by Leanne Holley, Editor, Texas Wine and Trail Magazine
The Texas Wine and Food Consortium is a non-profit group founded on the belief that there is a strong need in Texas for an independent organization to provide sound data about our wine industry to trade members, and for quality consumer education. The consortium has taken a modern approach, focusing their efforts to include wine community engagement and interaction, while placing importance on a value added experience.
Texas vs The World
Texas vs. The World tasting events are one of the ways TXWFC reaches out to the wine communities of Austin, Dallas, and Houston in order to help local wine lovers become better acquainted with fine Texas wines. Promoted with humor as, “the Judgement of Paris meets Wine Idol,” this fun and exciting Vs. series allows the group of tasters to become judges themselves. “Texas wines are hitting their stride and if you haven’t seen them in action recently, here is your chance to taste the best wines being produced in the state alongside their global counterparts in a tasting that is done blind throughout and where each wine is scored individually on its own merit.”
In an effort to curtail industry snobbery, much of which has kept Texas wine off many “respected” wine lists until now, the Vs. events cater to consumers interested in finding quality Texas wines, as well as wine professionals who have heard the praises of a dramatic improvement in Texas wine production, and are ready to taste and judge for themselves. Guest hosts, featured sommeliers, and producers attend each Vs. event, which account for increasing consumer wine education, and engaged discussion – both needed at this crucial phase of Texas wine industry growth.
“That was a great night full of wine, friends, and education.” – Mike Batek, Hye Meadow Winery
The last Texas vs. The World event was held in August and centered around Sangiovese. This Italian varietal is starting to develop in Texas rather nicely, producing some excellent examples of savory wines for our state. Some enjoy Texas Sangiovese for its spice and rustic earthiness, while others prefer a more fruit-forward style. Like all wines, tasting a variety will help determine your personal preference. Sangiovese wines pair wonderfully with pastas, fatty game and roasted vegetables; a perfect dinner wine for the coming fall/winter hunting seasons here in Texas. Remember to look for Texas Sangiovese as the temperatures drop and your meals become heartier.
Creating Quite a Swirl
Accompanying each featured varietal in the Texas vs. The World tastings, is an industry tasting, or “Trade Tasting.” Professionals from inside the industry taste and score each Texas wine under controlled conditions. These trade scores are then collected and tasting notes compared. The trade scores and notes are a valuable tool to analyse the different ways Texas wine is progressing, since many of these professionals have been tasting Texas wines for years now.
Judges for the Texas vs. The World – Sangiovese event included:
John Gerber, Winebow, Inc.
Hutch Hill, New Vintage Wines
Matt Champion, Vinovium Partners
Brian Phillips, Eddie V’s, Sommelier
Margaret Shugart, Fino, Sommelier
Bill Elsey, Red Room, Sommelier
Oscar Montes Iga, Malaga Tapas & Bar, Sommelier
Nathan Fausti, Perla’s, Sommelier
Shawn Croft, Twin Liquors, Sommelier
Nathan Prater, Everday Sommelier, Owner
Top Texas Sangiovese – Consumer Rated
1. McPherson Cellars, Texas, Sagmor Vineyards, Reserve, Sangiovese, 2009
2. Flat Creek Estate, Texas, Super Texan, 2011
3. Solaro Estate, Texas High Plains, Reserve, Sangiovese, 2011
4. Brushy Creek Vineyards, Texas, Sangiovese, 2012
5. Salt Lick Cellars, Texas Hill Country, Estate Sangiovese, 2011
Top Texas Sangiovese – Trade Rated
1. Wedding Oak Winery, Texas High Plains, Sangiovese, 2010
2. Flat Creek Estate, Texas, Super Texan, 2011
3. Llano Estacado, Texas, ‘Viviano,’ Superiore Rosso, 2008
4. McPherson Cellars, Texas, Sangiovese, 2010, and Duchman Family Winery, Texas, Sangiovese, 2011
5. Landon Winery, Texas, ‘The Texan,’ 2011
In the Top Overall Wines results category, Texas placed in 4 out of 5 spots. For those results, industry tasting notes, and more information about the Texas Wine and Food Consortium, please click here.
The next scheduled Texas vs. The World is September 24th in downtown Austin at Malaga Tapas & Wine Bar and will center around Viognier. Pedernales Cellars will be the featured winery and Texas vs the World attendees will get to meet Julie Kuhlken and taste both the 2012 Texas Viognier and Viognier Reserve at the monthly wine tasting. The inaugural 2011 Viognier Reserve won Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, while the 2012 release took home Grand Gold at the Lyon International Wine Competition in France. For tickets and more information click here.