I recently attended some classes at the Texas Wine School (website) where I got to try 7 amazing Texas wines and hear from some of the winemakers. These are my notes, starting with the Duchman 2019 Vermentino.
The tasting notes for this wine say:
100% Vermentino located in Texas High Plains. High performing wine over the last 7 vintages, recently scoring 90 points and winning Gold at the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Notes of citrus fruits to minerals, green herbs with distinctive dry almond finish.
This wine was grown at the Bingham Family Vineyards.
It has a really nice straw color with a hint of butter to the scent. There is some spice to the scent too, but it almost has no scent to me. According to the winemaker – It’s supposed to smell like Lemon, Thyme and other flavors.
It’s a sweet tart taste that lingers on the tongue. I don’t get the typical apple or citrus flavors. Unfortunately, it has a rather metallic taste to me. Maybe that means high acidity – or maybe it means my palate isn’t used to 100% Vermentino.
According to the winemaker, who spoke during class, he did not use oak to age the wine or malacotic fermentation. (yeah, I’m still not smart enough to know what that means, yet)
I gave it a Monday/Tuesday rating – with the notes that you can open it on Monday and it’s actually a little better on Tuesday – so enjoy it on a rare Sunday at home without family and then pull it out Tuesday to go with the leftover chicken from Sunday, since both are just a bit better after a day in the ice box.
But – one note from the winemaker – this is not a wine that is meant to age well. So, drink the 2016 now and don’t hold onto it. Enjoy it!
This is not listed for sale on Duchman Family Winery’s website, which is a shame. However, I suppose the hunt is half the fun. Due to the nature of wine grape growing, 2019 was the last time Duchman was able to produce a 100% Vermentino.
This is a hard grape to grow in Texas. It’s less heat and cold tolerant, so while it can be grown in Texas, it is very susceptible to the herbicide dicamba. And given the current use of dicamba in areas surrounding the Texas High Plains, it makes it hard to grow this grape.
The vines at Bingham Family Vineyards were planted in 2007, and as with the nature of grape growing, they have begun to decline, so there is a drop in quality of the grapes. This doesn’t reflect badly on the growers, but rather that the growing conditions have not been ideal. Overall the yields in the Texas High Plains have been down the past couple of years due to freezes, heat, hail etc.
What does all that mean to non-agricultural minded individuals – the weather hasn’t been good so the grapes haven’t grown. No Grapes (or not enough) means no wine.
Since Duchman wants to be able to produce a 100% Vermentino again, they are in talks with Oswald Vineyards to plant Vermentino to see if in a year (or two) they can once again make a pure Vermentino. I look forward to when they can once again produce one.