The Wine:
Spicewood Vineyards “Estate” Tempranillo 2012, Texas Hill Country 

Who Likes It:
Bill Elsey, advanced sommelier and general manager of the Red Room Lounge in Austin. Elsey got his start in the wine industry eight years ago while working in the Tasting Room at Duchman Family Winery. The Wimberley native is not only excited to see the continued growth and improvement in the quality of Texas Wine from the Hill Country, but he also enjoys promoting these wines through his wine program at the Red Room Lounge.

The Grapes:
96 percent tempranillo, four percent cabernet sauvignon.

Why He Likes It:
“This wine is another example of the progress being made by Texas wineries and Texas winemakers to plant the appropriate grapes best suited for the Hill Country,” Elsey said. “Spicewood Vineyards owner, Ron Yates, is passionate about Spanish wine, so it only makes sense he’d plant tempranillo in his vineyards. Truthfully, this wine is a baby, but right now I get a delicious combination of dried red fruits, freshly turned earth, black pepper, leather, all spice, smoke, and dried rose petal. The tannins and acidity are both firm and given the overall structure of the wine, while drinking well now, I expect it to only get better with age in the bottle over the next five to seven years.”

Suggested Pairings:
Just about anything off the grill or smoker. The dried red fruit tones, spice, and smokiness of the wine pair well with smoked brisket, grilled pork, and even grilled chicken.

On Down the Road: 
Elsey expect to see big things coming out of Spicewood Vineyards in the future. “As the vineyard continues to mature, I have no doubt that future vintages of their estate tempranillo will be a consistent addition to the increasing number of great Tempranillo-based wines coming out of the Hill Country,” he said. “I’m also excited to taste their future releases of estate Graciano and Touriga Nacional, two lesser known, but warm weather varieties that could prove to be perfect for the climate of Texas.” 

Note From the Winemaker: Ron Yates
“The 2012 is the first ‘real’ harvest of our estate Tempranillo,” Yates said. “The vineyard was planted in 2009 and we had our first crop in 2011, but the heat was so intense that year that our yield was very small and we ended up field blending it with some Graciano we had. Our estate tempranillo grapes make for a much heavier wine than the tempranillo we receive from the High Plains, near Lubbock.” 

“When we bought the vineyard in 2007, tempranillo was our plan. I went to Spain in 1999 to get my Spanish credit at the University of Texas, but I ended up falling in love with the culture and Spanish wine. We had it at almost every meal we ate with our Spanish family, and I really loved how much a part of everyday life wine turned out to be over there. The Northwestern region of Ribera Del Duero in Spain reminded me so much of the Texas Hill Country that I really got the itch to plant those grapes back home in Texas.” 

“Here at Spicewood Vineyards we have a strong commitment to estate grapes. Spicewood was originally founded as a winery that only produced estate wines and we strive to remain as close to that tradition as possible. The original seventeen acres has almost doubled in size to thirty-two planted acres on site now as well as another eight-acre estate vineyard just to the west of us. Growing your own grapes really makes you feel close to the entire winemaking process.”


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