This month’s selection has sentimental value for Spicewood Vineyards winery owner, Ron Yates. It’s a special field blend from the winery’s estate vineyard, a piece of land Yates’ grandfather purchased in support of his grandson’s venture into the wine industry. For all you grandfathers out there with a special nickname, this Good Guy is for you!
Who Likes It: Lexey Johnson, the beverage director and sommelier at the soon-to-open Brick & Mortar Kitchen in Richmond. Johnson has worked in the restaurant industry since her days at the University of Texas, developing an affinity for wine that has led her to pursue a career specifically in beverage service. After five years managing and serving at Austin’s Vino Vino, Johnson recently moved to the Houston area to serve as beverage director for Brick & Mortar Kitchen, a modern-casual restuarant focusing on Texas cuisine using local ingredients which is slated to open in April of this year and where her husband, Eric Johnson will be executive chef. The restaurant is the next concept from Phil and Laura Brown of the Vince Young Steakhouse in Austin.
“I look forward to working on special wine dinners and to cultivating an extensive wine list that introduces people to lesser known grape varieties,” says Johnson. “There will be a slight emphasis on Old World (European) regions, but there will be some excellent New World wines as well. And a rotating list of classic cocktails and beers.”
This is an estate blend of 30 percent Tempranillo, 30 percent Graciano, 30 percent Merlot, and 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
Why She Likes It:
“I love this wine. Spicewood owner Ron Yates has an affinity for all things Spanish, and has done a fabulous job of showcasing what Texas can do with Tempranillo,” says Johnson. “It’s round and lush with good grip and a beautiful backbone of asservitve acidity. I get notes of dark cherries and plums with dried violets, wet earth, leather and a touch of smoke on the finish.
“This wine has the vivacity to stand up with some flavorful meats,” says Johnson. “It would go well with grilled wild game thrown on the grill or smoker.”
On Down the Road:
“Texas is really coming into its own with a lot of producers showing just how well Mediterranean varietals tend to do in our climate,” says Johnson. “But I think they are seeing that we are not just limited to the those grapes, and are having fun with what else can be done here. It’s a big state with different climates, and producers are really seeing what makes sense in each microclimate.
“There is a lot of love across the industry in Texas, with producers, purveyors, and wine professionals showing a great deal of mutual support, and I think that is one integral thing that is helping push Texas onto a more national and international scope.
Note From the Winemaker: Ron Yates, Owner Spicewood Vineyards
“When I was a little kid I spent a lot of time with my grandfather. We lived just down the street from him and my grandmother. I would go with him to the ranch all the time instead of daycare or a babysitter. However, I could not pronounce the word Grandfather. Instead it came out closer to the words “Good Guy.” Since I was the first grandchild in the family, that nick name stuck.
“We did not set out to make a wine in his name, originally. He was so excited that his long-haired grandson was getting out of the music business and into agriculture that he purchased the land that most of these grapes in the blend are planted on. We planted the vines in 2009 and he passed away in October 2010. When we had a very small crop from the third leaf in 2011 we decided to field blend it all together and call it ‘The Good Guy’ in honor of him. We were so happy with it that we made it again in 2013 and 2014. It will now be a blend we make every year.”