Fourteen wines from across Texas were awarded prestigious Double Gold medals at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ 2024 Rodeo Uncorked!® International Wine Competition, held November 10-12 at NRG Center in Houston.
A Double Gold medal is awarded to wines that receive a Gold medal rating by all five judges. The Competition handbook describes a Gold as a wine “of outstanding quality, superior to most. Reflects the best flavor, balance, style and winemaking for that class and price point.” Here are some highlights of the wines that earned this title and the wineries that make them.
To start, Meierstone Vineyards The Airship Red, Texas High Plains, 2021 was not only awarded a Double Gold, but it also received the title of Top Texas Wine. This award is determined by a separate judging panel which tastes all the Class award-winners from Texas. The Airship won out over all with its, “soft and juicy red plum and cherry notes” on the palate, followed by “a hint of cedar that provides elegant and balanced structure,” per the winery.
Becker Vineyards, a Texas wine industry mainstay, earned the award for Top Texas Winery. In addition, they earned numerous Class Champion and Texas Class Champion awards and 22 medals. The 2021 Claret and 2022 Jolie Rosé earned Double Golds. Located in the Texas Hill Country and with over 30 years of experience, Becker Vineyards knows how to make delicious wine that everyone can enjoy.
Additionally, several other wineries from across the state received Double Gold medals. The Adega Vinho Touriga, Texas Hill Country, 2019 is made from the Portuguese grape Touriga Nacional. These wines are typically bold, dry reds; the 2019 offering from Adega Vinho should have lovely, softened tannins to balance the boldness.
While more common elsewhere, US consumers may not be familiar with Sémillon. Bingham Family Vineyards Sémillon, Texas High Plains, 2022 is a new wine from the winery, made in the traditional style of Bordeaux Sémillon. It should be a delicate, delightful fruit forward wine with crisp acidity and minerality.
Another French varietal, the Busted Oak Cellars Tannat, Texas, 2019 features a lesser-known red grape from Southwest France, Tannat. Today it is well known in Uraguay, but it also does well in Texas’s Continental climate.
Driftwood Estate Winery makes all their wines from 100% Texas grapes; the 2019 Merlot is no exception. Located just outside of Austin in Driftwood, it was the first commercial vineyard in this growing region.
Italian varietals also thrive in Texas, as evidenced by the Duchman Family Winery Aglianico, Texas High Plains, 2017. Duchman has been perfecting wines made from unique Italian grapes since 2004. This Aglianico is not one to miss.
Another Italian, the Flat Creek Estate Super Texan Red, Texas, 2017 is a play on the traditional “Super Tuscan” blend. The Super Texan is one of Flat Creek’s flagship wines, certainly one to try for a well-balanced every day red.
Located south of Houston in Santa Fe, Haak Vineyards & Winery is a pioneer in the Gulf Coast region. However, the 2022 Viognier comes from the Texas High Plains, which is well-suited to the French varietal. Viogniers are known for aromatic floral, apple and white peach notes on the nose and palate. This offering from Haak is one to try.
With more than 40 years of winemaking experience, Llano Estacado is dedicated to producing the best Texas wines. Their 2021 Texas Merlot reflects the terroir of West Texas and includes a small percentage of Cabernet Franc and Tannat to balance the softness of Merlot.
An Italian-style white, the Portree Cellars Fiano, Texas High Plains, 2022 features aromas of pear, sweet orange and hints of honey. It is dry and crisp on the palate; a lovely white wine to try.
A red wine traditionally from Northern Italy, the Triple N Ranch Winery Barbera, Texas Hill Country, 2018 features notes of red cherries, raspberries, subtle fennel, and chocolate mint, with bright acidity and soft, well-structured tannins.
Wedding Oak Winery’s 2022 Riesling features aromas of guava and strawberry-kiwi. On the palate, flavors of ripe apricot dominate, accompanied by honeysuckle and tangerine. The wine’s semi-sweet profile strikes a perfect balance with its refreshing acidity.
The Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition is one of the largest and most prestigious wine competitions in the country. These wines will be available to taste at Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition on February 18, 2024 at NRG Center. Tickets are on sale now. For more information on the wines and upcoming Rodeo Uncorked! events, visit www.rodeohouston.com/wine.