The Wine: 
Flat Creek Estate, Super Texan 2012 

Who Likes It:
Hunter Hammett, of Farmhouse Inn, a Michelin-star rated restaurant in Sonoma Valley, California. Before trekking out to California, Hammett, a native Texan, worked as a sommelier in several Dallas restaurants, including the Mansion on Turtle Creek, Fearing’s, Ritz-Carlton Dallas, and Pyramid Restaurant at the Fairmont Dallas. His interest in wine traces back to a college trip to Italy, and now he is a certified sommelier readying for his advanced-level certification.

The Grapes
This wine is based on the Italian Super Tuscans, which typically blend Sangiovese grapes with one or two other grapes, such as cabernet sauvignon. Flat Creek Estate’s 2012 Super Texan red blend includes 85 percent Sangiovese, eleven percent tempranillo, and four percent syrah. (All of their grapes are sourced from Flat Creek Estate and Lost Draw Vineyards in the High Plains region.)

Why He Likes It: 
“This plush red blend is medium-plus in body with aromas of blueberry, and bing cherry with a refined tannin structure,” says Hammett. “There’s a reason this is one of the most famed and highly-regarded Texas wines. Not only has it won many awards for its pedigree, but it is also versatile for food pairings.” 

Suggested Pairings: 
“I regularly poured this wine by the glass for my duration at the Fairmont Dallas, and it was an excellent wine pairing with lamb chops, ostrich, or even a classic burger.”

On Down the Road:  
“Texas is slowly, but surely figuring out the puzzle of climate, soil and varietal,” Hammett says. “I think the answer is Mediterranean varieties such as vermentino, sangiovese, montepulciano, and tempranillo. Not only do they match the Texas climate but they are perfect with our regional cuisine. If we stick to what we have discovered Texas will ultimately carve out its market share and produce world class wines. It’s really as simple as that.” 

Notes from the Winemaker:
Tim Drake, Flat Creek Estates

“The Super Texan is our signature wine, our largest blend, the one that we’re most known for and is the most widely distributed,” Drake says. “The 2003 Super Texan, the first vintage for this blend, won the first San Francisco Double Gold medal for a Texas wine. Since then, it’s won numerous Gold/Double Gold at most of the various big competitions over the years.”

Drake says his goal with the blend is to create a predominately Sangiovese blend that pairs well with food. “I build upon the natural tendencies of Sangiovese to make a wine that has good acid and tannin structure, and I try to preserve the slightly bitter cherry flavors that Sangiovese is known for.” 

The specific blend changes from year to year, according to Drake, though he wants to “emphasize the Sangio flavors of cherry, strawberry and the smoky, spicy, earthiness that I find so appealing in this variety. To this end, the tempranillo–mostly estate fruit and fruit from Lost Draw Vineyards in Brownfield near Lubbock–brought some lovely blackberry, black cherry, and plum flavors with to the grape’s natural earthiness in the finish, along with helping the structure out with mouthfeel and some tannins. The syrah–from our estate blocks–brought a touch of blueberries, bing cherry, and bramble with a hint of violets and it had this amazing sense of smoked bacon fat and some pepperiness spice to the finish.”

Retail locations such as HEB, Spec’s, Randall’s, Central Market