Lost Draw G*S*M Texas High Plains 2017

Medium ruby color; blackberry, raspberry, baking spice on the nose; raspberry, red plum, red fruits, black olive, chocolate on the palate.

Lost Draw G*S*M Texas High Plains 2017

Dry; exceptionally smooth with reserved tannins and acidity. Very mild oak influence. Blend of 55% grenache, 30% syrah, 15% mourvèdre; 13.5% ABV. Smoothness and laid-back drinkability dominate the profile. If you are a Châteaimeuf-du-Pape or Gigondas aficionado you likely will long for more structure and depth, but appreciate this for what it is—a very tasty, very easy drinking, ruffle-no-feathers offering. This can be an excellent introduction to red blends for people frightened by red blends.

GSM wines are wonderful in my book. Grenache (garnacha in Spain) is rich and full of flavors, especially strawberry and plum with high alcohol and low tannins. Syrah brings blueberry and more plum, also chip of milk chocolate along with robust body and tannins. Mourvèdre—also known as monastrell—provides smokey body and tannins, along with blackberry and cocoa to augment syrah’s milk chocolate.

Lost Draw’s GSM includes all these elements in very approachable, very relaxed style. While it lacks complexity, it shines with its deliciousness and very easy drinking. I know I have mentioned easy drinker several times in this review, but that is signature of this effort. I challenge anyone who doesn’t cotton to red blends to find fault with this wine.

Lost Draw Cellars is the Texas wine industry in a nutshell. Andy Timmons is a multi-generation farmer on the Texas High Plains—the vast flatlands very roughly between Lubbock and Amarillo and New Mexico. Timmons was a pioneer grape grower, a follow-on to his family career growing cotton and peanuts. Grapes are a high risk, high reward crop. No agricultural product produces more income when everything works. Like almost all agricultural products, there is no reward when things—hail, late frost, tornadoes on the High Plains—go wrong. Timmons rolled the dice and today he owns and manages 500 acres producing 30 varieties, one of the largest wine grape operations in Texas.

Andrew Sides, nephew to Andy Timmons, was an engineering student at Texas Tech University in Lubbock when he helped Uncle Andy plant his first vine crop in 2006 on a five-acre piece of the home place now called Lost Draw Vineyards. The family experimented with what would work on the High Plains—every Texas grape dreamer was doing this; the Old World had a two-plus millennium head start. Texans aren’t dumb, however, and they looked to see what worked in France, Spain, and Italy in climates, soils, and elevations similar to the High Plains and Texas. Southern Rhône and its grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre fit the bill. Mourvèdre in particular seems suited to Texas.

In 2010, Andrew Sides married his college sweetheart, Callie Ottmers. Callie’s father, Troy Ottmers, is a bedrock citizen in Fredericksburg who traces his family roots back to the town’s founding by German settlers in 1846. Ottmer Oil was a Fredericksburg institution from the 1930s into the early 21st century. Its industrial-like setting is sandwiched between a Shell station and a Chevron oil products depot, and across from the backside of the HEB grocery store—Texans will easily understand this triangulation.

This is Texas, and uncle, nephew, and father-in-law saw Ottmer Oil as an ideal place to have a Hill Country AVA winery that produces wines using grapes grown on the Texas High Plains AVA. That is the Texas formula—grow grapes around Lubbock in the eight-million-acre Texas High Plains AVA, then make wine or at least have a tasting room, in the nine-million-acre, high traffic Texas Hill Country AVA between San Antonio and Austin. Hey, it works. The Hill Country AVA is the second-most visited AVA in the United States, second only to over-crowded Napa.

Like many Texas wines, you are not likely to find this at your local wine store. Sales come from their tasting room, 113 E. Park St. in Fredericksburg—well worth a visit. Tell manager Chris Herrera I sent you. They also sell through their wine club and via the internet, although you will have to call them to get this bottle since it is not offered online. Lost Draw can ship to 43 states, so it is worth a shot. Lost Draw also sells two non-vintage blends in grocery stores (mainly HEB): Lost Draw Arroyo Blanco and Lost Draw Arroyo Rojo. As grocery store wines go, these are worth a try.

Lost Draw G*S*M Texas High Plains 2017 is extremely palate-friendly GSM blend that is delicious even if it does not challenge your tasting chops. Very easy drinker. Great gateway sipper to more complex red blends. Extraordinarily smooth. Another exemplar of what Texas wines can achieve. Pair with red meats and game; lamb; squash and zucchini linguine with goat cheese; sir-fried pork with cabbage. Because of its smooth mildness and simple acidity, this will not work as well with very flavorful, highly marbled steaks, but you certainly could enjoy it while swapping stories while such steaks are on the grill. $42

Lost Draw Cellars website

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