Texas Wine Country 2009, Part Two and Recap



By John ~ May 15th, 2009.

Becker VineyardsLast week in Texas Wine Country 2009, Part One, I shared with you my initial impressions of Texas wines in 2009 and how much better they are today than in 2002. Now after visiting a total of 23 wineries and tasting a total of 169 wines from 28 wineries, let me give you a summary of my thoughts and conclusions.

  1. While Texas is producing quite a few good wines, we were disappointed not to find at least one great wine on this trip.
  2. Becker, Driftwood Estate, and Texas Hills remain our three favorite wineries from this trip, although Pillar Bluff had maybe the single best wine and Fall Creek had some good value (high QPR) wines.
  3. Several factors seem to me to be keeping Texas from moving into the elite class of wine producing areas:
    • Erratic weather in the form of late freezes, hail, and even floods are causing producers to have smaller than normal crops in too many years for Texas to be able to produce the string of good vintages that is necessary to establish coveted terroir.
    • Because of the weather issues mentioned above, too many Texas producers are selling wines made from California, Washington, New Mexico, and even Australia grapes.
    • It is difficult to find Texas wines outside of Texas, and almost every Texas winery seems to have a different interpretation of wine shipping laws.
  4. Despite the caveats mentioned above, I will stick with the conclusion I reached after last year’s visit to several Texas High Plains wineries that Texas is doing the best job of the states outside of the big four of California, Washington, Oregon, and New York.

Fall Creek VineyardsHere’s a breakdown of all of the wines that we have tasted on this trip made with Texas grapes. Under each Quality heading, the wine name will be listed along with price and QPR rating. Wines in bold type received a QPR rating of 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5).

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Driftwood Estate Syrah, $18, QPR: 5
2006 Pillar Bluff Boar Doe Red Wine, $21.55, QPR: 5
2007 Becker Vintage Port, $21.95, QPR: 5
2005 Lost Creek Buddy’s Select (Cab/Merlot/Shiraz), $22.95, QPR: 5
2007 Texas Hills KICK BUTT Cab, $25, QPR: 5

NV Dry Comal Creek 1096 Port (Black Spanish estate grapes), $75, QPR: 2

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Fall Creek Chenin Blanc, $6.99, QPR: 5
NV Fall Creek White Riesling, $8.99, QPR: 5
2005 Sister Creek Merlot, $15.25, QPR: 5
2005 Texas Hills KICK BUTT Cab, $17.50, QPR: 5
2006 Driftwood Estate Super Texan (88% Sangiovese, 12% Merlot), $18, QPR: 5
2006 Driftwood Estate Lone Star Cab, $18, QPR: 5
2006 Texas Hills Port Rubino, $19.95, QPR: 5
NV Pillar Bluff Ruby Port, $20.61, QPR: 5
2002 Alamosa Texas Port (Grenache), $24, QPR: 5
2006 Becker Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $24.95, QPR: 5

2007 Becker Chenin Blanc, $12.95, QPR: 4
2007 Becker Claret, $16.95, QPR: 4
2007 Becker Prairie Rotie, $16.95, QPR: 4
NV Flat Creek Buckin’ Horse Red, $17.95, QPR: 4
2007 Texas Hills Syrah, $19.95, QPR: 4
2004 Lost Creek Buddy’s Blend (Cab/Merlot/Shiraz), $20.95, QPR: 4
2007 Woodrose Zinfandel, Willmuth Vineyards, $21.95, QPR: 4
2007 Mandola Estate Zinfandel, $24, QPR: 4
NV Grape Creek Port, $29.95, QPR: 4
NV Flat Creek Mistella (fortified Muscat Canelli), $34.95, QPR: 4
2005 Texas Hills Orange Moscato, $17.50, QPR: 3
NV Flat Creek Buckin’ Horse White Viognier, $17.95, QPR: 3
2007Grape Creek Cabernet/Syrah, $26.95, QPR: 3
2005 Torre di Pietra Claret, $27.95, QPR: 3
NV Torre di Pietra Tango Port (Primitivo), $49.95, QPR: 3
2007 Pedernales Stonewall Viognier, $18.00, QPR: 2
NV Torre di Pietra Rosa Flamenco, $18.95, QPR: 2
2001 Alamosa El Guapo Grande Tempranillo, $28, QPR: 2
2006 Alamosa Palette Red Rhone Blend, $30, QPR: 2
2008 Dry Comal Creek Black Spanish (estate grapes), $30.99, QPR: 2
2006 Alamosa Scissortail (Marsanne/Viognier/Roussanne), $26, QPR: 1
2007 Pedernales Cellars Family Reserve, $49.00, QPR: 1

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2007 Spicewood Sweet Bluebonnet Flush (89% Merlot, 11% Cab), $9.99, QPR: 5
NV Fall Creek Granite Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.99, QPR: 5
NV Fall Creek Merlot, $11.99, QPR: 5
2004 Texas Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, $14.95, QPR: 5
2002 McReynolds Wines Cabernet Sauvignon, $15, QPR: 5
2007 Texas Legato Cabernet Sauvignon, $17.95, QPR: 5
NV Alamosa Texas Port (Sangiovese), $18, QPR: 5

2007 Fall Creek Mission Sauvignon Blanc, $9.99, QPR: 4
2005 Texas Hills Syrah, $13.95, QPR: 4
2006 Driftwood Estate Longhorn Red, $18, QPR: 4
NV Fredericksburg Bach Burgundy, $18.95, QPR: 4
2007 Texas Legato Family Reunion Red Wine, $19.95, QPR: 4
2006 Flat Creek Super Texan (Sangiovese/Cab/Merlot), $19.95, QPR: 4
2007 Pedernales Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $25.00, QPR: 4
2006 Stone House Scheming Beagle Port (Norton), $26.95, QPR: 4
NV Flat Creek Ruby Port, $29.95, QPR: 4
2007 Fall Creek Viognier, $12.99, QPR: 3
2008 Becker Viognier, $14.95, QPR: 3
NV Fall Creek Muscat Canelli, $14.99, QPR: 3
2007 Pillar Bluff Chardonnay, $18.74, QPR: 3
NV Torre di Pietra Texas Dirty Girl, $18.95, QPR: 3
2007 Grape Creek Merlot, $19.95, QPR: 3
2005 Alamosa Syrah Tio Pancho Ranch, $20, QPR: 3
2006 McReynolds Wines Merlot, $20, QPR: 3
2005 Messina Hof Private Reserve Cabernet Franc, $22, QPR: 3
2006 Messina Hof Private Reserve Tex-Zin, $22, QPR: 3
2007 Mandola Estate SPINO’-Montepulciano, $26, QPR: 3
2008 Alamosa Amigo White High Valley Vineyard, $15, QPR: 2
2008 Flat Creek Muscato D’ Arancia, $16.95, QPR: 2
2005 Lost Creek Blanc du Bois, $17.50, QPR: 2
2007 Mandola Estate Canto Felice, $18, QPR: 2
2005 Fredericksburg Merlot, $24.95, QPR: 2
2006 Woodrose Merlot, Hendericks Vineyards, $24.95, QPR: 2
NV Torre di Pietra Porto Blanco, $49.95, QPR: 2
2004 Alamosa El Guapo Tempranillo, $18, QPR: 1
NV Torre di Pietra Red Flirt (Cab/Syrah), $18.95, QPR: 1
2008 Driftwood Estate Cuve Blanc, $20, QPR: 1
2007 Torre di Pietra Texas Chenin Blanc, $21.95, QPR: 1
2008 Torre di Pietra Blanc du Bois, $21.95, QPR: 1
2008 Woodrose Texas Rain (Rose), Tanglewood Vineyards, $21.95, QPR: 1
2007 Alamosa Scissortail (Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier), $22, QPR: 1
2006 Stone House Claros (Norton), $23.95, QPR: 1
2006 Torre di Pietra Mataro (Mourvedre), $24.95, QPR: 1
2007 TORO di Tejas (Tempranillo), $25, QPR: 1
2003 Fredericksburg Texitage, $34.50, QPR: 1

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
NV Comfort Cellars Jalapeno Wine, $9.95, QPR: NR
NV Fall Creek Ed’s Smooth Red, $9.99, QPR: NR
2007 Fall Creek Mission Cabernet Sauvignon, $9.99, QPR: NR
2007 Spicewood Cabernet Claret, $9.99, QPR: NR
2007 Pillar Bluff Founder’s Red, $13.12, QPR: NR
2007 Spicewood Estate Chardonnay, $13.99, QPR: NR
2007 Texas Hills Pinot Grigio, $14.95, QPR: NR
2005 McReynolds Wines Chardonnay, $15, QPR: NR
2002 McReynolds Wines Merlot, $15, QPR: NR
2008 Pedernales Cellars Garnacha Rose, $15.00, QPR: NR
2007 Flat Creek Muscato Blanco, $16.95, QPR: NR
2008 Grape Creek Cuvee Blanc, $16.95, QPR: NR
2006 Mandola Estate Viognier, $18, QPR: NR
NV Torre di Pietra Classico, $18.95, QPR: NR
2005 Lost Creek Chardonnay (no oak), $19.95, QPR: NR
2004 Fredericksburg Rose of Cab, $19.95, QPR: NR
2007 Texas Legato Malbec, $19.95, QPR: NR
NV Texas Legato Sojourn Port, $19.95, QPR: NR
2008 Pedernales Cellars Vino Blanco, $20.00, QPR: NR
2005 Messina Hof Private Reflections (60% Cab Franc), $22, QPR: NR
2008 Woodrose Blanc du Bois, Tanglewood Vineyards, $23.95, QPR: NR
2007 Mandola Estate Dolcetto, $26, QPR: NR
2007 Woodrose Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah, $26.95, QPR: NR
2007 Pedernales Cellars Tempranillo, $29.00, QPR: NR
2005 Torre di Pietra Sangiovese, $29.95, QPR: NR
2002 Comfort Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, $29.95, QPR: NR
2005 Torre di Pietra Touriga Nacional, $39.95, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2004 McReynolds Wines Merlot (76% Merlot, 24% Sangiovese), $10, QPR: NR
NV Comfort Cellars Chenin Blanc, $12.95, QPR: NR
2004 Cinque Vino Rosso, $12.95, QPR: NR
NV Comfort Cellars Orange Chardonnay, $14.95, QPR: NR
2008 Pillar Bluff Chenin Blanc, $14.99, QPR: NR
2007 Texas Legato Merlot, $15.95, QPR: NR
NV Fredericksburg Corderillas, $15.95, QPR: NR
2004 Alamosa Texaxaia (Sangiovese/Syrah/Tempranillo), $16, QPR: NR
2007 Grape Creek Viognier, $16.95, QPR: NR
2002 Comfort Cellars Pinot Noir, $18.95, QPR: NR
2005 Torre di Pietra Carignane, $18.95, QPR: NR
NV Fredericksburg F & N, $18.95, QPR: NR
2007 Texas Hills Rousanne, $19.95, QPR: NR
NV Comfort Cellars Sweet Rojo (Muscat/Merlot), $19.95, QPR: NR
2008 Texas Legato Sweet Peggy Sue White, $19.95, QPR: NR
2005 Messina Hof Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, $22, QPR: NR
2007 Mandola Estate Sangiovese, $24, QPR: NR


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Dessert Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Grenache, Lesser Known Varietals, Malbec, Merlot, Montepulciano, Moscato/Muscat, Mourvedre, Norton, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Port, Red Wine, Riesling, Rose Wine, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, Tempranillo, Texas Wine, Viognier, White Wine, Wine Travel, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25, Zinfandel

Reader's Comments

  1. Jonathan | May 29th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    I to have been having issues with wine that is not to the level that we SHOULD have here in Texas. I have come across some very good if not great wines. I would advise you to check out Innwood Estates their Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauv. and Palomino-Chard blend. Also, McPherson’s Grenache-Mouvedre and the newest one I have tried is Sunset Winery with their Merlot and Cabernet Sauv. I think with the right varitels and the right area we can have some great wine. The Newsom Vineyard in Yoakum county is where alot of the before mentioned wines come from and from my understanding it is a string bean little micro-climate that is differant than other areas in Texas.

  2. John | May 30th, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Jonathan,
    Thanks for your comments. I’ll add those wineries to the list for my next Texas trip. And I’ll have to agree with you that many of the better Texas wines I’ve had included grapes from the Newsom Vineyard.

Leave a Comment