That They are Producing Better Zinfandel Than Ever, as Well as Other Varieties


by Andrew Chalk

Many readers will have visited Sonoma County in northern California wine country and sampled the Zinfandels made in the sub-region named Dry Creek Valley. The 70+ wineries there are so small (median production is only about 4750 cases) that most sell all that they make at the “cellar door” (either in a tasting room or through Internet orders). Additionally, 150 grape growers sell fruit to these winemakers and another 80+ wineries besides. This direct sales link is vital to small wineries as it vastly reduces their costs of distribution. One result, is that there are many good wines that do not make their way onto retail shelves here, or do so only at a restricted set of outlets (basically the finer wine stores in town).

To taste the gamut of Dry Creek wine making you really need to visit the area (and the ideal time is the weekend known as Passport To Dry Creek Valley each April). Notwithstanding that, sometimes the growers go out to their customers.   Continue reading


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Texas Roussanne Tasted Blind Against California and France – Comes Out Top


by Andrew Chalk  photos by Robert Bostick

We have reported that the Roussanne grape does well in Texas’s climate and soil and pondered whether it is the next breakthrough Texas grape. The answer will come when Texas Roussanne wines match the quality of Roussanne wines from California. In order to find out how they are doing, I organized a blind tasting open to all Texas Roussanne producers. Nearly all of them submitted two bottles of their current offering.

We knew that Roussanne is much less widely made than Viognier, the premier white grape in the state. Nonetheless, we got participation from a total of six wineries who provided nine different wines. Submissions had to comply with the Federal rule that at least 75% of the grapes in the bottle must be the variety that appears on the label. All of the wines had Texas, or an American Viticultural Area (AVA) within Texas, as their place of grape origin.    Continue reading


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