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Texas Wineries Shine at Various Competitions


Texas wines have shown well in recent competitions.

It’s been a good season for Texas wineries in competitions. Numerous producers from the Hill Country, the High Plains and beyond have brought home gold, silver and bronze medals. There was even a double gold for Flat Creek Estate.

Here are some of the winners of three competitions, the Long Beach Grand Cru, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

Congratulations to all of these wineries, who were competing against the likes of Italy’s Castello Banfi, France’s Champagne Collet and Nicolas Feuillatte, Washington state’s Col Solare, and Napa Valley’s Newton Vineyards and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars:

2011 Long Beach Grand Cru

Becker Vineyards:

  • 2009 Barbera Reserve – Bronze
  • 2009 Claret – Bronze
  • 2009 Merlot Reserve – Silver
  • 2010 Albariño – Bronze
  • 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah Reserve – Silver
  • 2010 Grenache Reserve – Silver

2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Bar Z:

  • 2004 Newsom Vineyard Texas High Plains Cabernet Sauvignon – Bronze

Becker Vineyards:

  • 2009 Fumé Blanc – Bronze
  • 2009 Texas Provencal – Bronze
  • 2008 Texas Claret – Silver

Brennan Vineyards:

  • 2009 Texas Viognier – Gold
  • 2008 Texas Cabernet Sauvignon – Silver
  • 2008 Texas Austin Street Red – Bronze

Bruno Collection:

  • Texas Cardinal Cranberry Wine – Silver

Grape Creek Vineyards:

  • 2009 Muscat Canelli – Silver
  • 2009 Texas Cuvée Blanc – Bronze
  • 2009 Cabernet Blanc – Bronze
  • 2008 Bellissimo – Silver
  • 2008 Mosaic – Bronze
  • 2008 Cabernet Trois – Bronze
  • 2008 Texas Cab/Syrah – Silver
  • Texas Port – Silver

McPherson Cellars:

  • 2009 Viognier – Silver
  • 2009 Texas Rosé of Syrah – Gold

Singing Water Vineyard:

  • 2008 Texas Texas Reserve – Bronze

White, red, sweet and dry - Texas has won wines in all categories.

2011 San Francisco International Wine Competition

Brennan Vineyards:

  • 2009 Buffalo Rhône – Silver
  • 2010 Viognier – Bronze

Duchman Family Winery:

  • 2009 Vermentino – Silver
  • 2009 Bianco – Silver
  • 2009 Dolcetto – Bronze
  • 2009 Aglianico – Bronze

Flat Creek Estate:

  • 2010 Viognier – Double Gold
  • 2009 Syrah – Gold
  • 2010 Pinot Grigio – Silver
  • 2010 Muscat Canelli – Silver
  • 2010 Rosé of Sangiovese – Bronze

Lone Oak Winery:

  • 2008 Tempranillo – Bronze

Pilot Knob Vineyard:

  • 2010 Sweet Rosé – Silver
  • 2010 Viognier – Bronze

Sandstone Cellars Winery:

  • 2009 VIII Red Blend – Silver
  • 2006 Touriga IV – Bronze

Sister Creek Vineyards:

  • 2010 Muscat Canelli – Silver
  • 2009 Red Blend – Silver
  • 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Sangiovese – Bronze
  • 2009 Red Blend – Bronze

Torre di Pietra:

  • 2009 Blanc du Bois Reserve – Bronze

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10 Texas Wines to Tempt Your Taste Buds


Gary Gilstrap of Texas Hills Vineyards pours a taste of his Tempranillo. What Texas wines are you pouring?

The calendar tells us that October is Texas Wine Month, but many of us “loca-pours” — the wine-loving equivalent of a locavore  — have been enjoying the state’s rich bounty all year long. The following is a list of 10 Lone Star wines worth seeking out. Many are at fine wine shops in the area. Others are available only at the winery or online.

Raymond Haak of Haak Winery

The list could stretch on an on to include selections from many of the state’s other fine wineries, such as Fall Creek, Brennan, Pedernales Cellars, LightCatcher and Inwood Estates. These are just to get you started.

1. Haak Winery Blanc du Bois (Dry) 2009 — The winery from Santa Fe, Texas, is gaining international recognition for its Madeira, which is standing up quite well alongside those from Portugal. But it is also doing some wonderful things with Blanc du Bois, a grape that resists fungus and disease while thriving in Texas. The grape’s flavors and aromas conjure images of tropical fruit blend, which means it’s at home in both sweet and dry versions. Haak attempts to please all palates, even using it in his Port of Call dessert wine. My favorite is the dry version, clean and delightful in the heat. (HaakWine.com)

2. Perissos Vineyard and Winery Texas Hill Country Viognier 2007 — Breathe in the aroma of honeysuckle, with perhaps an extra dose of honey. Then taste the peach and stone fruit with a touch of citrus that swirl across your palate in a medium-bodied treat that leads to a clean finish. Refreshing. (PerissosVineyards.com)

3. Stone House Vineyards Claros Norton 2008 — Norton is a grape that seems resistant to freezing, hail and flooding. Sounds almost too good to be true, right? Yet this varietal has done well in Virginia, where the results are rustic and rugged. This Texas version is much lighter and cleaner, both of which are welcome in the Texas heat. Not overly complex, just enjoyable. (StoneHouseVineyard.com)

4. Calais Winery Tempranillo 2009 — “The French winery of Texas,” as this newcomer bills itself, is soaring beyond expectations with its first bottling of that great Spanish grape, Tempranillo. Lush, rich, red fruit (from Neal Newsom’s much sought-after High Plains vineyards) fills your mouth with each pleasant sip. (CalaisWinery.com)

5. Texas Hills Vineyards Toro de Tejas Newsom Vineyards Tempranillo 2009 — For a persuasive argument that Tempranillo could be the state’s big red grape to rival California’s Cabs, pour the Calais side-by-side with this satisfying wine (again, lush and full of red fruit flavors). Both are made from Newsom’s grapes, so you’ll be able to experience how winemakers affect the wine making process. Get the grill ready, because a big ol’ hunk of steak should be part of the equation. And that’s no bull. (TexasHillsVineyard.com)

6. Sandstone Cellars Winery VI 2008 — This wine is a blend of European grapes made in a style that isn’t trying to emulate California, Washington or even its Texas neighbors. It’s more Old World in its earthy tones, which mingle elegantly with dark, dry fruit (think blackberry, not sweet cherry). It’s also sublime. (SandstoneCellarsWinery.com)

7. Becker Vineyards Raven 2008 — Raven is something of a departure for the Stonewall winery. The label is different. The feeling of the bottle in your hand is different. The weight and taste that fills your mouth are definitely different. This is a big, juicy blend of Malbec (75 percent) and Petit Verdot (25 percent) that packs a Texas-sized wallop. Ever bit into an overripe plum and had the juices explode in your mouth? Now, add plenty of sun-baked earth and sweet spices to fill out the inky palate.  (BeckerVineyards.com)

8. Flat Creek Estate Syrah 2008 — Fruit-forward flavors of plum and currant mix with leather and a touch of coffee on the palate of this wine, which initially seems to be a powerhouse but actually has some pleasant undercurrents of smoke and cocoa to give it complexity. (FlatCreekEstate.com)

9. Llano Estacado Superiore Rosso Viviano 2007 — This is perhaps the granddaddy of Texas high-end blends, and each vintage places consistently among the best Texas has to offer.  It’s not about tasting the mineral or fruit flavors individually. Sipping this wine is about enjoying the balance that exists among the various grapes, a richness that is neither too subtle or too overwhelming. It’s the liquid equivalent of the contentment Goldilocks had when she discovered something that was “just right.” (LlanoWine.com)

10. McPherson Cellars Grenache-Mourvedre 2007 — Some areas of Texas are ideal for growing southern Rhone varietals like Grenache and Mourvedre. Trouble is, not too many people want to take a chance at pronouncing them. What they’re missing, especially in Kim McPherson’s version, is a light-bodied yet lovely expression of raspberry and smoky spices that just loves food, whether you’re eating chicken wings, baked ham or chili. Definitely one to remember for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. (McPhersonCellars.com)

Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards

If you are seeking out these wines online, just be aware that not all of the websites have been updated. If you have a question, you may want to e-mail the winery before ordering.

What are your favorite Texas wines? Post them below. Drink Texas the next time you open a bottle, but drink responsibly.

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Daily Dish: Texas Wines Win at San Fran Competition


A host of Texas wineries took home medals in the recent San Francisco Wine Competition.

Fuqua Winery in Dallas did best, winning a double gold for its 2006 Fuqua Vat No. 3 Tempranillo which sells for $33 a bottle.

“This is really a big deal for any winery” owner Lee Fuqua said on his website.  “Not many people ever win a double gold medal.”

Here’s a list of other winning Texas wines:

Becker Vineyards

  • Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2008 Viognier, Texas $15.
  • Silver Medal Becker Vineyards 2008 Syrah, Texas $19.
  • Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Canada Vineyards, Texas $30.
  • Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Martin Vineyards, Texas High Plains $14.
  • Bronze Medal Becker Vineyards 2007 Claret, Les Trois Dames, Texas $17.

Flat Creek Estate

  • Silver Medal Flat Creek Estate 2008 Viognier, American $18.
  • Bronze Medal Flat Creek Estate 2008 Pinot Grigio, Texas $18.
  • Bronze Medal Flat Creek Estate 2008 Pinot Blanc, Estate Grown, Texas Hill Country $35.

Grape Creek Vineyard

  • Silver Medal Grape Creek Vineyard 2007 Cabernet Trois, American $19.
  • Bronze Medal Grape Creek Vineyard 2008 Cabernet Blanc, American $15.
  • Bronze Medal Grape Creek Vineyard 2006 Mosaic, American $37.

San Martino Winery

  • Silver Medal San Martino Winery & Vineyards 2005 Tempranillo, Texas $28.
  • Bronze Medal San Martino Winery & Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, American $27.
  • Bronze Medal San Martino Winery & Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Special Barrel Select, Texas $32.
  • Bronze Medal San Martino Winery & Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ramos Private Reserve, Texas $50.
  • Bronze Medal San Martino Winery & Vineyards 2005 Premium Bordeaux Blend, Texas $60.

Sister Creek Vineyards

  • Silver Medal Sister Creek Vineyards 2007 Cabernet / Merlot / Sangiovese, American $19.
  • Silver Medal Sister Creek Vineyards 2007 Cabernet / Merlot / Sangiovese / Malbec, Reserve, American $30.
  • Silver Medal Sister Creek Vineyards 2007 Cabernet / Merlot / Sangiovese / Malbec, Vintner’s Collections, American $40.
  • Silver Medal Sister Creek Vineyards 2006 Merlot, American $16.

Stone House Vineyard

  • Silver Medal Stone House Vineyard 2006 Norton Reserve, Claros, Texas Hill Country $24.
  • Bronze Medal Stone House Vineyard 2003 Cabernet / Shiraz, Angela’s Wish, Barossa Valley, Australia $40.
  • Bronze Medal Stone House Vineyard 2008 Late Harvest Riesling, Sticky, Barossa , Australia $18.

For a full list of medal winners, click here.

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