Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lenoir and the Georgetown Winery

I recently visited the Georgetown Winery, which is north of Austin on the San Gabriel Wine Trail.  It has a quaint storefront on the beautiful downtown square in Georgetown, Texas, and it's a comfortable place to stop and taste.  

The most interesting wine I tasted there was Lenoir.  Lenoir is a grape, also known as Black Spanish or Jaquez, which is native to the U.S. and grows well in Texas due to its natural resistance to phylloxera and Pierce's disease.  It is a hybrid of two other grapes - one from the species Vitis aestivalis and one from Vitis vinifera (the species of most international wine grapes).  Many Texas wineries produce wine from Lenoir, to varying degrees of success.

I enjoyed Georgetown Winery's take on Lenoir.  The wine has a medium ruby color, with aromas of blackberry, cranberry, spice, herbs, earth, and vanilla.  It's initially fruity on the palate, but then develops a slightly tart, bitter edge, which balances the fruit.  It reminded me of the vegetal/green pepper notes that Cabernet Sauvignon sometimes has.  This Lenoir has moderate tannin and moderate-to-high acid.

Georgetown sources over 65% of its grapes from Texas and about 35% from other places, primarily California.  Here are my notes on the other wines I tasted.  (When I make tasting notes, I use a 4-star scale for how much I liked the wine.)  
  • Tempranillo – Dry red with full body, aromas of red and black fruits, spice, potting soil, and vanilla. (***1/2)
  • Cowboy Red – Dry red with full body, aromas of red and black fruits, blended from 75% Malbec (from California) and 25% Tempranillo. (***1/2)
  • Super Big Texan – Dry red with aromas of blackberry, cranberry, and vanilla.  Tart on the palate, with moderate-to-high acid, moderate tannin, and high alcohol.  Blended from 70% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot. (***)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon – Dry red with full body, aromas of black currant, black pepper, tobacco, and cloves.  Blended from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Shiraz. (***)
  • Portejas – A sweet red Port-style wine, fortified with brandy, and made from Red Zinfandel grapes.  It's very strong at 21% alcohol, but fruity and smooth. (***)
  • Chocolate Cherry Port – In the style of a ruby Port with chocolate flavoring added. (***)
  • Texas Twister – A dry white that tasted mostly like apple juice with some vegetal characteristics and moderate-to-high acid. (**)
Georgetown Winery makes more wines than I tasted.  Here's the full list with prices.  Locally, I believe we can only buy the blueberry and peach wines.  But Georgetown makes an easy day trip from Houston, so I encourage you to visit and taste for yourself.  Also keep your eyes peeled for Lenoir/Black Spanish from other Texas wineries.  It's an interesting grape with a lot of potential.

2 comments:

  1. I never tasted Lenior, but have heard about it. As i am from Australia so my domain is little bit bounded. So you are also reviewing it as good?
    Online Wine Australia

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    1. I'm not aware of Lenoir being grown anywhere else but Texas, so I don't think it would be available in Australia.

      I do like Australian wine also! I haven't written about Australian wines much yet, but one of my favorite, inexpensive Rieslings comes from there: http://clearlakewinetasting.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-irf-sweetness-scale-cheap-dry.html

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