I took a little heat about this wine selection – at least in the beginning. We were at the Moonshine Patio Grill in Austin at a dinner for my board of directors. I proudly announced that since we were in Texas, I took the liberty of ordering some Texas wine.
One board member proclaimed, “Oh, yeah. You really like those local wines, don’t you.” This was accompanied by a barely stifled snicker.
I had chosen the Driftwood Estate 2011 Longhorn Red as well as a Montepulciano for the reds. For white drinkers I selected a Gruner Veltliner from Austria as well as a Viognier from Texas. The Viognier will go unnamed. It wasn’t very popular, although I thought it quite passable.
My thought was, “Since we’re in Texas, why drink a non-descript wine from California when we can try home state wine?” Texas is an up-and-comer in the American wine world.
The Moonshine Grill is a quirky Austin restaurant that features upscale comfort food, like corn dog shrimp with honey mustard and blueberry swirl. They also feature four different moonshines – and they were quite smooth! It was an ideal location to chill out and enjoy the funky vibe of Austin.
The Longhorn Red, a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Syrah, was a hit. One guest proclaimed, “this tastes like Napa.” One of the entrée selections was a jalapeño hanger steak with jalapeño scallion butter. This was prepared perfectly and the match with the Longhorn was sumptuous.
Driftwood Estate is a Hill Country winery and that picturesque area of Texas was recently named by Wine Spectator as one of the top 10 wine destinations in the world. Driftwood bills itself as the “Texas winery with the million dollar view.”
The Longhorn has deep rich flavors of dark berries and smooth tannins. The wine is aged in French and American oak and the result is a polished wine. This is their most expensive estate wine at $30 and Driftwood also offers Viognier, Sangiovese and a Merlot-Cab blend, among others.
I’ve always admired the boldness of Texas. Texas wineries are capturing that independent spirit by doing what the crowd says can’t be done: produce award-winning wines in the Lone Star State. Remember the Alamo!