Type of wine: Shiraz
Nose: Mossy, mushroom, pungent earthiness, light berry
Palate: mushroom, earthy soil, blackberry, leather
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pairing: slow-cooked beef, mashed potatoes
I picked up this bottle of Llano Signature Series Shiraz at my neighborhood HEB store. Having had several Llano signature series wines in the past with mostly positive experiences this seemed to be a good choice to have with dinner. Upon pouring the wine there was a very strong, pungent, meaty and earthy aroma. This is typical for a Syrah or Shiraz, but this may have been a bit more pungent than usual. After letting the wine aerate and breathe a bit some blackberry notes as well as some more subtle mushroom notes came through, as well as a bit of leather. The mossy earthiness was still present but more balanced. This wine does take significant time to aerate before it becomes more enjoyable, in my experience. The taste of the wine corresponds with the aroma pretty well. There is a mushroom earthiness that dominates the palate upon first sip, however with subsequent sips and aerations the wine rounds out nicely with some of the tart blackberry notes and leather on the finish with the mushroom earthiness moving into the background a bit. This paired nicely with slow cooked beef and mashed potatoes though a steak and more spicy sides may lend better to full enjoy this wine experience. At $10 a bottle it’s definitely a Shiraz I would recommend to pair with a casual steak dinner.
Type of wine: Pinot Noir
Nose: oak, baking spices
Palate: blackberry, cherry, french oak, highly acidic
Rating: 4 out of 5
I picked up this bottle of Messina Hof Pinot Noir Cuvee from Specs Liquor to pair with my homemade poutine dinner this evening. In the past i’ve enjoyed most Messina Hof Pinot Noir offerings so I was happy to find this on the shelf. The nose of this wine has the familiar aroma that Messina Hof is known for. Beautiful oak aromas along with some baking spices, and upon deep inhalation a bit of a peppery note. When the wine was cold there were a lot of blackberry flavors coming through with just a hint of french oak/vanilla. After letting the wine aerate and warm up the taste became a beautiful mix of tart cherry and french oak spiciness. Also present is a bit of leather on the finish. The only minor issue I have with the wine is that it is a tad more acidic than previous offerings (such as the 2010/2011 vintage Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir). This could be due to the climate changes in the latest growing season. It’s not necessarily a bad thing but it takes some time for your palate to get used to it. I paired this with homemade poutine and I believe it was a success. The tartness of the wine worked will with the saltiness of the gravy and cheese curds. At $10 a bottle this wine is a steal. You’d be hard pressed to find a better bottle of pinot for under $20. If you are a medium-dry red fan and stop in a Specs (and probably HEB store as well) be sure to look for it.
Wine Enthusiast and Travel Texas have put together a great giveaway this year to celebrate Texas Wines. Find more info about this great opportunity to win a fabulous trip below.
Everything really is bigger in Texas: It’s the No. 5 wine-producing state in the U.S., the Texas Hill Country American Viticultural Area is the second largest in the nation and its most promising wines boast supersized flavors. Visitors may flock here to sip wine, but they end up drinking in the romance of the region, too.
Take a peek at what you could win:
- Round-trip flights and transportation for two to Texas
- Up to 8-night accommodations at local B&Bs and winery accommodations in the Texas Hill Country
- Guaranteed visits at up to 12 wineries
- Select exquisite multi-course wine-and-food dinners
Vineyard: Messina Hof Vineyards, Bryan, TX
Type of wine: red blend (syrah, merlot)
Nose: bold oak, spice
Palate: acidic, cherry, medium oak, light spice
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
I picked up this bottle of Messina Hof Texas Hold’em at a local Spec’s Liquor Store (Jones Rd @ 290 in Houston) to unwind with this evening. I have seen this bottle several times over the years as well as the large tanks of it at the Messina Hof Vineyards in Bryan yet I never picked up a bottle until tonight. Texas Hold’em is a red blend consisting of 50% Syrah / 50% Merlot. The nose of the wine is that of a bold, oaky and spicy red, with light alcohol. The first taste of the wine is a bit acidic up front with supple cherry flavor. There is a hint of vanilla or another baking spice I can’t quite place. The wine finishes with a nice medium oak. This wine definitely has a Messina Hof footprint. The aroma and taste of the wine instantly takes me to their vineyards. If you’ve had a few of their wines you know exactly what I mean. This is a very enjoyable red table wine. At this extremely low price I would definitely recommend picking up a few bottles to have on hand for casual dinner parties or for those nights where you just want a nice, simple bold glass of wine to enjoy.
Messina Hof Texas Holdem in the bottle
Messina Hof Texas Holdem in the glass