While it’s not as widely known or recognized as California, Oregon or Washington for its wine production, Texas has a growing wine industry that’s beginning to come into its own. Here are a few wine facts for you: Texas has one of the oldest wine industries – wine grapes were grown here more than a hundred years before they were grown in California. However, Prohibition nearly demolished the Texas wine industry, which only began its comeback in the 1970s.
The Texas Hill Country is an AVA or American Viticultural Area and it’s the second largest in the U.S. with most of the grape varietals originating from France, Italy or Spain. Over a winter weekend with cool but fine weather, we headed out to Fredricksburg, outside of Austin, on a little road trip. Our initial goal was to shop for some antique or rustic furniture, but since the town is surrounded by wineries, we made a little stop off at the Becker Vineyard. Our friend Lori and her husband Michael are wine club members at Becker, and it was time for the monthly selections. Oh, and a little tasting!
Becker has a great location – along with the vineyards there are vast lavender fields, a bed and breakfast, and wedding facility. We tasted our way through several wines, including some quite tasty options. I tried the 2011 Provencal dry rose, which would be perfect on a scalding hot Texas summer day. Our server, Gary, recommended freezing red grapes to use as “ice cubes” in the rose for those scorching days – keeping the wine cool without diluting the flavor. “Then you can eat those drunk little grapes after you finish the wine – yum!” he said.
My husband loved the 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Canada vineyard – named for a family, not the location. This cab was smooth, rich and velvety, and prime for aging. We came home with 3 bottles with the intent of opening one this year, one next, and one the year after. (We’ll see if they last that long!)
I preferred the 2009 Reserve Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from the Newsom Vineyard. It was super rich and sleek, and just kept opening up. My friend Lori liked the 2009 Raven, a premium red that blends petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon grapes. It was chocolatey, with a hint of espresso, and definitely delectable.
Most surprising of all was the 2010 Vintage Port – Becker fortifies their port with grape spirits rather than brandy, so there’s no raisin-y flavor – it’s clear, and clean with blueberry notes, not heavy or cloying.
Becker wines are available at a lot of local Central Texas shops and I have to tell you – while the Texas wine industry is still maturing, this winery definitely presents some tasty options. I’ll be hunting some of these bottles down on my next stop to the store!