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.


  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

    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: