McPherson Grenache-Mourvedre 2005

I’m currently on a business trip to San Angelo, Texas, which is a relatively small city of about 80,000 people pretty much in the middle of nowhere, about four hours’ drive due west of President Bush’s ranch.Although there’s an airport here with daily flights to Dallas, it was far less expensive to fly into Austin, the state capital, and drive. More importantly, the Texas Hill Country AVA is about an hour and a half west of Austin, so I thought it’d be a kick to see what’s going on in Texas wine country.I did stop at one winery, which I won’t name here: it opened relatively recently, with a very good looking tasting room with a tasteful selection or merchandise, plenty of parking, and a very friendly tasting room employee who informed me that Texas was now the #2 wine producing state in the nation. (Trust me, it’s not. Washington and Oregon dwarf Texas’s wine production by far.) Tellingly, their whites were generally made from California grapes (where, I have no idea; neither did their employee), but they did have a couple of Texas red wines. The best of the bunch was a thoroughly humdrum Bordeaux blend that approaches Rawson’s Retreat quality levels, but at the amazing price of $55.That’s right. Fifty-five bucks. I think I now know what Enron executives were doing with their money!Anyhow, enough about “the #2 Wine Destination in America” (according to the tourist brochure put out by the local vintners’ co-op marketing board).Tonight, I went out and found a lovely wine shop here called In Vino Veritas. The staff were very friendly, even if they couldn’t pronounce “mourvèdre”; the place looked like a great place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine with friends, even if the owner’s humongous dog was stinking up the place and eating off of a plate of tiny cheese cubes. I don’t mean to sound rude by pointing these things out; I’m just noting that it was, ahem, a bit different than your typical snooty West Coast wine shop. They went so far as to uncork my bottle for me (no corkscrew in my hotel room!) and recork it with a Turley cork (sexy!), and now I’m enjoying it out of Hampton Inn’s finest plastic stemware.On pouring the wine, it seemed to me that the color was a bit wan; to me, this is either indicative of a marginal climate (unlikely; this appears to be from Lubbock, which is up towards Oklahoma*) or a winemaker who’s trying hard to emulate the French classics and not produce a total hedonistic fruit bomb (e.g. a Turley).The aroma of the wine is decidedly pretty, smelling very soft and sweet with a deliciously floral perfume of warm red raspberries; I don’t really smell much of the typical mataro gaminess here. There’s also just a hint of what’s probably volatile acidity; it’s almost a nail polish remover note, but it’s so subtle that I really don’t think it’s a flaw in any way; it just adds to the charm of this stuff. In the mouth, this is indeed a little bit thin compared to the stuff I’m used to from California, but the flavors are very fine indeed, with a soft, smoky undercurrent to subdued brambly fruit. There seems to me to be a hint of tobacco sheds and spice box here; there is definitely just a bit of classic Shiraz pepperiness and it’s well integrated with the fruit.All in all, this wine is A-OK by me. I’m not sure there’s anything here that tastes different enough to make me think West Texas is the next Marlborough or Mendoza, but this is a very well crafted, well-judged wine that would be ideal to drink with a first rate Texas steak. Based on this wine alone, I’d love to try more of Kim McPherson’s wines.* Not actually true (I had to check the map); Lubbock is just south of the southern border of Oklahoma. My apologies.McPherson Cellars
Price: $15
Closure: Cork

3 thoughts on “McPherson Grenache-Mourvedre 2005

  1. When you are next “in between” San Angelo and Austin, come by Sandstone Cellars Winery on the square in Mason, Texas. I’d like to pour you a sip of a Mourvedre based blend made with local fruit. We are sold out, but I’d be happy to open a bottle from the Library.

    Check out Russ Kane’s blog that follows Texas wines.

    Sandstone Cellars Winery
    211 San Antonio Street
    Mason, Texas 76856

    (325) 347-9463

    Thursday – Saturday 11 am to 9 pm
    Sunday 11 am to 2 pm


    Sandstone Cellars Winery

  2. Texas wine, now there’s something I’ve never seen available locally (in Australia) and, to be honest, any reputation it does have in the USA doesn’t appear to have travelled very far (or am I simply ignorant?). The bottle you tasted sounds quite lovely. What sort of climate does this AVA have in general?

  3. Texas wineries retail 95% of their wines in Texas. Not much gets outside the state. Texas is the fifth largest winemaking state, behind California, Washington State, Oregon, and New York. The economic impact of the wine industry in Texas is $1.3 Billion (US). In comparison, the economic impact of the Washington State’s wine industry on Washington is about 3 Billion (US). We are quite a ways behind you guys in Australia.

    For a description of Texas terroirs, you can visit Russ Kane’s blog, and search for the Texas High Plains AVA for the McPherson wine. For my area, search Mason County.



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