Deep garnet color; plum, earth, red fruit, spice on the nose; red currant tang, sour cherry, red and black cherry, black pepper, brown sugar on the palate.
Dry, medium-full body; firm but well-structured tannins balanced by lively acidity; 14.8% alcohol. Rustic, assertive, well suited to pair with chili, wild game, beef stew—a wine for Texas chuckwagon fare. Fascinating, medium-long finish that delivers interesting complexity with flourish of the sour-tart fruits playing with hints of sweetness. Superb layers of interesting flavors. Decanting brings out more subtleness and deliciousness.
Aglianico is a black fruit from southern Italy; Duchman believes it will be a Texas winner, and this effort fully supports that belief. The vine likely originated in Greece and is among grapes with wine history dating back thousands of years. Pliny the Elder, maker of some of ancient Rome’s most celebrated wines, commented on and praised the grape. The grape was called “Ellencio” (Italian word for “Greek”) until the 15th century, when it began to be called Aglianico. It thrives in sunny climates, which is why it now is rising star in Texas and Australia.
Duchman Family Winery is the dream of Drs. Stan and Lisa Duchman, who set forth to make world class varietal wines in Texas based on Old World grapes. Stan is an interventional cardiologist, Lisa a doctor of optometry. Dave Reilly is the winemaker. According to the winery website, Reilly strives “to make wines that are true to their varietal character using the highest quality grapes grown in Texas.”
As do many Texas wineries, Duchman derives income off both its wines and its winery as a venue and tourist attraction. Duchman is one of the top wine destinations in Texas. HGTV ranked Duchman as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country (country, not just Texas). As amazing as it may seem to some, the Texas Hill Country AVA is the second-most visited wine region in the nation, trailing only Napa. Duchman is located near Driftwood, Texas (southwest of Austin, north of San Marcos, northeast of San Antonio). Driftwood has a post office, a Baptist church, and a wedding venue and party place (Stonehouse Villa), so if you blink while driving, you likely will miss it.
Duchman Family Winery Aglianico Oswald Vineyards 2012 is another demonstration of the skill, sophistication, and viticultural insight of the Duchman effort in Texas. This is serious wine, seriously good, correctly held back to allow it to mature in bottle and aglianico’s signature tannins to mellow. This is not wine for you if you are put off by tannin, acidity, and complexity. If, however, you embrace complex wines with rich depth and surprisingly unexpected twists and turns of taste, this is wine you need to find and try. Bravo. $17-30