This week on our “Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on reVolver Podcasts we toasted Texas wines, and wines with a Texas connection, in celebration of Texas Wine Month. Gary will have more on the great films made in Texas, but first, a few of the key wines we discussed.
To listen to the show, just click here and select “episode 17,” or listen through iTunes, Spotify or Google Play Music. Cheers!
Texans Dr. Clay and Brenda Cockerell bought their Coquerel Family Wine estate vineyard in Calistoga, in far northern Napa Valley, with the goal to make premium quality, Bordeaux style Sauvignon Blanc, reminiscent of the steely, fresh, citrus and mineral filled whites they have had while traveling in France. Taking on the French spelling of their family name, and with the help of Bordeaux born and raised, now living in Napa Valley, Winemaker Christine Barbe, they have successfully created two very different Sauvignon Blanc wines from their stellar estate fruit, their Le Petit Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc is a completely stainless steel fermented and aged wine that is fresh and bright with great acidity and balance. Their Terroir Coquerel Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite, is fermented in 50% new oak barrels and then aged on the lees (the yeasts) for an additional six months adding depth and texture, without overpowering the wine. Subtle notes of honeysuckle and spice enhance this vibrant citrus and lychee fruit filled wine.
A romance blossomed in the old epicurean department of Neiman Marcus Northpark in Dallas over Grand Cru and Camembert between Ennis, TX raised Dianna Novy and Austin native, Adam Lee. A mutual love of wine and food led to a dream of making the best wine in the best place, for them that meant California. Over 21 years ago they founded Siduri Winery, focused on making single vineyard, premium quality Pinot Noir, and shortly thereafter with Novy Family Wines from vineyards throughout California, partnering with Dianna’s parents. Since moving to Sonoma with a mere $24,000 and zero experience making wine, but a whole lot of passion, the duo has successfully produced high quality, highly rated wines from some of the finest growers throughout California and Oregon. Their wines show finesse and style, and always great taste. Last year the couple sold their Siduri Winery to Jackson Family Wines, with the family owned company agreeing to keep the duo on as Winemakers for a period of time. We love them both and are thrilled for their incredible accomplishment and new adventure.
When I first met Jeremy Nickel, SMU Grad and the son of Far Niente founder Gil Nickel, that sadly passed away not long ago from melanoma, I didn’t know what to expect. Happily, the young, passionate owner of The Vineyard House Wines, named after the home his father left him at the back of the Far Niente property in Napa Valley, proved to be one of the most genuine, earnest and dedicated individuals I have met in wine country. And, his Oakville Cabernet is some of the finest juice available in Napa Valley. Tiny production, available through allocation, but worth it to find a bottle as each year since their start in the mid-2000s the wines consistently receive incredible ratings and stellar reviews.
One of Napa’s newest AVAs, Coobsville, recently received an incredible new tenant. Italics Winery, owned by Texas based citrus farmer, Mike Martin, with Winemaker/Partner Steve Reynolds and Managing Partner Andy Wilcox. Born out of an existing brand led by Reynolds, which began over a decade ago and known as Thirteen, blending fruit from vineyards in each of the then 13 sub-appellations of Napa Valley. Now, Sixteen with the release of the 2012 vintage notes the 16 different AVAs of Napa, with the newest addition being Coobsville. The Italics philosophy shows that the best wines are a revelation of place. The wines are bold, slightly rugged, yet refined. Small production, premium quality, showcasing Bordeaux varieties, Reynolds and team are determined to get the most out of the fruit as possible, from their sustainably farmed estate.
From Texas, we have so many great Texas wines emerging from our state. I have long been a fan of the wines of Duchman Family Winery in Driftwood, TX creates lively, earthy, balanced wines from varieties like Viognier, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Montepulciano, and more. Their Aglianico, an uncommon Italian variety continues to win high praise and awards for Duchman, along with their stellar Vermentino, the native Italian variety that is one of the best I have tasted, (better than many of the Italian versions.)
From the Texas Hill Country, from Susan and Ed Auler who started their Fall Creek Vineyards and Winery outside of Austin over 40 years ago with the goal to make great Bordeaux style wines from Texas fruit. Today, they produce high quality wines including everything from a refreshing, clean and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc, filled with juicy citrus, green apple and a touch of white flower. To hearty, robust Rhone blends, elegant Spanish Tempranillo and a classic, fruit forward Cabernet based red blend like those of the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
One of my favorite individuals in the Texas wine industry is the charming, funny and passionate Kim McPherson, who is also dedicated to making high quality wine in Texas for McPherson Cellars, and honoring his father, Doc McPherson. To this day Doc McPherson is considered to be one of our state’s finest vintners in its history. He was a true pioneer and considered to be the founder of the modern Texas wine industry, planting the first Sangiovese vines in Texas soils. Though the variety continues to be a favorite of the winery, I am a huge fan of their elegant, aromatic, beautifully textured McPherson Cellars Roussanne. The white Rhone variety, often only used for blending, shines thanks to the iron rich soils of the Texas High Plains, allowing mineral rich, herbaceous, crushed stone notes to meld with juicy, lemon drop, herbal tea and honeysuckle.
*A few notes included in this post were originally a part of posts I wrote on the D Magazine/SideDish blog.