WTN: Llano Estacado 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard

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WTN: Llano Estacado 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard

Postby Peter May » Mon Sep 03, 2012 12:27 pm

Llano Estacado ‘Cellar Reserve’ 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard (Texas High Plains AVA)

For obvious reasons I don’t get much opportunity to drink Texan wine and even in Texas much ‘Texan’ wine is grown elsewhere.

But this one is 100% Texan, grown at altitude in the High Plains region in the west of Texas where vinifera can survive.

This was attractively silky with enough of a tannin edge to match well with roast leg of lamb. Very enjoyable.

I’d carried the bottle in my case in the boot of the car across Texas in temperatures that reached 114F / 44C but it showed no sign of damage.

Served this to friends last night and realised the last time I served them an American wine it was also Tempranillo, a beautiful wine from Moon Curser I’d brought back from Okanagen, BC.

Is Tempranillo going to be the next fashionable variety in the America’s?
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Re: WTN: Llano Estacado 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard

Postby Bruce K » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:21 am

Peter May wrote:Is Tempranillo going to be the next fashionable variety in the America’s?

I'm not sure Tempranillo will ever reach "fashionable" status, but some winemakers in North America are doing a good job with it and it appears to grow well in climates (dry, sunny, hot days, cool nights) not dissimilar from those where it grows in Spain. I recently tasted tempranillos from Gramercy and Kerloo (in Walla Walla, WA) that I thought were terrific and I've also had a good one from Seven Hills. I've heard good things about Abacela in southern Oregon. I once had a tempranillo from Mexico (Baja) that was quite good. Didn't know they were growing it in B.C., but given the similarity to Washington, that makes sense. I've never had a California tempranillo, but I'm sure others here have.
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Re: WTN: Llano Estacado 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard

Postby Mark Lipton » Tue Sep 04, 2012 2:15 pm

Interesting note, Peter. Years ago we visited Llano Estacado in Lubbock. The visit was fun if not exactly filled with memorable wines. One snippet of conversation that remains in my memory was their response when I asked about why they'd planted grapes on level ground and not a hillside: "We didn't have to work to get stressed vines. In Texas, those vines are naturally stressed!" :lol:

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Re: WTN: Llano Estacado 2010 Tempranillo Newsom Vineyard

Postby Hoke » Tue Sep 04, 2012 6:27 pm

The next big thing? That's a lot to put on one little grape variety, Peter. :D

There are several decent and moderately impressive tempranillos from the New World these days. Some have been named already. (And Abacela, for my money, is right now the best.) Parts of California, much of southwest Oregon---those are great places for tempranillo. Texas could be, if only because there's a hell of a lot of ground to cover there. Plus Texas has some similarities to the Estremadura-like zones of Spain and Portugal.

[The trouble with Texas---I was there through the 70s and 80s and did more than my share of boosterism---is that they had a major false start in the 70's (they were encouraged by the "experts"--who were clueless and guessing---to plant hybrids and crosses, which sadly the public had zero interest in, had to to re-think and re-tool and shift over and got a good part wrong (shifted to vinifera, but often the wrong varieites in the wrong places or in the wrong sytles), and then had to deal with a sudden influx of external money/authority which was much more interested in the "things are bigger here, boy; let's make us some money", losing an awful lot of the artisanal focus just when artisanal was starting to get a good grip on the market.] But yeah, Texas has the potential, for sure.

The thing about tempranillo is that it isn't an aromatic grape, and therefore works best when it is being "enhanced" in some way---through blending, through wood/age regimens, or even "shudder" through excess ripening and hang time and raisination. Which the Californians are perfecty capable of and willing to do, of course; much of what California is these days is mass bulk manipulators, after all, ready to turn on a dime when a dime can be earned.

Short answer? I'd love to see more people playing with tempranillo, so we could get enough of a range to see which directions would be best. And get your hands on an Abacela. You'll enjoy it.
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