Bending Branch Winery’s Tannat grapes, a dark, inky variety from Southwest France and Uruguay, make for innovative wines with rich fruit concentration and grippy tannin. 2012 Estate Tannat, CM, $60.
Val Verde Winery, founded in this sleepy border city in 1883, is the state’s oldest continuously running winery and has been operated by four generations of Qualias. Don Luis Tawny Port, $40.
Haak Vineyards & Winery, which has been flourishing in Galveston County for more than thirty years, consistently makes a Madeira on par with some of the best from its titular source in Portugal. 2013 Madeira Blanc du Bois, $39.95.
Mesa Vineyards spans more than five hundred acres (making it the state’s largest vineyard) and produces 600,000 cases of wine under labels ranging from Ste. Genevieve to Peregrine Hill to its very own Mesa Vineyards, which you can taste at the historic Grey Mule Saloon. 2013 Mesa Vineyards Chenin Blanc, $12.
Kiepersol Estates Winery is known for the linear character of its “stainless” Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Syrahs, which are aged in stainless-steel tanks rather than in oak barrels, a practice virtually unheard of for such aggressive grapes. 2012 Stainless Cabernet Sauvignon, $23.