“Some may think the only reason to drink a white wine from Texas is because of our hot weather, but that’s not it,” shares Cheramie Law, co-founder of Salt and Pepper Wine. “The diverse Texas terroir supports a dozen white grape varieties, meaning one can go on a wine trip around the world without ever leaving the state!”
Texas is vast— clocking in slightly larger than France in square miles. And like France, its wine regions are diverse: ranging from the dry Texas High Plains with elevations from 3,000-4,000 feet, to the 4,500-8,300 feet, wet and cool Texas Davis Mountains, with everything in between.
The Texas Hill Country, second largest grape growing area in the United States, hosts a wide array of microclimates. The diversity of soil, sun, and sky—what the French call terroir—supports a wide range of grapes in the state.
“We are making some darn good wine in Texas,” exclaims Law. “Our growers, winemakers and industry leaders have put in a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money in figuring out how to make the best wine from all parts of Texas.”
As Texas wines increase in national popularity, attention focuses on the high-quality red wines produced in the state. But, alongside beautiful examples of Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Mourvèdre exist an array of white wines of equal caliber. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2019, twenty-nine percent of the state’s wine production was white wine.
Texas hosts a climate similar to southern Portugal, Spain, southern France, and Italy—many of the grapes cultivated in these areas also thrive in Texas. The past decade has seen a rapid evolution in Texas viticulture. The dozen white varieties being cultivated now barely taps the state’s potential. According to Law, Texas is the “wild west of wine.”
When contemplating the Texas wine industry, think 1970’s California. If you’re not drinking Texas wine, what are you waiting for? While not widely distributed outside the state, each winery ships across the country.
“Anyone experiencing Texas wine for the first time will get a new and fun experience with each bottle of wine that they open,” shares Law.
Here are twelve Texas white wines that are sure to delight:
2019 Bending Branch Winery Estate Picpoul Blanc Lost Pirogue Vineyard ($32): hints of tropical, stone, citrus and melon rest on a bed of minerality, tension between barrel-aged creaminess and fierce acidity create a layered mouth-feel
2018 Bingham Family Vineyards Trebbiano Texas High Plains ($19): crisp orchard fruit, citrus peel, white flowers and bitter almond; refreshing acidity with a clean finish
2019 Brennan Vineyards Reserve Viognier Newburg Vineyard ($27): basket of summer fruit—stone, tropical, orchard, and citrus—mingling with spice and fresh flowers, skin pressing increases texture, smooth with balanced crispness
2019 Cheramie Wine Riesling Texas ($23): delicate notes of tropical fruit, white flowers, and citrus; refreshing and round with a kiss of midpalate sweetness balanced with crisp acidity and a structured finish
2018 Duchman Family Winery Vermentino ($26): a legendary wine that offers loads of citrus, orchard fruit, savory herbs, citrus blossom, bitter almond and crushed stone that follows through to the palate, crisp acidity and elegant texture
2018 Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc Terroir Reflection Escondido Valley ($35): exotic notes of quince, persimmon, Korean melon, saffron, lemon verbena, and Chinese 5-spice, barrel aging results in a rich texture on the palate, leaning more toward Savennières in style
Farmhouse Vineyard Housewife Texas High Plains ($20): don’t let the name fool you, this 100% Malvasia Bianca brings home the bacon and fries it in a pan, she entices with jasmine, Asian pear, quince, and Korean melon, sealing the deal with a kiss of mid-palate sweetness wrapped in refreshing acidity, only those who want to be her don’t like her, the rest adore her and you will too
2018 Pedernales Reserve Viognier Texas High Plains ($40): this is an excellent example of a grape that grows well in Texas, fresh flowers, ripe stone fruit, citrus zest, with warm baking spice, rich and elegant
2019 Reddy Vineyards VMR White Blend Texas High Plains ($25): a blend illustrating Texas’s Mediterranean climate—35% Roussanne, 33% Marsanne and 32% Viognier—delivery vibrant notes of summer stone and orchard fruit, fresh picked flowers, citrus zest, and warm spice, stainless steel fermentation results in a crisp yet layered mouthfeel
2019 Southold Farm + Cellar Sing Sweet Things Albariño Texas Hill Country ($30): there are typically two styles of Albariño, this plays to the fuller, more textural style, prominent lime zest and juice mingling with additional citrus, salinity, and green almond notes, depth and texture due to skin-contact, unique and refreshing, good aging potential.
2019 Spicewood Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Texas Hill Country Estate ($20): classic notes of stone, tropical, and citrus fruit, white flowers, fresh herbs, lean and crisp on the palate, refreshing
2019 William Chris Vineyards Mary Ruth Texas ($28): a blend of 47% Malvasia Bianca, 35% Blanc du Bois, 18% Moscato Giallo, lively aromas include a basket of fresh picked spring flowers, ripe stone and tropical fruit, lemon zest, and trailing fresh herbs; refreshing and crisp with a kiss of midpalate sweetness and a clean, acid-driven finish
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