McPherson Cellars Red Flight

The second half of the wine tasting at McPhereson Cellars, I earned as a reward for driving a friend’s son to Texas Tech. If you missed the white flight you can find it here.

2019 Alicante Bouschet

Their Notes: Our inaugural vintage of single-variety Alicante Bouschet brings juicy fruits and velvety tannins into perfect equilibrium. Originally from France, this dramatically red-fleshed variety is used world-over for its deep color and fullness of flavor. But the warmth of the High Plains reveal a decidedly softer side: ripe plums and fresh thyme, heaps of red fruits accented by pepper and pencil lead.

My Notes: This ruby colored wine, with a light pink edge, has a very acidic nose. The Texas High Plains is very evident in the nose of this wine with it’s typical petroleum scent. It’s a very dry wine. Trying it with the cheddar brings out an oakiness, but the sharp white cheddar doesn’t evoke the same flavor. When trying it with the dried cranberries from our snack pack (see Final Thoughts) it brought out a blackberry flavor. My friend described the wine as gritty when asked if he liked it – no surprise this is an unfiltered so there is some sediment in it. Despite that, it’s a good Sunday red, but maybe only with the family you like as it’s got a higher price point (>$40).

2017 Carignan

Their Notes: The texture is the story here: this is a plush, beautifully rounded wine that pulses with energy. In the glass, it shows off a bright and well-balanced mix of fruits, spice, and savory earth with aromas of dried raspberry, plum skin, lavender, dried herbs, and dusty earth. Medium-plus in body but exceedingly fresh and low in alcohol, it is immensely satisfying with some Texas BBQ.

My Notes: I actually drew a heart next to the name of this wine in my notebook. I know – very junior high – but symbols help you remember. This wine is aged in stainless steel, which really brings out the berry flavor. I’d give it a mixed berry more than just raspberry. The almonds brought out the sugar while the sharp white cheddar heightened the berry flavor.

The garnet color was mesmerizing to watch in the light and I really just wanted to sit and smell this wine. My friend got a hickory taste, while it was more earthy to me. I wouldn’t say dusty – more like the smell of the dirt when you’re picking berries after the rain – wet earth. We decided it would go great with a filet. The perfect Friday night wine, or date night wine when you want to impress, but not go broke (~$35).

2019 ‘IFB’ Red

Their Notes: An homage to the traditional Italian field blend, “IFB” marries the best of celebrated Italian varieties Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Montepulciano, and a touch of Alicante. Out of the glass it gives notes of dusty raspberry, Bing cherry, dried fig, and cocoa powder. Its broad, yet playful structure makes it a perfect pairing for a range of dishes from pizza to lasagna.

My Notes: This was a let down after the other two wines. I probably would have loved it if I had started with it.

That’s not to say I disliked it. It just wasn’t as good as the two prior. On it’s own – it will be a perfect red table wine – as designed. It’s also aged in stainless steel, which helps to keep the fruit forward scent and flavor. The wine itself is a claret color and a bit dry. Yet, when poured and the wine aerates – the bubbles created in the glass remain longer than most wines. Which made for an interesting display when swirling the glass. It has an acidic berry scent. I got grapefruit on first taste, while my friend got orange peel. The cheddar gave it a spiciness – maybe curry or turmeric.

Final Thoughts

All in all the red flight was enjoyed more than the white flight. Although we did agree that we would move the IFB to the beginning of the tasting, but don’t think it would change it’s Monday rating. It just wouldn’t have been such an awkward ending.

Overall we enjoyed our visit to McPherson Cellars and as you can see from the pictures above of the “lab” we enjoyed the behind the scenes tour. The only disappointment was the nosh options. I understand and appreciate that having an onsite kitchen facility is difficult, and can change the rules for serving and selling in Texas. But when the options are Kirkland’s dried fruit/nut and cheese snack packs???? If I was in Oklahoma, or a winery that was just starting out – I could accept something passed off to kids as a snack – but not an established winery like McPherson. A southern belle would have at least had the decency to open the pack and pour it onto a glass dish for me – not make me grab it out of the drinks fridge. That little snafu aside – the tasting room and facility are beautiful and definitely worth a stop if you’re in Lubbock – you just might want to eat a really hardy lunch first. Or go when they have one of their events with Food Trucks – see happenings.

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