If you haven’t experimented with Texas wines yet, then rest assured, they are getting more impressive with each and every vintage.
Take a road trip to visit charming Texas Hill Country wineries in October with a Texas Wine Passport or stay home and sample some of these great finds. Don’t expect the same old Chardonnay, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc routine. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the Texas wines now competing on the national stage.
William Chris Wines
Located in Hye, William Chris Wines proprietors William Blackmon and Chris Brundrett bottled their first vintage in 2008 utilizing Old World winemaking techniques. They still stand by the mantra of producing “100% real Texas wines.” The Malbec Rosé Hye Estate and flagship Mary Ruth white blend are standouts. They also craft Cabernet Sauvignon and interesting dessert wines. Buy it: Whole Foods Market, Twin Liquors and restaurants including Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Vino Vino and more.
Bending Branch Winery
Part of the Texas Fine Wine portfolio, Bending Branch Winery and tasting room near Comfort is owned by winemaker Dr. Robert W. Young. He styles “Next World Wines,” combining the old school art of winemaking with the latest technology. Expect intense French-style wines ranging from the highly acidic Picpoul Blanc to the bold tannins in its Tannat—two must-try choices. Others in his repertoire include Viognier, Mourvedre and Roussanne. Bending Branch won Top Texas Winery from the 2018 Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition and a double gold for the 2014 Tannat in the 2017 Texas Competition. Buy it: Spec’s and restaurants all over Texas including Austin’s Driskill Hotel and Biga on the Banks in San Antonio.
Duchman Family Winery
The stunning limestone Duchman Family Winery and tasting room in Driftwood produces a world-class Italian-inspired lineup. They are all worthy but some favorites include the signature Vermentino, a tongue-tingling white made with grapes grown in the High Plains; Dolcetto, a native red grape of Piedmont, Italy; and the mouthwatering Aglianico, a full bodied, jammy red with nuances of cinnamon and cedar box. Buy it: Spec’s, Total Wine & More. *Throughout October, Texas Wine Month, the winery is offering free shipping on three or more bottles. Yee haw!
This 20-year-old picturesque winery and tasting room located near Fredericksburg is owned by the Becker family from San Antonio. The estate is home to 56 acres of vineyards, lavender fields and several German-style buildings including a homestead log cabin and Lavender Haus “barn.” Of the many impressive varietals, look for the Dry Riesling; Jolie, a full bodied rose; Prairie Cuvee Rhone-style blend (a silver medal at the San Francisco Chronicle competition), and the award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon Texas. The tasting room offers many experiences including tours and wine and food pairings. Buy it: Spec’s, Kroger, Total Wines & More.
Inwood Estates Vineyards
Specializing in boutique red blends, this winery owned by Dan Gatlin has tasting rooms in Fredericksburg and Dallas. Winemaker Spencer Gatlin crafts big, powerful Texas wines. Splurge-worthy choices include the award winning Cornelius Reserve Tempranillo, Mericana Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Tempranillo-Cabernet blend. Inwood also produces two Chardonnays including the Palomino-Chardonnay, which sells out fast. Buy it: Spec’s and through the winery.
Winemaker Todd Webster crafts beautiful French-style white wines at the winery in Comanche, Texas. The aromatic white Rhone blend, Lily, won a double gold at the San Francisco Wine Competition in 2013. Also look for the elegant Viognier; a reserve Roussanne, and a lovely dry rosé of Mourvedre. There are also some fun and affordable red blends (Buffalo Rhome) that are great for party wines. Buy it: Total Wines & More.
Robin Barr Sussman is a full-time freelance food and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America/Greystone, California. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman’s work appears in Texas Monthly, Houston Modern Luxury, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.