When I got back from my trip to the Texas High Plains, friends asked if I’d taken the truck muddin’… no just went in search of a winery, and the map directions from the phone sent me down “roads” (see below). Found when leaving there was a better way to get to Pheasant Ridge Winery (website)… but by then the truck was covered in mud.
After wondering if they were open, and double checking hours (Google says they are open on Sundays, but their website says they are closed). A gentleman stuck his head out of the doors with the feathers and asked if we wanted a tasting. He introduced himself as “Bobby.”
And thus my amazing wine tasting with Bobby Cox at Pheasant Ridge Winery began. When he introduced himself as Bobby – it didn’t click for me that I was going to be hanging out on a Sunday afternoon with a legend in Texas Viticulture. Eventually he said enough about himself for me to put the puzzle together. But he was “just Bobby” – telling stories and educating two people on wine.
We started out with the 2015 Blanc du Noir, which my tasting notes say “yum,” which I’ve been told is poor tasting notes. A bottle came home with me, as I loved the cinnamon pear finish. Officially, the notes say its dry, rich, creamy with flavors of pear, toasted nuts and a mineral finish.
We moved on to the 2016 Viognier – which is from some of the oldest Viognier vines in Texas. It’s grown in Hogley County and has flavors of peach pit and fresh grass. Which I know sounds weird, but it was a good flavor. My tasting companion described it as “one of the better Texas viogniers.” I told him after that might be an insult to Bobby….
Officially the notes say its dry and full bodied with Chardonnay like texture and hints of peach, apricot and tarragon.
The next wine was the 2005 Pinot Noir which is aged in French Oak. It smells sweet at first but it does not taste sweet. It has a “gorgeous acidic finish.” (Again, I know I write bad tasting notes, but that’s what it says….) There are also notes about pairing it with grilled or blackened Texas redfish.
The tasting notes on the sheet at the vineyard say that this wine has aromas of forest floor enhanced by blackberry notes. Flavor is delicate with developed dried fruit complexity.
The last wine on the menu for tasting was the 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon.
Yes, you read that right – 1997 – it’s more than 25 years old.
So, this wine spent 4 years in oak, and then 20+ years in the bottle and has a flavor and texture of a typical French Bordeaux. Again, my notes just say “yummy.” And a couple of bottes came home as he’s down to only a few cases. Bobby says to pair this with a plain steak. The notes say its mature and round with notes of blackberries, sweet smoke and French oak. Velvety and rich on the palate. I would agree.
I don’t have many notes on the cabernet as Bobby started discussing his time with the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWiGGA) and serving his 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon in response to the question of “How long can you age Texas Wine?” His response was something like “it’s over 40-years and its still good.”
I really wanted to ask if he had any of the 1982 around to try. But was feeling shy. However, he’d been asked that week by a visitor if they had a Merlot. So he pulled one out. Thus we got a bonus taste. I don’t recall the vintage year, but my notes say it has an acidic nose with a good grape flavor – like what you’d expect from a California Merlot. Sorry Bobby, I know that sounds like an insult – but it’s not. #txwine_beats_cawine_everytime
I remember when you could find Pheasant Ridge everywhere. Now you can only get it from the winery, and it’s well worth the trip down the “roads” to get there. (Yes, my truck has pink wipers – and logos – and more….)