Signor Vineyards Texas High Plains Cuvée 2016

Medium ruby color; blackberry, cherry, blackcurrant, cedar on the nose; blackberry, sour cherry, fig, blackcurrant, tobacco on the palate.

Signor Vineyards Texas High Plains Cuvée 2016

Dry; dusty tannins, some acidity. Blend of 74% cabernet sauvignon and 26% tempranillo; 13.2% ABV. Solid wine, but not delicious or distinctive. Needs some oak or other ingredient to bring pizzaz to the pour. The Signor family has deep roots in Texas and depth of experience in winemaking in Oregon, so expect them to find their stride, develop relationships with top Texas grape growers, and eventually be a significant force in Texas wine. This effort is a beginning that, likely, will get better.

Signor is one of the newest wineries on the Texas wine road, Hwy 290. Signor’s magnificent tasting center was built as a private home in 1998, designed by noted architect Isaac Maxwell. The Signor family later purchased the property with the goal of creating a winery and tasting room. The venue is spectacularly elegant.

Signor tasting room and vineyard

The Signor family has deep roots in Texas, reaching back to the 1850s. The Signor and Weisinger families were close through generations, starting in the 1950s when Lee F. Signor purchased land north of Houston from Melvin Weisinger. The Weisingers have Texas roots, but their offspring also turned to winemaking and established bona fides in Oregon’s wine country. Texas wine country and Oregon wine country are not that much different—both are in desert/dry regions. In Oregon, the rain forests are on the western side of the Cascades, the wine country in the dry eastern regions where rainfall is even less than in Texas wine regions, including the dry High Plains AVA where the grapes for this effort were grown.

In 2014, Clay Signor approached John Weisinger about dreams to build a vineyard and winery. Today, Clay Signor and Eric Weisinger (John’s son) have come together as friends and winemakers. The website notes: “Three generations of friendship has shown us the value of an extended family. And it’s with this in heart that we invite you to become part of our extended winery family.”

The Weisingers have wineries in Oregon, and many of the Signor offerings now are made with Oregon grapes. All the wine is made by Eric Weisinger in Oregon, even wines using Texas grapes (such as this offering). By all indications, this is a transition situation as Signor’s Texas vineyards mature—it takes three years for a vine to produce wine, more years than that to hit their quality stride. Work on a winery has begun. The goal is to achieve all Texas wines made in Texas in the future.

Signor Vineyards Texas High Plains Cuvée 2016 is workmanlike effort combining cabernet sauvignon and tempranillo—two grapes with very similar flavor profiles. It gets smoother and more approachable with air, so decant to sip it at its best. Will work with food—steaks and usual red meat cabernet sauvignon matchings, where it will find a nice niche. $32

Signor Vineyards website

Entrance to Signor tasting building
Signor outdoor tasting