Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wine Country Texas: Brennan Vineyards

Brennan Vineyards is located between the Central Texas Hill Country and the high plains of West Texas, the two most acclaimed winegrowing regions in the Lone Star State.  The town of Comanche is home to the winery, on Texas Highway 16, southwest of Fort Worth.  The Brennan tasting room is situated in the historic McCrary House, one of the oldest remaining homesteads in Texas.  It’s an official landmark and is so designated by the Texas Historical Commission.

Their two main vineyards produce a diverse selection of grape varieties: Cabernet and Syrah in Comanche Vineyard and Viognier and Nero d'Avola on the Newburg vines.

Brennan’s Lily 2011 is a white blend of 53% Roussanne, 25% Viognier and 22% Grenache.  That’s Grenache, not Grenache Blanc.  More on that in a bit.  The grapes come from the Bingham and  Reddy Vineyards in Texas’ High Plains AVA.  Alcohol is a very restrained 13.2% and the bottle retails for a similarly restrained $17.50.  I received a sample for the purpose of this article.  619 cases were produced.  The unoaked white has won gold and silver medals in a handful of wine competitions.

Winemaker Todd Webster puts his signature on the bottle and he also advises on the label that we all "Enjoy With Care."

Webster also commented by email on the Grenache issue.  “We planned on using it in our red Rhone blend,” he says, “but the color was so weak we decided to press it right away and use it in our white Rhone. It worked out great.”

Talk about unusual vineyard practices.  Webster continues, “We contemplated harvesting [the Grenache] twice this year.  Early for the white Rhone and late for the red Rhone.  But a freeze on May 4th took that possibility away.  No 2013 Grenache grapes.”

Color is something that is often lacking in a white wine, but not this one.  It's a beautiful yellow-gold in the glass.  The nose reveals honey, apricots, flowers and spice.  That spiciness - and the rich color - led me to expect some oak treatment, but Webster says there is none.  Also, since the wine is over half Roussanne, I expected a more savory or nutty aspect to the palate.  It's there, but it sits in the row behind the gorgeous apricot fruit flavor and a floral note.  Lemon peel and green apples come in late and stay for the finish, which is lengthy.  The acidity won't rip your teeth out, but there is certainly plenty of freshness there.  I'd like Lily with lobster.

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