Wine Spotlight from New Braunfels Monthly
By: Connor Brown
Now that its officially cold outside, some of us may be feeling lost or even confused with these sub-80 degree temperatures. Sure, most of us are prepared with some warm clothing or access to heat, but one of the most effective ways to stay warm, is drinking red wine. No foolin’! While alcohol in general will dilate blood vessels to increase blood flow and ultimately heat you up, tannic acid and histamines from red wine pack in a few extra degrees, which helps to explain why many Texans share an adversity towards red wine in the summer. So, let’s take a look at a few wines from around the world, and at home that myself and other Gruene locals have been waiting to indulge in all year.
Pinot Noir is one of the most popular varietals in the world, and is known for being difficult to grow outside its key climate. Great U.S. Pinot Noir is often found in the northwest regions of the country, with Oregon, and Washington being some of the most popular areas. A local favorite Pinot Noir that exhibits some of the varietals best characteristics, is the A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon. This wine carries wonderful dark cherry and raspberry notes that are well balanced with light acidity and tannins to make this wine as smooth as velvet from start to finish, making it a perfect easy going companion when trying to ease up on the cold. It’s also neat that Gregg Popovich (Coach of the San Antonio Spurs) is a partner of the winery!
Another favorite for the season is a blend of three popular northern California varietals. The Cleaver Red Blend from Amador County, California boasts a trifecta of red Zinfandel, Petit Sirah, and Syrah. Individually, these varietals have significant flavor differences. On the surface Zinfandel will commonly offer more spicy, tangy, and fruity flavors, Petit Sirah will present more bold fruit notes, weight, and texture, and Syrah will provide structure and dynamic by being well balanced by nature. However, the harmony between these varietals allow The Cleaver to sing lovely notes of dark cherry and vanilla on the nose and palate, while following through with balanced acidity and a nice spicy yet fruity finish. At nearly 15% alcohol, this wine is also very pleasant for being a bit stronger, but is strong enough thaw a frozen Texan.
Last but certainly not least, we’ll revisit a favorite from the Hill Country that has been previously mentioned, but honestly not mentioned enough. Duchman Aglianico of Driftwood, Texas is always a favorite for those visiting and those who call Texas home. Aglianico is quite the uncommon grape that thrives in environments like Texas, and is slowly becoming more popular at vineyards in Texas, and around the world. Duchman does a fine job of balancing the flavors of the notoriously hearty and tannic grape, while maintaining consistency between vintages. This wine greets the palate with bright cherry and red fruit notes while being carried by a subtle minerality before transforming into a zesty, balanced and oaky finish. While this wine is quite dry, it awakens the palate and leaves the drinker in desire for more, until it’s simply not-so-cold anymore.
So, with a whole world of wine available to us, and as we adjust to the cold for a few months, just remember to take advantage of this season in more ways than wine. Be sure to try some of the great wine mentioned above with your favorite winos down the street from the Hall, we always love (wine)ing. Come and Taste It, Y’all!