On April 28, about two dozen Austin, Texas-area sommeliers, restaurateurs and journalists gathered for a blind tasting hosted by a handful of family-owned Texas wineries. The event, christened "The Sip, Season One", illuminated the current state of Texas wines-specifically, how many Texas wines are not only hitting their stride in quality, but also picking up speed in innovation.
Held at the newly expanded Red Room Wine Lounge in downtown Austin, the tasting was conducted in two flights (there were non-Texas wines included for comparison; the first set of wines were revealed in between, and the second set of wines at the conclusion). Although this particular collection of wineries was mostly clustered in central Texas, the wines themselves represented a broader view of the state's various growing regions, including the Hill Country and the High Plains.
Even more impressive was the breadth of varietals being grown and represented-some, like Syrah and Black Spanish, have been firmly established in the Texas terroir for decades, while others (many others, actually, like Viognier, Roussanne, Palomino, Aglianico and Tannat, for example) continue to be introduced successfully all the time. Not only are the state's individual vineyards showing a diversity of character, but winemakers and growers are showing a lot of progressive foresight in searching to find the right varietals to effectively plant to the land.
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