Texas pt. 1- Someone made a malbec?!

Yes- Texas makes wine. Yes- some of it is good.

I was first exposed to Texas wine when I volunteered at the
“Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival”

back in March 2011.
My first shift was at Fall Creek Vineyards, for a chef luncheon that was paired up with wines from around the state. I tasted a great sangiovese from West Texas and, well, I got to sample have a glass of all of the wines offered, so its a good thing I took notes, because I can’t remember details….shit, I lost my notes…

My second shift was at the Festival’s “Sunday Fair”, which featured international wines and none/few from Texas (Sorry, I got really drunk at that one and pretty much can’t remember anything other than the ones I served for Austin Hope Winery).
[Side Note: I was told that the festival was a “drunk fest” and I would like to bear witness to that statement. And it was so fucking fun…too bad I was there by myself, since I’m the new kid in town].

So, this got me started on a Texas Wine kick!

I am really excited that more people are trying to produce wine in states other than the West Coast of the U.S. I can’t wait to try them and it goes along with my fuck-you-attitude toward tradition and wine snobbery. Just because its not from Napa, or Willamette Valley, does not mean its not worth it.
I have yet to try a New York Riesling, but I respect that people have tried growing wine up there, in addition to New Mexico, Idaho, Louisiana, and Texas (what other states are giving it a try…lemme know what you have found or think!).

Above are the photos of my first two Texas wine bottle purchases.
In addition to these bottles, I bought a glass of rose’ at VINO VINO (a wine bar in Austin) that was made somewhere in West Texas, and it was delicious! Once again, I lost my notes on that one.

My point is- its here and its time to try it; ALL OF IT!
You see that photo of the Llano “Signature Red” Meritage.
It is made with 4 out of 5 grapes of the Bordeaux variety: Cab. Sauv, Cab. Franc, Merlot, and Malbec. You can’t see it, but there is still some wine left in that bottle.
The story behind that, is that I bought the wine a few weeks ago, and I have been using it for cooking.
In other words- it wasn’t that good.
First off, there is no vintage on the bottle. That was a warning sign, but I figured since they must have the legal rights to call it “Meritage” (the title that is allowed to be used when your winery joins the Meritage association, which follows Bordeaux-style wine production guidelines) then, it might be decent. Nope. It was kind of shallow, with that cheap sharp grape flavor. I ate it with a steak and it was decent whatever-wine, but nothing I’ll buy again.

In regards to the Becker Vineyards 2009 Malbec that you see above- now this is one I will try again in the future.

If you like your malbecs like most malbecs from Argentina- with a rich dark chocolate, vanilla, and tobacco profile, then this would work for you.
However, you’ll notice that it is lighter than the big ones that many of us have come to expect from Argentina (so in other words, its like the cheap stuff from Argentina). It lacks that slap-you-in-the-face taste that I love from big Malbecs.
In addition, I score it a 3 out of 5 for depth. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, I mean it in terms of it lacks the mysterious wow factor that allows a wine to taste curiously good enough to try to analyze, even as a rookie wino.
I will try some more Becker wines, and I will try newer/other vintages of their malbec as they come around.

Texas is a big state with a couple of different geographical zones, so there is sure to be a lot of experimenting and variety to come out of Texas wine.
There is no reason we shouldn’t be trying wine from the state we live in, or the state that isn’t well known for it.
California, France, and the other places are not the be-all and end-all of wines; they have just been in the game longer.

Shit, I just spent $12 on two margaritas last night, and they weren’t even that good. I paid that much for this Becker Malbec, and its much more worth it!

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