Tag Archives: Texas High Plains AVA

Take That! Texas Winery ‘Bending Branch’ Wins Double Gold At America’s Toughest Wine Competition

BendingBranch_Winery-STACKED_BW1-2by Andrew Chalk

The San Francisco International Wine Competition is widely regarded as the toughest wine competition in America. That makes it doubly meritorious for Bending Branch Winery of Comfort, Texas to have won a double gold medal for their 2010 ‘Newsom Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon from the Texas High Plains. Of 393 medal winners in the intensely competitive Cabernet Sauvignon category, 24 received double gold medals (6% of the category). In placing so high, Bending Branch ranked above a host of more familiar names from California, as well as wines from as far away as Australia. The organizers of the competition confirmed that there has not been another Texas Cabernet Sauvignon awarded a double-gold in the last 16 years of the competition.    Continue reading


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Lewis Wines: A Young Hill Country Winery With Big Aspirations

Doug Lewis for Andrew Chalk no watermark 2Doug Lewis (photo courtesy Miguel Lecuona)

by Andrew Chalk

As I accelerate out of Johnson City, travelling west on 290, I am careful to watch for two propane tanks on the left hand side of the road as I have it on good authority that the entrance right after them is Lewis Wines. Two oak barrels mark the site of the future sign that will tell travellers to the 290 wine route (the stretch of U.S. 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg along which literally dozens of Texas wineries exist either in name or in fact) that this is an open winery with a tasting room and it welcomes visitors.

I follow the driveway around a house and up a rise where, near a bluff of Austin stone, sits the corrugated steel building that is the winery. Duncan McNabb, winemaker greets me with a warm smile that says “I can’t believe you found us”. His dedication to the four-year old startup that is Lewis Wines is obvious when, on hearing my out of state accent, he explains that he is from LA where he was a pre-med student who was initially contracted to do some chemical tests on wine for Doug Lewis, after whom the winery is named, McNabb gave up entrance into the highest paid major profession in the world, American medicine, to make wine at a startup winery an hour north of San Antonio.     Continue reading

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Is Roussanne The Next Breakthrough Texas Grape?

wine-tastingby Andrew Chalk

I recently reported on a tasting of Texas wines made from the Rhône grape named Roussanne.  Thirty four Dallas consumers blind-tasted 17 Roussanne wines (or blends) from major Roussanne growing regions (10 wines were from Texas) and when the results were in, Texas wines occupied four of the five top positions, including first.

That tasting, organized by a wine event group named Gusto, has been replicated closely by them in Houston and Austin. Here are the results for the top five wines out of 17 in each tasting. I have highlighted the Texas wines to draw attention to their rankings:  Continue reading


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