Don’t. Mess. With. Texas. The wine industry in Texas is growing. According to the “San Antonio” magazine, Texas now ranks 4th, behind California, Oregon, and Washington, in the number of wineries per state. As of July 2019, there are 500 registered wineries with the Department of Treasury, which is up from 2009 when there were fewer than 300. Also, Texas ranks 5th in the U.S. for wine production and 7th for acres under vine in the U.S. with 5000 acres of vineyards.
This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is exploring wines from Texas with food pairings. Thanks to Michelle of Rockin Red Blog for coordinating samples with Texas Fine Wine. You can read Michelle’s invitation post to the group here with background information on the Texas wine industry.
This was my first taste of Texas wines, and boy was I impressed! I sampled two wines from Duchman Family Vineyards and paired their 2016 Montepulciano with a slow cooker short rib ragù.
Texas Wine AVA Regions
Texas has eight American Viticultural Areas (AVA)
- Texas High Plains – The second largest AVA in Texas. Located in the state’s panhandle by Lubbock. 80% of Texas wine grapes come from this AVA. The elevation of the vineyards is 3000 to 4100 feet. The climate is continental and semi-arid with well-drained soils, and winds that help prevent spring frost and disease.
- Texas Hill Country – The largest AVA in the state and the second largest in the country. Located northwest of Austin and San Antonio. Mostly low hills with the highest elevation of about 2100 feet.
- Bell Mountain – The first AVA in Texas created in 1986 and located within the Texas Hill Country AVA.
- Fredericksburg – A sub-region of the Texas Hill Country. It is known for Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.
- Escondido Valley – A lower-lying valley in west Texas.
- Texas Davis Mountains – Located in the west part of the state close to the Mexican border with elevations from 4500 to 8300 feet. It is known for Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Texoma – The youngest AVA in Texas established in 2005. It is located in the northern part of the state by the Oklahoma border and the Red River. Promising potential for Merlot, Tempranillo, and Syrah.
- Mesilla Valley – This AVA located in both Texas and New Mexico, producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel.
My Tasting Notes
Disclosure: The wines were provided to me as media samples. All opinions are my own.
2016 Duchman Family Winery, Texas High Plains, Oswald Vineyard
14.5% abv | $28.00 SRP sample | 100% Montepulciano
Duchman Family Winery was established in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman. The winery located in central Texas, with a majority of the grapes sourced from the Texas High Plains AVA. Duchman specializes in Italian varieties, including; Trebbiano, Vermentino, Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and Aglianico. All their wines are made from 100% Texas grapes.
Medium ruby in color with a brown hue at the rim. Medium (+) bodied and tannins with balanced medium acidity. Notes of black cherries, plums, smokiness, tobacco, vanilla, and spices.
My Food Pairing
I paired this wine with a slow cooker beef short rib ragù with beans and kale served over tagliatelle pasta. The richness of the ragù melded perfectly with the full-bodied wine and fine tannins. The acidity in the wine balanced the richness of the dish. The kale adding an earthy dimension and the beans and pasta a textural component.
Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragù
- 2 28 oz. cans Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes (I like Muir Glen Organic)
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 4 medium to large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (I like Flora)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup dry full bodied red wine
- 1-1/2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt + more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + for for serving
- 3-4 lbs. beef short ribs
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale, de stemmed and leaves roughly chopped
- 1 14 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 lb. tagliatelle (I like Seggiano organic)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- fresh basil, chopped for serving - optional
- Parmesan cheese, grated for serving
- In a 6-8 quart slow cooker, add the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, dried Italian herbs, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add the short ribs.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. When the short ribs are tender and falling off the bone, remove them from the sauce and let them cool slightly. Shred the meat and discard the bones.
- Add the kale and white beans to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and cover, cook for 20-30 minutes. Add the shredded meat.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and mix with butter and basil if using.
- To serve, divide the pasta into bowls and top with ragù and sprinkle with grated Parmesan.
Check out my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers and their discoveries along the Texas Wine Trails ~
- A Taste of Texas Wines by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- A TexMex Fiesta featuring Texas Tannat by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Cooking to the Wine: Duchman Family Winery
Texas Aglianico with Instant Pot Brisket by Somm’s Table
- Don’t Mess with Texas: Two Reds from Bending Branch Winery Paired with Sliders by Wine Predator
- Duchman Family Winery – Exploring Texas Wines With Italian Grape Varieties by Syrah Queen
- Low and Slow Grilling with Texas Wines by FoodWineClick!
- Oven Roasted Sirloin Steak with Onion Sauce and Texas Wine by Cooking Chat
- Pedernales Cellars: Pairing Texas Fine Wine with Spice 3 Ways by Asian Test Kitchen
- Rooting for Emerging Wine Regions: Celebrating Texas Wine With Our Everyday Meals by The Traveling Wine Profs
- Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragù with Texas Montepulciano by Always Ravenous
- Spicewood Vineyards: A Taste of Texas for #WinePW by The Swirling Dervish
- Texas Connections, Beef Flautas, and Bending Branch’s Tannat by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- #Texasfinewine Pedernales GSM, Rose, Viognier with Dim Sum by Chinese Food and Wine Pairings
- Texas Wine Pairing with Pedernales Wines and Parmesan Crusted Chicken by Vino Travels
- The Texas Wine Party Continues with Fall Creek Vineyards by The Corkscrew Concierge
- Tuscan Farro With Texan Vermentino by Avvinare
- Uh, oh! My Texas Wine Craves Barbecue by My Full Wine Glass