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Rosé All Day with Texas Rosé Wines? Sounds like a plan! And one with tons of options. One of the things the Texas wine industry is known for is the sheer diversity of grapes that are grown. Y’all have heard me say it before – Texas is bigger than France. So it’s no wonder that the state has a wide selection of wine grapes. I mean, just think about all the different types of wines you’ve seen from France. While size is part of the story, the diversity of the grapes grown is also 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 so many grape varieties are grown. That diversity certainly translates to all the different Texas rosé wines we have available to us today.

I mean, is there a better place to enjoy rosé?

Now I did you all a solid (hard work, but someone has to do it) and tasted though multiple Texas rosé wines to see what’s what and to see what the winemakers were trying their hands at. And let me just throw this out there – please expand your wine buying beyond the big box stores. Many winemakers are small and don’t distribute, so you may need to order directly from them or alternatively, visit some of the smaller, local wine shops. I popped into one of my local wine shops, Houston Wine Merchant, and discovered a great selection of Texas rosé wines – one of them an absolute gem! And to my fellow Texans, hop in your car and visit the wineries. I do a regular roundup and there is always something fun going on.

OK, so what did I taste?

Texas Rosé Wines Ode to Southern France

Just in case you weren’t in the know, many varieties grown in southern French regions like the Rhône Valley, Provence, and Languedoc grow quite well in Texas. You don’t have to look far to find the likes of Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and more.

2022 Messina Hof Grenache Dry Rosé, Lahey Vineyards, Texas High Plains (SRP $25)

If you follow me on social you know that I’ve been a little crazy about Grenache of late. So I was so thrilled to see a 100% Grenache rose from Messina Hof! Owned and managed by the Bonarrigo family, Messina Hof planted their first vineyard in 1977 and created the 4th winery in the entire State of Texas. So they are pioneers for sure and a solid part of the foundation of the growing and exciting Texas wine industry. The wine is such a pretty pale salmon in the glass and offers up pink grapefruit, herbs (mint), tart strawberry, maybe some cucumber, and even a little minerality. Not that we want to be other people, but this one gives me Provençal vibes. 

They had me at ‘Grenache.’

2022 Becker Jolie Dry Rosé, Lahey Vineyards, Texas High Plains (SRP $40)

Previously made by saignee, for the 2022 Becker Vineyards Jolie, they opted to use the direct press method to craft this rose. 100% Grenache grapes from Lahey Vineyards, this one shows more of the beautiful red fruits that Grenache is known for. Cheries and strawberries and watermelons, oh my! There’s also some orange cream and juicy peach. I also saw that it won Double Gold and was a Class Champion at the 2024 HLSR Rodeo Uncorked International Wine Competition where I am a judge. I didn’t get to judge any rosé, but kudos to my fellow judges for their awesome blind judging skills. And let me just throw it out there right now, save a couple of these and bring them to Thanksgiving dinner.

2023 Spicewood Vineyards Cinsault Rosé, Farmhouse Vineyards, Texas High Plains (SRP $30)

Ron Yates is one of those infectious personalities that really draws people into Texas wine and is the driving force behind Spicewood Vineyards. I love his passion and belief in the Texas wine industry and what it can be. An experience studying abroad in Spain sealed the deal for Ron when it came to wine. After returning to Texas, going to law school and even starting up a record label, he just couldn’t get the thought of the wine country lifestyle out of his mind. Lucky us! This particular róse is mostly Cinsault with with a small amount of Grenache. Grapefruit, orange zest, loads of salinity, and even some herbaceous notes. A prime example of the versatility of Texas róse.

What are the odds of having two rosé wines that are Cinsault?!

2023 Farmhouse Vineyards Marché Rosé, Texas High Plains (SRP $25) 

Legit some of the state’s grape whisperers, Farmhouse Vineyards grows fruit for around twenty of the state’s wine producers including some of the largest wineries all the way down to tiny, boutique producers. In addition to growing premium wine grapes, the family (eight generations in fact) also farms thousands of acres of multiple crops including cotton, peanuts, black eyed peas, hemp, melons, pumpkins, various grains, and more. The Marché rosé is 100% Cinsaut and gives off a little bit of a Provençal vibe. Candied grapefruit, pomegranate, and wild herb notes all make for a wine that wants to be at the table. Grilled chicken satay seems like a good bet.

2022 Pedernales Cellars Over the Moon Rosé, Texas High Plains (SRP $32) 

Known for their wines featuring Spanish and Rhône varietals (their Tempranillo and Viognier are very much the stars of the show) Pedernales Cellars is all about crafting handcrafted, small-lot wines. The Over the Moon Rosé is so named for the love story of Larry and Jeanine Kuhlken who met while working at NASA on the Apollo 11 mission and eventually started the family vineyard. Made of 45% Cinsault, 29% Grenache, 26% Mourvèdre, it offers up lots of summer watermelon, dried apricot, and delicate floral notes. I’m thinking grilled fish tacos with a mango chutney would be a great pairing.

Lots of Texas rosé wines feature Southern Rhône varietals.

2022 Ab Astris Aurora Rosé, Texas High Plains (SRP $28)

One of the products of John Rivenburgh’s wine incubator program that I wrote about here, Ab Astris was established in 2018 and made a mark on the industry right away winning high praise and accolades for their wines. The Aurora rosé, which is Latin for ‘the dawn’ and has a soft pink color reminiscent of a Texas Hill Country sunset, is comprised of 70% Mourvèdre and 30% Cinsault. This one won gold at the 2023 HLSR Rodeo Uncorked International Wine Competition. And like 2024, none of the wines I judged were rosé wines. Hmph! But congrats to them on a great showing. Bright raspberry and wild strawberries just burst out of the glass accompanied by peach, orange citrus, minerals, and herbs.

A Little of This and a Little of That

OK, I was trying my best to group the wines into themes, but these didn’t fit neatly. But no worries, we’ll just drink a little of the and a little of that.

2023 Bending Branch Tannat Rosé, Tallent Vineyards, Texas Hill Country (SRP $30)

I’ve written about Dr. Bob and his wines (and also his bourbons) on a number of occasions. His winery is known as the “Tannat House of Texas” and he is certainly a champion of this grape variety. So it’s no surprise that he’s found a way to give us a Texas Tannat Rosé. Tannat is known for being dark and robust and that extends to a rosé made with it. This one has a great, aromatic nose on it that invites you in. Given the grape from which it’s made, I wasn’t surprised that this one provides a little bit of tannin and structure. If you’re a red wine drinker that thinks you don’t like rosé, give this one a whirl. Lots of tropical goodness with tangerine, peach, maybe some pineapple, and a little bit of an herbaceous note.

These wines exhibit the wide range of Texas rosé wines.

2022 Frio Canyon Vineyard ‘FCV” Rosé Cuvée, Texas Hill Country (SRP $26)

This wine is the reason you should always visit your small, independent wine shops. I popped into Houston Wine Merchant for something else, but this wine caught my eye. And let’s be real. How many times have I walked out of a wine shop with JUST the thing I went in for? Never! I asked my friend Marcus who works there about it and he spoke quite highly of it. These days, it’s rare for me to encounter a Texas winery that has been around for a while (they planted vines back in 2008!), but that I’ve never heard of. But that’s what Frio Canyon was for me. Better late than never! An interesting blend of Merlot and Ruby Cabernet, I tasted this wine with wine friend Becca of My Vino Rules and we were both amazed. Very pale pink salmon in the glass and full of prominent sweet grapefruit, peach, herbs (thyme maybe?) carried along by great acidity. If I had to peg it as something I’ve had before, I’d say it was the most Provençal of the wines I’ve tasted. After this, I can’t wait to see what else they make!

2021 Ab Astris Apricus Rosé, Texas Hill Country, (SRP $32)

The second wine that I tried from Ab Astris, this one has a little more age on it being that’s its from the 2021 vintage. And it drinks like it with more developed fruit characteristics. Made of 25% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre, 20% Tannat, 20% Petite Sirah, and 10% Montepulciano (seriously a little bit of this and that!), it provides stewed red fruits, rhubarb, herbs, dried rose petals, and even a little graphite. It’s always interesting to see how rosés can take a little age and gain some complexity. Mine usually don’t stick around that long!

The Italian” Texas Rosé Wines

Those that know Duchman Family Winery, know of their commitment to producing Italian varietals. Like the aforementioned southern France varietals, Italian varietals (particularly those from southern Italy) grown quite well in Texas.

Winemaker Dave Reilly crafts rosé using Italian varietals.

2022 Duchman Family Winery Dry Rosé, Texas (SRP $26)

I actually had this wine last year, and I think I enjoyed it even more this year. This rose is made with Dolcetto and Aglianico (Italian beauties) and was aged in only stainless steel. It offers up lots of tropical fruit, fresh apricot, peach, orange cream, and then the strawberry arrives too. So much juicy, fresh fruit with good amounts of acidity. Dangerously easy drinking with a floral essence on the finish. A perfect spring and summer wine but can definitely be enjoyed on a patio or indoors all year round.

Grape Growers BBQ Rosé, Texas (SRP $25)

So this is in “The Italians” section, but I’m not entirely sure what’s in it. It’s made by winemaker Dave Reilly of Duchman Family Winery, so I’m going to assume there’s some percentage of Italian varietals in it. This is my first experience with the BBQ Rosé, but I’ve had both the BBQ Red and BBQ White on previous occasions. For these wines, Reilly’s collaboration with and respect for growers comes through loud and clear in his Grape Growers series of wines, which are handcrafted using the best grapes from his vineyard partners. And as the name implies, these wines pair perfectly with Texas’ famous barbecue. The BBQ White recently won Best of Class for white blends at the 2024 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. And y’all, I swear there may have even been smoke (in the best way possible) on the nose of the rosé. A little more ‘oomph’ and body than the previous wine, it offers up dark cherry and a little orange peel on the finish. And boy does that orange just linger on the palate. I absolutely think this would sing with pork belly burnt ends or some saucy pork ribs.

Texas Rosé Wines go Bubbly!

As a bubblehead (is that a thing?) I love that we are seeing more sparkling wine in Texas. Keep ‘em coming y’all!

Bending Branch Tannat Frizzante Rosé, Texas Hill Country ($25) 

How many times can you say that you’ve had a sparkling Tannat rosé?! Taking their flagship varietal and making it into a rosé was a brilliant move by Bending Branch. To make it into a fresh and vibrant frizzante wine was genius. I absolutely loved the deep hue as well as the nose on this one! As for the taste, it coats the tongue with orange cream a la creamsicle, along with macerated strawberries, guava, peach, and melon. I was thinking this would pair nicely with Asian food. My partner in wine aka Becca aka My Vino Rules said her vote was for grilled peaches with marscapone or various other dessert options. Mr. Corkscrew’s tasting note was “ooh I like this.” Well, that works too.

NV Farmhouse Vineyards Revolution, Texas High Plains ($40)

Another rosé offering from Farmhouse Vineyards (they make several) this one is made from their flagship red grape – Counoise. That Counoise is their signature red tells you a lot about the spirit of the Farmhouse team. They were actually the first to plant this grape in Texas. Incidentally, Malvasia is their signature white and they do beautiful things with it. Lots of complexity and far from a simple quaff, this one provides dried apricot, ruby grapefruit, almond, and saline characteristics. This is a bottle that wants to be paired with food – perhaps a nice shrimp boil with all the fixins or even a good ole fish fry. The Farmhouse team also suggests that this could be included in a cocktail, which I’d have never thought of, but imagine it would provide so many fun options.

Carter Creek Tempranillo Sparkling Rosé, Lahey Vineyards, Texas High Plains (SRP $35)

I was so happy to see the Carter Creek Resort open up in Johnson City a couple of years ago. It was something that was really needed in that part of the Hill Country and I had a great visit there. I’m probably overdue for another visit. The spa is amazing too! Equally amazing is this Tempranillo sparkling rosé. I’m sure I’ve had my share of sparkling roasado from Spain, but I don’t ever remember any being as memorable as this one. Another big winner from the 2024 Rodeo Uncorked International Wine Competition (Reserve Class and Texas Class Champion), this is really a stunner. Yeah, questioning again how these wines don’t end up in my slate of wines to judge. Anywho, this one provides raspberry, a little bing cherry, lemon on the back end, watermelon, and tangerine with lively bubbles on tongue and great acidity. I definitely see why it won gold. This may be my fave wine from them to date!

2022 Messina Hof Sparkling Rosé, Texas 100% Pinot Noir (SRP $35)

Very different from my first Messina Hof rosé, this sparkler is made from 100% Pinot Noir. Another standout from the 2023 Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition (Texas Class Champion), this was so surprisingly dark in the glass, particularly for a Pinot. I’m so curious if/how the Texas growing conditions contributes to the color. OK, science geekery aside, this one offers up so many complex flavors – tart bing cherry, fig preserves, plum, dried herbs, white pepper, and almond. Another one that would pair with a wide variety of cuisines.

A Little Texas Rosé Wine Sweetness in Your Life

2022 Val Verde Winery Rosé, Texas

Texas’ oldest continuously running winery, Val Verde Winery was established in 1883 by Italian immigrant Frank Qualia. Today, the winery is operated by fourth-generation vintner Michael Qualia who continues on the family tradition of winemaking. This wine is a curious blend of Ruby Cabernet and Muscat Canelli that shows nice balance. The honey and candied apricot and peach characteristics of the Muscat Canelli really come through in the glass. It would work well with a nice apple tart or aged cheddar.

Messina Hof and Val Verde provide great Texas rosé wines for sweet wine drinkers.

NV Messina Hof Mama Rosa Rosé, Texas (SRP $15)

The semi-sweet Messina Hof Mama Rosa Rosé is named after Paul V. Bonarrigo’s mother, Rose, and commemorates the strong matriarch of the Bonarrigo family. The family wanted to pay tribute to, and honor the roles that women represent – daughter, mother, grandmother, sister, and wife. I can certainly raise a glass to that. I actually opened this with my own mom, who prefers a sweeter wine. They say the blend is proprietary, so I’m not quite sure what grapes are in it, but it offers up a rich, textural mouthfeel with vibrant red fruits, sweet tangerine, and robust floral notes. The mid-level acid rounds it out nicely so that it doesn’t seem overly sweet.

Well, there you have it – my exploration of Texas rosé wines. I do hope y’all get out there and visit some wineries, put in some online orders, and really experience the versatility of Texas rosé wines. And while we often think of rosé during spring and summer, these wines are worthy of enjoying year-round. There’s rarely a Thanksgiving dinner where we don’t uncork at least one bottle of rosé. Cheers.

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