I previously shared about our first stop on the “en primeur” media tasting of barrel tastings in the Texas Hill Country at Wedding Oak Winery. I continued with a stop at Fall Creek in Tow. This week, we continue Texas Tuesday with Spicewood Vineyards in Spicewood, Texas.
Our final stop on the 2019 Roll Out the Barrel tour of the Texas Hill Country was at Spicewood Vineyards. Owner Ron Yates opened his doors and several bottles for us to sample and compare wines from new and old vintages.
Spicewood Vineyards began as an estate focused winery over two decades ago. When Ron Yates took over the business in 2007, he did so with a commitment to continue to have the majority of wines produced be estate grown. As the Texas wine industry continues to grow, so to does the opportunity to expand varieties, explore sites, refine both the grapes grown on site and the possibilities in the bottle.
We tasted several wines. So many, in fact, that my palate fatigued. Forgive the brevity of notes on some. I’ll just have to go back and revisit.
- 2018 Estate Sauvignon Blanc –A personal favorite. It has been made each year since 2007. Tropical notes, round mouthfeel, lovely acid.
- 2017 Sammie’s Cuvée (75% Sémillon. 25% Sauvignon Blanc) – Named after Ron Yates’ youngest daughter, 50% sees new oak.
- 2016 Syrah -The first vintage, Peppery red fruit, good acid, structure, balanced tannins.
- 2017 Syrah-Explosive Blackberry, juicy, spicy and delicious. Retains acid but the finish is softened.
- 2018 Syrah- A similar nose to the 17 but palate was sweet red fruit and violets. 45% New French oak.
- 2016 Tandem#4 (60% Syrah (Fort Stockton), 40% Carignan (Bingham)). This is a new project with a friend from Washington. Dusty red fruit, savory notes, tea.
- 2016 Tenny Wren (Equal blend of Estate Cabernet and Merlot). Named after Yates’ eldest daughter. 50% was in new French for 16 months.
- 2015 Tempranillo estate- This monster spent 25 months in New French Oak, dark, deep fruit, huge tannins, plum, cocoa, chewy.
The Good Guy series is made each year since 07 to honor his grandfather who helped make the vineyard possible.
- 2015 Good Guy (60% Tempranillo, 26% Graciano, 7% Cabernet, 7% Merlot) Another wine aged for 25 months, 50% new oak. Huge tannins, black plum, burnt sugar in finish.
- 2017 Good Guy. This will be bottled in April. Similar in composition to 15, less Tempranillo, more Graciano. Beautiful nose, integrated fruit, softer due to less time in barrel.
- 2014 Good Guy (42% Tempranillo, 17% Cabernet, 17% Graciano, 17% Merlot, 7% Syrah) 40% spends 18 months in barrel.
Yates has been around the wine industry for decades, watching his cousins, Ed and Susan Auler, champion the industry. After a trip to Spain, what he knew tangently, became a passion. After finishing law school and time in the music business, Yates took over the winery from the Manigolds, the original owners. Winemaker Todd Crowell came on in 2012. Together, they continue to make wines expressive of the Texas land and spirit.
His commitment to producing great wine seems to be secondary only to his commitment to family and friends. Throughout his stories of growing, producing, and visions for the future were references to relationships and striving for balance. Tributes to loved ones are not only on the wine labels but in each explanation of “how” and “why.” On his site, contributing members to Spicewood Vineyards are referred to as “family.”
In researching this review, I looked also to Spicewood Vineyards sister winery, Ron Yates Wines on 290. Again, the theme of family was pervasive. Each label honors a member of his family.
There is a lot of talk about commitment in Texas wine these days. The commitment required to begin the undertaking, the commitment to produce with Texas grapes, the commitment to truth in labeling. And while I value and agree with each of these commitments, there is no greater, in my mind, than the one Yates conveys. Friends and Family first. To me, it doesn’t get much more “Texas” than that.
Many thanks to Pen & Tell Us for arranging another great tour of Texas wineries. Thank you Wedding Oak, Fall Creek, and Spicewood Vineyard for sharing your time and wines with us. It is always an honor to be included in days such as this.