More Fine Wine from the Great State of Texas

The Back Story:

You might remember the expansive piece called the Texas-Virginia Wine Summit that I co-wrote with Ben Simons from Vinotology some odd months ago (if not, here’s a refresher). In the trade, I ended up getting 4 bottles of Texas wine, 2 from Alamosa Cellars and 2 from Pheasant Ridge. I indulged in one offering from each during our experiment, saving two for a rainy day.

Well, it poured while I was in Virginia. The Alamosa wine I opened, which I forgot to save the label from, was a remarkable trip through Texas terroir, a Spanish blend exhibiting almost no fruit whatsoever, instead providing a leafy, seedy experience of black tea, coffee, and chocolate. The other bottle from Pheasant Ridge was a Bordeaux blend, and as Ben so aptly stated in a Tweet, Pheasant Ridge is doing good things with Bordeaux fruit.

I didn’t pair this wine with food, but I did enjoy it while re-experiencing several of my old favorite songs. I decided to post one to continue my unofficial Music Week. Like this wine, the song is best experienced with eyes closed. Sipping the wine while just letting the music wash over me was a sublime experience.

(also, I recommend closing your eyes because the music video is kind of hokey)

The Results:

The appearance of the wine is a beautiful spectrum of red and age. While the depth of the wine is almost a pure red, the swirl reveals shades of rust and cola. It’s a very interesting depth with a low viscosity.

The nose of the wine consists of blackberry and oak. As it opens up in the glass, it begins to develop a light cola and chocolate scent. After a good hour of airing out, it developed a very pleasant black licorice scent. There’s a complexity here I did not expect from the first sip.

The flavor of the wine initially consists of blackberry and oak, just like the nose. It’s surprisingly nuanced, with a higher-than-expected acidity that actually balanced very, very well with the flavor. As the wine opens up, darker fruits and seedier flavors of cola and coffee began to make an appearance. The tannins are a bit light but chalky. This wine is surprisingly complex for only 7 years of age.

For the Casual Drinker:

This is a nuanced, atypical wine and beautiful representative of Texas terroir. That being said, I recommend decanting this guy for at least an hour. You’ll definitely appreciate how much the mouth feel improves, and the “aged” character definitely needs some encouragement to present itself. If you want a unique example of what new regions in the New World are doing, I highly recommend this wine. As an added bonus, you’ll blow people’s minds when you tell them about the fantastic Bordeaux blend you had from Texas.

The Conclusion:

This wine might be hard to get a hold of, but at $15 you have absolutely no reason to pass on this beast of a Bordeaux blend. 8/10

In Case You Missed It:

Wine: Proprietor’s Reserve

Producer: Pheasant Ridge

Region: Texas, US

Varietal(s): 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 2003

Residual Sugar: unknown

Alcohol: 13.8%

pH: unknown

Price: $15

For a second look from a local palate, check out Vinotology’s review. He introduced me to this wine, and I have to say it’s a damn good thing he did.

9 Responses to “More Fine Wine from the Great State of Texas”

  1. Ben Simons Says:

    I’m really glad that you enjoyed this wine. I actually think that Pheasant Ridge is one of the few wineries in Texas who are really rocking Bordeaux varieties. In general, I think that these grapes are not what is going to distinguish Texas wine, but PR has been doing them for a relatively long time. The vines for these wines are about 30 years old, which is an eternity in Texas wine time.

    I also think that you are right about this being a Terroir driven wine. That’s what really attracted me to PR wines initially, is I feel that they are very expressive of their place. I’m looking forward to bringing some of their wine up to Washington for WBC (which I wish you were attending), so that I can share with some more winos.

    • wineaccguy Says:

      Ah, yep, I guess I did misquote you. However, I love that Pheasant Ridge has stuck with the Bordeaux grapes for so long… it’s paying dividends with low yields and very age-able wines.

      And I love the terroir of Texas. Everything I’ve had has been unique and expressive, an absolute treat to experience.

  2. Pheasant Ridge Says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words Josh. We appreciate it. I cant wait to show our wine maker.

    Luke

  3. James Says:

    That chalky Tannic structure is synonymous with PR and other good Texas High Plains reds. Some of the larger wineries have tried to hide this characteristic in their wines, but PR lets it shine through. PR has discovered the secret to good Bordeaux varietals in Texas….. Time!
    This is one of the things that attracted me to PR many years ago. To me when I close my eyes and taste this wine, its like I am almost there in the sandy red soil outside of Lubbock. I know Ben and allot of the folks there in Lubbock think I am crazy but I have a very interesting love affair with the soil out there in the High Plains. (Then again its probably because I live in East Texas amongst the Pine Trees)
    To me this wine taste just like the terroir that it came from. And I commend you for picking up on that in your post. PR’s wines are getting a cult like following and I am proud to say I am in this cult :)

    • wineaccguy Says:

      I am definitely with you there on the chalkiness, James. Their Pinot Noir has the same characteristic. It’s a fantastic and slightly unusual structure between a higher-than-expected acidity and such fine tannins.

      Now I want to join the cult and try some more reds from the Texas High Plains :-) Thank you so much for your kind words.

      • James Says:

        You know its ironic that you mention the Texas-Virginia wine summit because that made me aware of VA wines. And last night I had my first VA wine!
        Kluge Albemarle Rose 2005. It was on close out at a local wine store for 7.99. I was scared that the wine would be corked, but come to find out that it had a full cork and only had a slight touch of cork taint.
        Surprisingly to me this was a nice representation of VA as it was bone dry, partially oaked and spicy!
        Just found that to be quite ironic you mention Texas wine today.
        Cheers!

      • wineaccguy Says:

        Kluge gets rave reviews around here, though I haven’t had any of theirs yet. Glad a closeout of theirs was so pleasing. If you’re ever interested in a wine trade, get in contact with me. I’ve got some great VA wine recs.

      • Ben Simons Says:

        I’ve had the Kluge Albemarle Rose too. It was some pretty good stuff. That’s the second Rose that I’ve had from VA, and really thought both of them were pretty interesting wines.


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