Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oz Clarke Picks a Few Texas Favorites (Me, too)

So, as I mentioned in the last post, Oz and I ended up tasting about 50 wines. At the end of the night, we put our heads together to make some picks. We started to take a picture of a whole selection of wines that would fit the bill, but Oz was concerned that so many were from one winery. So he chose his favorites, and they were: Duchman Vermentino (best of the night), Becker Prairie Rotie, and Dickson Port. I am in complete agreement on these three. The real revelation for me was the Duchman, a bottle that will easily compete with Italian versions.

Several wines came in as close second places. Oz also loved Llano Estacado’s Viviana and both Becker’s Cabernet Franc and rosé called Provencal. There were three others that I loved, Kiepersol’s Semillon, Becker’s sweet Viognier called Clementine, and Haak’s Reserve Blanc de Bois, which is an amazingly vibrant version of the wine, one which hides all of the wine’s weaknesses and reveals all its strengths.

Oz’s feeling at the end was that many of Texas’s wines were playing it safe which was causing them to make perfectly palatable but boring wines. But the wines listed above rocked his evening. Congratulations to all.

We stuck with the best of Texas foods, as well. My wife bought a variety of cheeses and meats from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop in Hyde Park. Be sure to try the Lonzino fennel and juniper flavored Pork from Niederwald and the Trappist style Birdville cheese from Granbury. We also had two splendid grass fed Texas rib-eye steaks from the Meat House in Westlake. No one went hungry.

A note here. One of the best wines of the night was one Oz didn’t get a chance to taste. We had two bottles of Lone Oak’s 2003 Merlot, a good candidate for a history setting wine. We opened the first and it was old and dead. With so many wines in front of us, I just put the other one away. I opened the second bottle a few days later and it was simply spectacular. Two older vintages (2003 and 2002) of Fall Creek’s Meritus were also holding up beautifully. Most of the library wines I opened I didn’t show because they were not age worthy wines to begin with and all were somewhere between unappetizing and ruined. I was especially bummed over two bottles of Becker 1998 Cabernet-Syrah, a wine I might have listed as top five all time Texas wines. Today, it’s brown and dead. Oh well. Don’t save wines forever.

Finally, many of the wines were helpfully chosen and assembled by Russ Kane and Denise Fraser. Thank you both. From this selection, I added wines that I thought had to be potential choices for Texas best, as well as older wines from my library. We may have missed a few of Texas best, but not many.