I’m guilty. Truth be told, I’m guilty to the tenth degree for judging books by their covers. How often do we do this in other areas of our life? People. Cars. At the grocery store. In a wine isle. Flipping through album artwork. It’s never ending. We’re bombarded with marketing at every level of our lives, if you think about it. Brands are constantly trying to breakthrough all the noise so that they can be heard and ultimately, selected. Big companies pay millions for celebrities, focus groups, and Super Bowl commercials trying to get our attention.
Sometimes in this ‘life of digital noise’ it’s super refreshing to stumble upon something that is raw, honest, and simply… just speaks for itself.
Below are a couple selections that have stood out of the pack, regardless of the packaging or where they’re from. This whole exercise has reminded me to keep an open mind, and not be so quick to judge.
Windblown – Red Blend
When we first started showing the Windblown, we didn’t tell anyone where it was from and to “just taste it!”. More than 90% of the time, people were been blown away by its pure enjoyability and quality that it offers. So where is it from? The wine is from Texas. And just like that, jaws drop like it’s hot. And for me, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a pretty negative attitude towards wines from Texas… especially Reds. Why, you ask? I feel like the wine industry in our home state is still trying to figure out what grows well, and what areas are the best. For too long, it’s been all about sweet wines, Fredericksburg (the little Napa Valley of Texas), and drinking wines just because they’re from Texas. The other side of the problem was (and is) wineries importing juice from California and other parts of the world. Dollar for dollar, the wines haven’t compared to the West Coast simply because of the challenges of hot, unpredictable weather. Alongside all that… Texas wineries have thought – that to be successful – they had to sell the big popular varieties: Cab, Merlot, Chardonnay, and yes, even Pinot Noir. The question hasn’t really been asked, “what grows good HERE?” Until now…
Bo Sailling (the winemaker of Windblown) and a small group of other young winemakers are getting gusty enough to throw out what has been the norm, and push the boundaries… literally. Sourcing grapes from the High Plains in Texas (think Amarillo), where the nights are cool and it doesn’t bake like here in Houston, Rhone varietals rule! Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Syrah, and a handful of other warm-loving varieties are leading the way to quality here in Texas. There, I said it. It’s happening, and just like anything else, it has taken bold moves by some brave souls to push against the norm.
“At lost Draw Vineyards the vines struggle and endure the elements, producing a small, concentrated crop with unprecedented character and finesse. Windblown brings together three essential elements, Earth Vine Sky, to bring out the true Texas terroir. This wine is peppery, with profound dark berry fruit, accented by silky tannins and delicate oak nuances. Windblown evokes southern France, but is a true reflection of the Texas High Plains AVA [American Viticulture Area]. 284 cases produced. 13.8% alc.” – evscellars.com