Texas Wine of the Month: William Chris Vineyards Artist Blend, 2011
Bill Blackmon and Chris Brundrett of William Chris Vineyards in Hye, Texas, created the Artist Blend, an expression of Texas terroir.
Who Likes It:
David Toby, the beverage director of Jack Allen’s Kitchen. Toby has been in the hospitality business for the fifteen years, including four years overseeing the beverage operations at Jack Allen’s Kitchen, where he has made a concerted effort to get more involved with Texas’swine, beer, and spirits industry.
This wine blends a number of Texas red grapes, including Merlot (49 percent), Cabernet Sauvignon (eight percent), Sangiovese (eight percent), Mourvedre (24 percent), and Syrah (eleven percent). Though a number of elements went into the final makeup, this wine is a perfect example of how well blended wines can perform in Texas.
Why He Likes It:
“This is a great Texas wine,” Toby said. “It has bright strawberry and plum on the nose with a fruit forward, smooth palate that lingers with a bit of spice. It’s really a well-balanced wine with good tannin and acidity making it great for food. The guys at William Chris Vineyards are some of the newer Texas wine pioneers, and they’re making some really quality wines.”
“This wine is a great pick for pairing with a lot of different foods,” Toby said. He likes to serve it with the chicken-fried beef rib at Jack Allen’s, as it stands up to a hefty meat dish.
On Down the Road:
“I predict Texas wines will become more popular not just throughout Texas, but throughout the rest of U.S. as well as the producers pump out better and better juice every year,” Toby said.
Winemaker Notes: Bill Blackmon
“The Artist Blend is a fantastic food pairing wine as the savory spice notes beneath the red fruit structure really lend it to a wide range of dishes. The nose presents layers of blueberry, orange peel, pastry cream, and hints of cinnamon. We recommend decanting and allow the wine to open up for no less than fifteen minutes. Layers of strawberry and licorice dominate this wine and integrate beautifully with the aromas on the nose. The soft tannins are held up by balanced acidity. The Artist Blend is a blend of AVAs (American Viticultural Areas,) both the High Plains AVA and the Hill Country AVA, which is an exception to our normal style of single AVA wines.”