Back before Thanksgiving, the four wineries of Texas Fine Wine invited everyone to pick up a Texas wine for Tempranillo Day. They invited me, too, and this wine was provided for that purpose.
Bending Branch Tempranillo 2011
In the small Texas town of Comfort, there is a boutique winery where about 20 acres of grape vines are sustainably and organically farmed. Comfort is along Interstate 10, between the rustic, laid back, hick chic of Kerrville and the Latino-flavored urban sprawl of San Antonio. The town sprang up in the mid-1850s, a product of the influx of German immigrants into the central part of Texas.
Bending Branch Winery makes wine from some pretty interesting grapes: regulars like Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah are joined by more obscure grapes like Picpoul Blanc, Souzao, Vermentino and Tannat. Winemaker Robert W. Young says Tannat is actually their signature grape, calling it a "true champion of the terroir unique to Texas." There is, of course, some Texas Tempranillo growing near those live oak trees on the estate which provided the inspiration for the winery's name.
This Texas Tempranillo has a medium dark tint, looking pretty and friendly in the glass. Sniffing it provides access to a ten-gallon hatful of aromas like blackberry jam and oak spice. Clove, vanilla, black pepper and sage come forward brazenly. On the palate, it’s nice and dry, with dark fruit and a savory streak a mile wide. There are notes of coffee, earth and dust that lead to a really nice, dry finish - a finish that leaves a bit of the Texas plains in my mouth.
A Twitter user - @JDewps - jumped into the Tempranillo Day virtual tasting event to say that "It's got a beautiful smokiness as well. Love comparing their 2010 and 2011 vintages. Great winemaking!" I tend to agree.