Texas has a longer history of winemaking than many people realize. Franciscan fathers planted the Mission (Criolla) grape near El Paso in the 1600s, and in 1882 Italian Frank Qualia opened up Val Verde, a commercial winery that continued through Prohibition. France bestowed a Texan, the horticulturalist Thomas Munson, with a medal for his work in grafting vitis vinifera onto American rootstocks during the European phylloxera crisis.
Today, the sommelier conference, Texsom, includes a tasting of local wines, and Brennan Vineyards has always been a stand-out, especially with Texas' star red grape, Tempranillo. Love Rioja's tempranillo? Try Texas. As they say, “they ain’t fiddling around.”
Catherine Bugue is the Star’s tasting panel writer. Her weekly pursuit of a good glass of wine provides a nice supply of choices for the Wine of the Week column. If you’d like to submit a Napa Valley wine for this column, please send it to the Napa Valley Wine Academy, 2501 Oak St., Napa, CA 94559. There’s no guarantee your wine will be chosen to be featured, but all wines will be evaluated and considered.