Texas wine is gaining respect
I received a phone call last month: “I’m writing a book and need to know if people still call Texas wine Chateau Bubba?”
“Hardly,” I was happy to say.
The quality of Texas wine has never been better, and more wine drinkers than ever know this. A Texas wine Twitter event in January was such a success that TxWine was the Twitter’s most popular hashtag that evening — not an easy feat on a social media network where the Kardashians are the top attraction. And how about a Texas wine stunning the food types at a barbecue cookoff in the Pacific Northwest earlier this year, besting wines from California, Washington, and France?
But that’s far from the only good news. The 2012 grape crop was the second outstanding harvest in three years, perhaps the first time that has happened in Texas wine history. Yes, the state still doesn’t produce enough grapes, and the Legislature still regards Texas wine as something akin to the bearded lady in a carnival sideshow, but the industry has overcome those handicaps with style. Today, Texas wine not only tastes good, but tastes like it’s supposed to taste.
All of which means it’s time to try the state’s wine. The following are available from their respective wineries if you can’t find them at your local retailer:
• Kiepersol Estates Stainless Syrah 2010 ($26). Yes, it’s pricey, but worth the expense. Kiepersol, somehow, can turn out top wines from its vineyards in East Texas — not an easy thing to do.
• Becker Vineyards Claret 2010 ($12). Skeptics always complain that Texas wine is too expensive. That’s where this red blend comes in, which is often for sale in grocery stores for as little as $10.
• McPherson Cellars Tre Colore 2010 ($12). A simple red blend that is greater than the sum of its parts. My pal Dave McIntyre, the wine columnist at the Washington Post, drinks this at home and pays for it.
Jeff Siegel writes about wine and neighborhood dining news every Friday
Ask the wine guy
Q: How many wineries does Texas have?
A: Almost 250 — about four times as many as 10 years ago.
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With your wine: Roasted peppers
This is one of those things that is expensive to buy and seemingly too difficult to make at home — the province of big name chefs. In fact, it’s amazingly easy, and the peppers can be used in pasta, sandwiches or pizza. Serve with the Texas wine of your choice.
4 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut in 1/2 lengthwise
2 Tbsp olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
2. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil on a baking sheet and place the peppers, cut side up, on the oil. Turn the peppers over, season them with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Place the warm peppers in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool for at least 30 minutes, and then peel the skin off.
Takes 50 minutes