Duchman Family Winery Progression NV

Deep garnet color; dark fruits, leather, blackberry on the nose; black fruits, blackberry, sour cherry, cured meat, leather, white pepper, chocolate on the palate.

Duchman Family Winery Progression NV

Dry; earthy, rustic, medium-full body, full flavors; delicious if you enjoy distinctive red wines. Savory tannin balanced by good acidity; decant to smooth things out. Blend of aglianico and montepulciano; 100% Texas grown grapes. Smooth, especially after decanting, long and satisfying finish.

Vanilla and oak notes indicate Duchman chose to tame the tannic, acidic aglianico grapes with some time in oak, although the oak is background music, not an amped-up rock band. Aglianico is one of Italy’s three major red wine grapes; nebbiolo and sangiovese are the others. Each of the three has their champions for being Italy’s premier grape—we get to enjoy the competition.

Aglianico is primarily grown in southern Italy; top-shelf aglianicos must age for 10 years or more to soften aggressive tannin and soaring acidity. Duchman’s possible choice to age in new oak is the technique to make it more accessible sooner while retaining the dense, delicious flavors. The montepulciano also softens the wine. In very rough analogy, this is a Bordeauxesque blend with alianico playing the cabernet sauvignon role and montepulciano the merlot part.

Duchman selects their top grapes to make this and combines juice from different years, thus the non-vintage classification. Aglianico is Duchman’s flagship grape. Their website asserts: “Aglianico is perhaps the wine that most represents the vision of Duchman Family Winery. The grape was not widely known in the States, and pronouncing the name was an issue, but the potential of this grape to produce amazing wines was far more important than its popularity. Taking a gamble on this grape is one of our proudest moments, and the result is one of our greatest wines.” BTW: ah-lyah-nee-koh is one phonetic attempt, while alli-yawn-nico is another.

Drs. Stan and Lisa Duchman, winemaker Dave Reilly

Duchman Family Winery is the dream of Drs. Stan and Lisa Duchman, who set forth to make world class varietal wines with Texas-grown 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.” While the winery is in central Texas, almost all Duchman grapes come from the Texas High Plains AVA around Lubbock, as do most of the Texas grapes in Texas wines. The hot days and cool nights in the Texas Panhandle are great for grapes growing alongside cotton, feed grains, and cattle on the fabled Llano Estacado, the flattest expanse on Earth.

As do many Texas wineries, Duchman derives income from both its wines and 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, a general store, and a wedding venue-party place (Stonehouse Villa), so if you blink while driving, you might miss it.

Duchman Family Winery Progression NV is smooth, powerful, delicious, slightly rustic, intriguing blend of two classic southern Italian grapes grown on the Texas High Plains. The savory tannins make it a natural pair with Texas beef. Pair brisket, smoked pork, barbecue, carne asada, prime rib, beef stew, venison, chili; pecorino, cheddar, monterey jack, provolone cheese; portobello mushroom steaks, baked beans and black beans, roasted cauliflower. $47

Duchman Winery website

Duchman winery
Duchman winery interior
Duchman tasting room
Texas wine AVAs