Sommeliers Choose Their Favorite Texas Wines (So the TDA Doesn't Have To)

Categories: Texas Tipples

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The Texas Department of Agriculture is compelled to promote all the permitted wineries in Texas, a mandate that doesn't resolve the thorny issue of how to address varying degrees of quality within the industry.

But a recent event proposed by industry members has allowed the department to discern without discriminating: At the Texas Sommelier Tasting, held last month in Austin, nearly a dozen sommeliers blind tasted about 100 submissions (only wines made from Texas-grown grapes were eligible) and selected "their favorites that best represent Texas and its terroir." The TDA will now pour their choices at promotions designed to showcase Texas wines.

"We've gone through different scenarios, trying to find something fair and balanced," says Robert Campbell, state coordinator of the TDA's Wine Marketing Program. "I think it worked out really well."

The tasting isn't structured as a competition; the sommeliers didn't bestow any awards or judge one varietal against another. But Campbell says many of the smaller wineries benefited from having their wines served to influential sommeliers. Drew Hendricks, wine director for Pappas Bros., was so impressed with a wine from Sandstone Cellars in the tiny Hill Country town of Mason that he decided to put the bottle on his steakhouse's list.

"To have their wines picked up in a great restaurant is really exciting," Campbell says.

The list of favorites is fairly lengthy; nearly 50 wines, representing 16 different varietals, made the cut.

"It shows what can be done with various varietals," Campbell says. "These wines came from all corners of the state. It's a good reflection of what's being done here."

To keep the list current, another Texas Sommelier Tasting will be staged in about six months.

Follow City of Ate on Twitter: @cityofate.


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2 comments
VIntageTexas
VIntageTexas

The last guy is over the top. Sounds like on something other than wine.

I have a different issue with your blog. You say:

"The Texas Department of Agriculture is compelled to promote all the permitted wineries in Texas, a mandate that doesn't resolve the thorny issue of how to address varying degrees of quality within the industry.

But a recent event proposed by industry members has allowed the department to discern without discriminating."

My question is....Do you really want government employees or their elected bosses telling you what is a quality wine. This is something that is best left up to the wine educated, like the Sommeliers and so called wine experts that we have in Texas and those that we can borrow from out of state (like Oz Clarke) to do the evaluations.

The more formal process of an ongoing wine quality program in Texas is just about to take root. Next week at the annual convention of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association in San Marcos, I will moderate a panel titled: "Winery and Grower Relations: United for Wine Quality". It will have representation by some of the states best growers, interested wineries and experts from our viticulture and enology extension service. The topics to be discussed include "inward facing issues" on how these parties need to work together to progressively enhance Texas wine quality and "outward facing issues" on how the Texas wine industry demonstrates quality and identifies Texas wines of merit.

I welcome you to attend and learn a bit about what is actually taking place in a forum where it needs to be handled: not in the government offices in Austin. If you re interested, please check out the meeting agenda on the TWGGA website at:

http://www.txwines.org/confere...

Russ Kanehttp://vintagetexas.com/blog

Cpt. Janks
Cpt. Janks

It's become increasingly obvious you know little about food and even less about wine. Please stop embarrasing yourself.

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