You’ve heard me say it before – Texas is bigger than France. So it’s no wonder that it has a wide diversity of wine grapes grown throughout the state. Just think about all the different wines you’ve seen in France. The difference is, France has been doing it for centuries while Texas is still in its discovery phase.
The sheer diversity of the grapes grown in the state is attributed to the numerous microclimates throughout the state. “The beautiful thing about Texas is not what specific variety we can make, but the diversity of the varieties that we can make” says consultant, winemaker, grape grower, and owner of Kerrville Hills Winery John Rivenburgh. “You can drive an hour in a circle in the Hill Country and find nine different geological types and makeups in the ground.” With its varied terrain – mountains, oceans, coastal plains, high dessert, and more – it’s no surprise that the are varied microclimates throughout the state. That diversity translates to multiple iterations of Texas rosé wines.
I recently had the pleasure of tasting through several Texas rosé wines. I drank through some current releases as well as a few others I had laying around. While I do look forward to the new rosé releases each year, I don’t hesitate to drink some from the last couple of years. While most aren’t the best contenders for aging (save for Tavel), it’s totally fine to drink rosé from the last couple of vintages and still have them offer the freshness we love in rosé.
2021 William Chris Rosé, Texas High Plains
Grapes: Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, and Sangiovese
Where: Kroger, HEB
The 411: I love that these guy are so cerebral and always looking to experiment and up the ante. And what a fun combo of classic Provençal varietals along with a touch of Rhone and Italian. This one come offers fruity and savory notes. Orange cream and watermelon play well with white pepper and herbs. Its characteristics make it quite a versatile wine that can go with a light vegetable salad, chicken and pepper skewers, and even Texas BBQ. I paired with a tofu vermicelli bowl.
2021 Bending Branch Frizzante Rosé of Tannat, Texas Hill Country
Where: Central Market, Winery
The 411: It’s quite unusual to find Tannat rose, but then we are talking about the ‘Tannat House of Texas’ in Bending Branch Winery. There’s nothing they can’t do with Tannat. Fizz always makes me think of fried food, and that’s the case with even softer bubbles like this Frizzante wine. So why not indulge in a tasty shrimp po-boy or better yet, have it with dessert of strawberry shortcake (my kids love these!). Raspberry, peach, and melon with a mineral undertone means this is just not for quaffing – bring it to the table!
2019 Fall Creek Merlot Rosé, Texas
Grapes: Merlot + small amounts of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon
Where: HEB, Winery
The 411: While you don’t want to age them for several years, don’t be afraid to pop a rosé thats just a couple of years old. They will definitely evolve a bit in the bottle, but should still offer some freshness. I’ve had this one on several occasions (most recently pouring it for folks at a trade event) and its such a solid sipper. Mostly Merlot with small amounts of Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon blended it, it has some weight to it which means it can go with heartier fare.
2021 Texas Heritage Lizzie Rosé, Texas Hill Country
The 411: The first time I tried this wine I assumed it would pair with the roasted vegetables we’d made which had a fresh, yet somewhat smoky quality to them. Boy were we wrong! We ended up really enjoying it with our carrot cake dessert which seems all wrong for a completely dry wine like this. But umm, I’m not going to fight the fact pattern any more and just roll with it. However, I would venture a guess that this would also pair nicely with two of my summer faves – a grilled burger or a hot dog. Notes of raspberry, red cherry, cherry blossoms, and a touch of citrus and melon with mid-level acidity.
2018 Messina Hof Dry Sparkling Rosé, Texas
Grape: Pinot Noir
The 411: I still remember being at Messina Hof in 2016 when they debuted one their new dry sparkling wines and recall being impressed. This is my first time trying their sparkling rosé. Deep watermelon hue and quite fruit forward with wild strawberry, orange, sour cherry and a touch of residual sugar. Y’all, I loved this with BBQ chips! #DontJudgeMe. In that vein, I’m thinking a pulled pork sandwich would be killer with this.
2020 Dandy Rosé, Texas
Grapes: Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache, Carignan
Where: Kroger, Winery
The 411: The 2021 vintage is available at the winery, but I was perfectly fine opting for the 2020 vintage, which I found at Kroger. Comprised of 54% Mourvèdre, 23% Cinsault, 20% Grenache, and 3% Carignan mostly from the Texas High Plains. Sour cherry, herbs, grapefruit, and stone fruit. It also had a touch of funk which I so appreciated. Dandy also makes a tasty sparkling rose that I’ve enjoyed on a couple of occasions. Pair with some grilled chicken fajitas or a cool salmon salad like I did for all sorts of yum.
Of course, I’m just scratching the surface when it comes to Texas rosé wine. Many of the current vintage wines are being released now, so I imagine I’ll have a few more in my glass throughout the summer. Cheers y’all.