Spicewood Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas High Plains 2019

Deep ruby color; cherry, fig, cedar on the nose; black cherry, plum, blackberry, savory/meaty notes, oak, brown sugar, menthol-mint, chocolate on the palate.

Spicewood Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas High Plains 2019

Dry; amiable tannins and balancing acidity. Smooth with some blackcurrant tang on the lavishly long finish. Medium-plus body. Oak peeks in and out of the layers of the tasting experience without striving to dominate the performance. The wine aged 19 months in 45% new French oak, 55% neutral oak. The grapes are sourced from the Texas High Plains, the heart of the Texas wine grape growing with its high altitude—3,000-plus feet, hot days and cool nights. Some 85% of Texas wine grapes are grown in the region roughly between Lubbock and Brownfield. 14.5% ABV

Reviews of this maker and this wine sometimes sometimes include patronizing remarks like “who knew Texas could make wine this good?” Which, if you have had any experience with Texas wine in this century is ridiculous. Texas is a real player in the wine world today, especially after learning that Spanish and southern Italian grape varieties do best in the Lone Star State. Duh. A quick look at maps, climate, and topography of those regions shows the similarities. This is worth a cork pull because it is good wine, not because it is Texas wine.

Spicewood Vineyards owner and president Ron Yates and family

Ron Yates is the owner. Ron has Texas wine roots. He was raised in Kingsland, Texas, down the road from Fall Creek Vineyards in Tow, Texas, owned by cousins Ed and Susan Auler. Ron planed on a career in communications and decided to spend a summer in Spain to touch up his Spanish-speaking skills. He worked on his Spanish, fell in love with wine and the culture of Spanish wine.

Spicewood Vineyards estate vineyard

Returning to Texas, Ron realized the vineyard landscape in Ribera del Duero closely resembled his native Texas Hill Country with its limestone bedrock and hot days. He instinctively knew Spanish tempranillo would do well. And he was right. Although he had earned a law degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio (my alma mater, as a personal aside), in 2007 he approached the original Spicewood Winery owners, Edward and Madeleine Manigold, and convinced them he could be a suitable successor owner of the vineyard and winery. He made good on his word.

Spicewood Vineyards Tempranillo, Texas High Plains 2019 is smooth delight with inviting depth and rich dark cherry and plum flavors. Subtle oak, tannins, and acidity swirl with the fruit to create a roundelay of palate pleasing pleasures. Delicious, fun, impressive accomplishment. All you should expect from Texas wine today if you know what you are talking about. Pair with grilled red meats—ribeye would be especially nice; grilled pork tenderloin, baby back ribs; barbecue; slow-cooked brisket; seafood—blackened red snapper, blackened salmon; lamb. Cheese—brie(with rind), camembert (with rind), aged cheddar, manchego, fresh chèvre. $40-45

Spicewood Vineyards website

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