Last year, when I visited Chile, every wine list was filled entirely with Chilean wines, except for a stray French sparkler or two. A couple of months ago, I visited South Africa where the wine lists were all local, again with the exception of one or two Champagnes. In Portugal, Spain, Germany, Cyprus, and Greece, it was the same way.
Yet in Texas, the few Texas-only wine lists I know of are at brewpubs. Why are we so different from the rest of the world?
Gretchen Neuman of Vino Verve has taken up the issue in her blog (click here). She calls herself a “locapour,” the wine version of the locavore who tries to eat only locally grown food.
As she writes: “Unknown to most people in America, there is a licensed winery in every state in the union. Yet, even the Governor of Kansas in 2007 was unaware that there were 15 wineries in her state. Among those that are aware of the presence of these wineries, many have dismissed them out of hand as producing low quality products. Are they all producing outstanding products? Maybe not. But then again, neither are the wineries in the rest of the country, or indeed the world. Yet local wineries do not seem to enjoy the same kind of encouragement that local breweries have enjoyed for the last 20 years.”
I have enjoyed a number of Texas wines in recent months that are perfect for our climate and our cuisine. McPherson Cellars’ crisp, clean viognier is the perfect antidote to the sweltering heat we have been experiencing. Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé is made for an afternoon picnic or barbecue. And Llano Estacado’s Signature Mélange, a Rhone-style blend, is a light-bodied yet full-flavored red that won’t seem too heavy this summer.
But I haven’t seen these wines on too many wine lists, even though the viognier copped a gold medal in this year’s San Antonio Wine Festival, and the retail price on the Llano Estacado is a steal at a scant $10 a bottle.
What do you think of this situation? Do you want to see more Texas-only wine lists? Or do you prefer something more diversified? What Texas wines have you enjoyed lately? Post your answers here.