Monday, July 22, 2013

Sparkling Texas: News from William+Chris Vineyards

This past Saturday was quite a whirlwind. Sean and I had our first official tasting at Hye Meadow (post forthcoming), Sean ate lots of chili and chili-like recipes -- thanks to William+Chris, Pedernales, and Hilmy. We relaxed to some fine soul, jazz music at Hilmy, and we ended our day with a great release party at Bending Branch (post forthcoming). One of the greatest bits of news that I came across was word of some upcoming wines at William+Chris.

During our tasting, Sabrina mentioned that the winery was about to make some sparkling wines. This was quite intriguing. The last I had heard, no one was really making sparkling wines in Texas. I had heard that some of the smaller wineries I am less familiar with may have, but nothing really notable. Last year, McPherson had a Texas sparkling that went through its bottling (sparkling process) in California at Kim McPherson's brother's place; this wine was grown and made in Texas but bottled elsewhere. Knowing this and that no one in Texas has quite the right equipment for producing sparkling, I asked Sabrina if she knew how they were planning to do it. She wasn't sure. So, with a bit of purpose, I set out for an answer.

I came across a wine splattered Chris Brundrett. He was currently away from some active fermentation he was doing, so I had a chance to find out how we planned on producing a fully Texas sparkling. Well, he actually told me that there will be two types. The first will be a cuvee style with the help of an outside source. In addition, he plans on making one by hand. This one will be done at McPherson's winery up in Lubbock. Chris estimates it will be four days of drinking beer and hand bottling wine.

The other thing Chris told me about these sparklings is that they will be made from Blanc du Bois. William+Chris has done some great things with this grape, so these two new wines should be real treats. And to make the excitement more palpable, next week will see the harvest of the the grapes.

Hopefully, it won't be long before Texas starts expanding its wine portfolio to include more sparkling wines. I am glad William+Chris is leading this way and that they are using one of Texas' best grapes.

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