Friday, December 4, 2015

Texas Tempranillo: Brennan Vineyards

Many in the great state of Texas would consider Tempranillo their signature red grape. Texan winegrowers have done a great job over the past decade or so of finding the right grapes for their various terroirs. Mediterranean and Iberian grape varieties are working well, and Tempranillo seems to be a popular favorite in Lone Star vineyards.

A virtual tasting from Texas Fine Wine, a group of four distinctive wineries committed to making quality wines from Texas appellation vineyards, included Tempranillos from Duchman Family Winery, Brennan Vineyards, Bending Branch Winery and Pedernales Cellars.

The Brennan vineyards in Comanche, Texas were purchased in 1997, while the winery opened for business in 2005. The McCrary House Tasting Room & Gift Shop, is one of the oldest remaining homesteads in Texas - built in 1879 - and is designated a landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. Located right at the meeting point of the Hill Country and Texas High Plains AVAs, it is probably the best thing about Highway 16.

The Brennan Tempranillo Reserve 2013 is made from 78% Tempranillo grapes and 22% Mourvedre. Winemaker Todd Webster made it dark and delightful. The nose shows black fruit, but it has to fight its way past the spiciness of the grape and the oak. Vanilla, tobacco and sage come through ahead of the fruit. The flavors also lean to the savory side, with blackberry cutting through the cedar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Great tannic structure calls for a big rib eye steak.

The Brennan Tempranillo 2013 tries to sneak in without being noticed. The muted nose is a little hard to get, but worth it once you do. Black fruit and coffee lead the blunted aromas. The palate offers more strength - tons more - and blows plenty of fruit-forward blackberry and plum your way. A nice dollop of spice augments the full fruital attack, but not as much as the Reserve shows. There are some manly tannins here, so grill a big steak or two for this wine.

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