Monday, November 6, 2023

Texas Heritage Wines Deliver Distinctive Fall Flavors

In the 1970s, the wine industry in Texas made a profound shift. Rather than chasing popular grapes unsuited for the Texas soil and climate, they began planting “grapes that love our state and thrive in our culture and climate,” as Texas Heritage Winery puts it.

We had a chance to sample three wines from this outstanding Lone Star State winery and came away impressed.

Viognier is a Rhone grape that has found a welcome home in Texas. It is the most-produced white grape in the state. The 2022 Wildseed Farms Viognier is delicate and crisp with notes of lemon and honeysuckle. At 11.7% ABV, it is perfect for pairing with seafood or light dishes with aromatic herbs. It is priced at $30.

We paired the Viognier with a butternut squash bisque. The acidity of the wine cut through the creaminess of the soup for a delightful pairing.

The 2020 Gotneaux Creek Vineyard Syrah is the only Syrah produced by Texas Heritage. It spends 30 months in neutral oak. “We don’t oak a lot,” says co-founder Susan Johnson. “The grapes are great enough to speak for themselves. We let the true character of the grapes shine through.”

If you haven’t tried Texas Syrah, prepare yourself for a real surprise. This bottle is smooth and expressive. Some Syrah can be too big and brambly, but this is delicious with rich blueberry and plum notes. You get a nice dash of pepper on the long finish. SRP for this bottle is $42.

Alicante Bouschet is a large-cluster, thick-skinned grape that can be somewhat of a problem child. Thankfully, the 2019 vintage saw no difficulty in the vineyard and Texas Heritage produced this outstanding 2019 Estate Alicante Bouschet from the oldest part of their vineyard. It won Reserve Texas Class Champion at the 2022 Houston Rodeo Uncorked and Double Gold at the 2021 Harvest Terroir.

Alicante is a true tenterer, a rare grape that has red flesh and red skin. This is a full-bodied wine that needs at least 45 minutes in the decanter to help tame it. It is fruit-forward with an incredibly deep and dark ruby color. There are floral notes and lush black cherry and currant flavors. This is a perfect sipping wine.

We paired the reds with a wild boar and pasta entree and enjoyed a sunny and warm fall day on the patio. The Alicante Bouschet sells for $48. In fact, Texas Heritage specializes in producing really good wines at affordable prices. No bottle is more than $50.

Texas Heritage wines are available online via their website. It’s a perfect introduction to the noteworthy wines of Texas.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as a marketing sample.

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