Texas Wine of the Month: Lewis Wines Red Blend, 2010
This bold red blend made from grapes typically grown in Portugal is from one of the Hill Country’s newest wineries and one of the region's youngest wine makers.
Lewis Wines Texas Red 2010
Who Likes It:
Adam Ehmer, the sommelier at Otto’s German Bistro, in Fredericksburg. Ehmer moved from Southampton, New York, to Fredericksburg, where he opened Otto’s with restaurateur John Washburne and chef Adam Yoho. The German cuisine restaurant uses seasonal and local ingredients, and they boast a wine list of 140 selections that are split evenly between American and European wines. The Texas wines include options from a spate of local wineries, including William Chris Vineyards, Pedernales Cellars, Pontotoc Vineyard, Sandstone Cellars, Hilmy Cellars, and Lewis Wines.
About the Wine:
“The Lewis Wines Texas Red has a deep concentrated color with aromas of fresh blackberry, raisin, good ol’ Texas dirt, leather, and warm cooking spices along with a long-lasting finish,” Ehmer said. “It has the complexity, natural acidity, and tannins to invite food pairing.”
This wine is a blend of Touriga Nacional 50%, Tempranillo 33% (Tinta Roriz), and Tinta Cao 17%. “Except for Tempranillo, these grapes may be less familiar to many wine drinkers but are common to the Douro Valley in Portugal, the source of Port and good red table wines,” Ehmer said. “The Touriga and Tinta Cao come from the Kuhlken Vineyard just north of Fredericksburg and the Tempranillo is from the Texas High Plains.”
“At Otto’s I would pair this wine with our Strube Ranch Wagyu short rib goulash, which is served over homemade spaetzle,” Ehmer said. “It’s a hearty dish that’s perfect with a hearty wine in the late winter.”
On Down the Road:
“We like these local producers because they are making balanced wines from Spanish and Portuguese varieties that are well-suited to the climate and soils of Mason County,” Ehmer said. “Based on tastings of wines still in barrel and some recently bottled, I think that we will be seeing more and more exceptional Tempranillo, Touriga, and blends from single vineyard sites in Mason County and throughout the Texas Hill Country for years to come.” (Otto’s will host a wine dinner at Santos Taqueria in Mason on February 24, a meal featuring wines made from Mason County fruit, including wines from Lewis Wines, Pontotoc Vineyards, Compass Rose, and Sandstone Cellars.)
Note from the Winemaker: Doug Lewis, Lewis Wines
“This blend was special to us because it was our first Portuguese-styled wine to release, with fruit sourced from Kuhlken Vineyards owned by Pedernales Cellars,” Lewis said. “The Portuguese varieties have been a pleasure to work with. They ripen quickly, so we can reach full flavors before alcohols are too high and all of our acids are gone and they set a good, consistent crop from year to year.”
“When you find something you were meant to do, it just clicks. When the opportunity came to make wine that represents Texas’ terroir, I couldn’t pass it up. We don’t import fruit or juice from outside of Texas because we want to focus all of our attention and efforts on Texas wine. In five years, all of our plantings in the Hill Country and High Plains will be producing–hopefully–and we will have tons of great fruit to work with.”
Through the winery and at some Austin-area retailers and restaurants including Whip In, Travis Heights Beverage World and Quickie Pickie, Cafe Josie, and Otto’s.