Texas celebrates Texas Wine Month every year in October. After tasting more than forty of the state's vinous offerings, here is my list of top picks that are currently available on each individual winery's website. These are not just for October drinking, most of these wines are Thanksgiving friendly and would make great gifts for wine lovers for Christmas and beyond.
Four different single varietal white wines that are not only food friendly offering a range of pairing compatibility but that are also delicious for anytime sipping.
Duchman Family Winery Trebbiano 2016 - Tropically refreshing with mouthwatering acidity, SRP $16.
Spicewood Vineyards Hill Country Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2016 - Grapefruit and lime linger through the crisp, mineral-laced finish. SRP $19.99
Brennan Vineyards Reserve Viognier 2015 - Fragrant with honeysuckle and pineapple aromas, pleasantly textured with tropical flavors and a fresh citrus finish. SRP $25
Fall Creek Vineyards Certenberg Vineyards, Texas Hill Country Chardonnay 2015 - Fermented and aged sur lie in stainless steel tanks, this wine is fresh and lively with green apple and lime zest aromas and flavors with a bit of sweet nuttiness in the long slightly smoky mineral finish. SRP $25
Fall Creek also makes a limited production and more expensive version of this white which is aged in French Oak and has rich tropical flavors and bakery notes, perfect for heavier meals, SRP $50.
Interestingly, these were almost the exact same deep rose color due to the high amount of pigment in the grape skins this vintage. Past versions of the Spicewood rosé have looked Provencal while this vintage looked more like a Clairet. Both of these were a bit more structured than expected and will work well with the heavier foods of fall and winter, rosé season never really ends in Texas.
Brennan Vineyards Reserve Mourvèdre Dry Rosé - Partially fermented in neutral French Oak and then blended with 25% Cinsault, the wine's strawberry, rose petals and rhubarb linger through the refreshing finish. SRP $25
Spicewood Vineyards Mourvedre Rosé 2016 - Primarily fermented in stainless steel with a portion aged in neutral oak and blended with 20% Cinsault, this wine has mixed berry aromas and flavors mingling with a light peppery note in the fresh, fruity finish. SRP $18.99
Four different red varietals and three unique blends round out the list. While the Tannat screams for red meat or game, the others work well with pizza, pasta, roasted poultry and more.
Duchman Family Winery Montelpulciano 2014 - Food friendly and easy-drinking with good acidity and moderate tannins, this medium body red has nuances of black plum, black cherry, baking spice and tobacco that last through the finish.
Pedernales Cellars Texas GSM Melange 2015 - A blend of 58% Mourvèdre, 36% Syrah and 6% Grenache. Raspberry and dark chocolate dominate this smooth, medium body red right through the herb-laced finish. SRP $35
Spicewood Vineyards High Plains Tempranillo 2015 - Fresh ripe mixed berry aromas and flavors, with a medium body, moderate tannins and a baking spice note that lingers through the persistantly fruity finish, SRP $23.99. My husband and I shared a bottle of this wine with dinner last month and I chose it for the list then. Last week, I had a taste of the Spicewood Vineyards Hill Country Estate Tempranillo 2014 which is also delicious but with a bigger structure, a more savory edge and a higher price tag, SRP $42.99.
Wedding Oak Winery Regency Bridge, Texas Hill Country Red Wine 2015 - This blend of 42% Graciano, 39% Tempranillo, 16% Garnacha and 3% Tannat is bold and flavorful with black cherry, mulberry and wild raspberry with a bit of pink peppercorn in the fruit-filled finish, SRP $29.
Bending Branch Mourvedre Reddy Vineyards, Texas High Plains 2014 - Energetic and fresh with ripe black currant, black pepper and eucalyptus in a medium body with smooth tannins and a slightly spicy finish, SRP $30.
Bending Branch Texas Tannat 2014 - This full bodied red has a big, bold tannic structure with mouth-filling flavors of cranberry, tobacco and black pepper with a touch of cola in the generous finish, SRP $30.
Fall Creek Vineyards Certenberg Vineyard, Texas Hill Country Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon - Lush yet elegant with a full body and silky tannins with fresh red currant, red plum, forest floor and a bit of pencil box in the continuing finish. SRP $35.
The Lone Star State's varied terroir supports a broad mix of grapes which allows for a wide range of wines to be produced. All of the above are highly recommended wines with which to get a true taste of Texas.
Honorable Mentions - McPherson Picpoul Blanc and Messina Hof Texas Pinot Grigio 2016, these two white wines were no longer available on their winery websites though you may still see them at retail shops and restaurants. Join their email lists to be apprised of the release of the next vintage.