Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Chateau Bubba will rock your world, someday

I've been reading all day about the state of the Texas wine industry. We get a lot of haughty haw-haws from wine snooties down here; mostly people who actually live here. Trouble is, sometimes the wines really are crappy. But sometimes they're not.

Texas ranks third in the nation for wine consumption and fifth in production. That ranking is in part thanks (er, thanks?) to a French company called Cordier who produces an ocean of cheap, icky wine from both Texas vineyards way out west, or bought juice from all over the globe. The gallonage is somewhere between 300,000 and a million per year. We're not supposed to fuss about 'Saint Gen', though, because of the immense, positive impact her production has on our economy. So I'll leave the fussing to Gramma, who would be on the warpath if she found out that the French are making her Texas Blush. Lord, have mercy.

There are a lot of things that work against certain Texas AVAs and against Texas competing with the greater domestic wine producing states. I live right at the gateway to the Hill Country AVA, where limits on the types of varietals grown and a continuing dependence on fruit sourced from elsewhere are caused by Pierces' Disease, that bitchy little bug-borne killer that'll wipe out vines faster than you can say "$2000 an acre lost." The tendency for wines from the Hill Country to be over-sulfured or bear other obvious flaws have kept many enthusiasts away. Other factors, such as the absurd patchwork of "wet-dry" counties (some dry counties have the best grape growing land), and the timidity of wineries in trying more intrepid, better suited varietals, contribute to holding Texas wine back. Some top Texas producers are inconsistent. A couple of producers, who were on top of their game a few years back, have turned out some seriously flawed juice since then. I'm not sure why. But it's not easy to have tasted these really terrible wines from this otherwise lauded producer and have to tell people that this year's vintage is, really, no seriously, not like the last.

I'll be writing more about Texas, because while the wines that move me are few and far between, I believe that we have the potential to compete with distinction. Someday...

Clinkies, y'all.


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