If you haven’t been drinking Texas wine lately, you’re missing out. A little more than a decade ago, good Texas wine was as scarce as grass around a hog trough. Not anymore. Quick history lesson: Spanish missionaries planted the first vineyards here in the 1600’s, but wine making in Texas didn’t really take root until the mid-seventies. For the first thirty or so years, Texas wineries tried (and often failed) to emulate wine-growing regions whose climate and soil bore no resemblance to our own. Now forward-looking wineries like McPherson Cellars, in Lubbock, Duchman Family Winery, in Driftwood, and Pedernales Cellars, in Stonewall, are placing their bets on better-suited warm-climate varieties such as tempranillo and vermentino. The result is that these days you see more Texas restaurants giving a nod to local wines on their lists, and on any given weekend, the Hill Country wine trails are humming with tour buses and limousines. If you’re looking for a bottle to start with, we’ve got a few picks that are worth a sip. These are some of our favorite wines that are usually available in Texas stores. (For a complete list of the twenty best Texas wines of 2013, click here.) 


Lily 2012

Brennan Vineyards
Roussanne, viognier, and grenache grapes give this wine the slightest hint of sweetness and a beautiful fragrant nose of honeysuckle and ripe apricot. $17.50; brennanvineyards.com 

Vermentino 2012

Duchman Family Winery
The vermentino grape has become Duchman Family Winery’s workhorse. Citrus and minerals make this wine come alive on the palate, with a touch of lemon zest and crisp acidity. An excellent food-pairing wine, it could easily be sipped all through the long Texas summer. $18; duchmanwinery.com 

Reserve Roussanne 2012 

McPherson Cellars
While viognier has claimed the spotlight as the white grape of Texas, McPherson Cellars makes a strong case for roussanne, a Rhone varietal, to take its place. With the taste of ripe white peach on the palate, this is a definite standby for the Texas wine drinker. $18; mcphersoncellars.com 

Dank Vox Populi 2010 

Fly Gap Winery
Concentrated dark fruit predominates among rustic notes of mushroom, tobacco, and leather. A blend of tempranillo and touriga nacional, this is a big, grippy wine. $19.99; flygapwinery.com 

Tre Colore 2012 

McPherson Cellars
A standard in the McPherson Cellars stable of wines, the Tre Colore blend varies slightly from year to year. This vintage, made with mourvèdre (62 percent), carignan (27 percent), and viognier (11 percent), is an ideal wine to pair with food and a perfect alternative for pinot noir fans. $14; mcphersoncellars.com 

Sangiovese 2010

Wedding Oak Winery
This relatively new winery debuted with a solid portfolio, including this rich and luscious style of sangiovese. With cherry and strawberry notes, the wine is bright and fruity, with a hint of savory herbs on the palate. $27; weddingoakwinery.com