Texas is not the biggest wine-producing state in the U.S., but it is one of the most diverse. For wine lovers, that means there is always a new wine to drink, a new varietal to try and a new vintage to savor.
A wine tasting with Texas wines is the perfect way to sample an assortment of wines all at once to discover new favorites. Tasting wines blind—when the bottles and labels are hidden from the tasters—is a great way to get the most out of a wine tasting.
The best Texas wines for wine tasting are those that are accessible enough that you can purchase the wines that stand out in the tasting again, and yet not so common that you aren’t taking advantage of the opportunity to expand your wine knowledge.
How to Choose Texas Wines for Wine Tasting
A round up of Texas wines for wine tasting should begin with a selection of vintages, regions, varietals or blends. You should find at least four similar types for comparison.
For example, in the Texas High Plains, Reddy Vineyards grows 38 Texas wine grape varieties, representing nearly all the Texas grape varietals found in that region and more than half of the 50 varietals grown throughout the state. This offers a wide range of different types of wines to taste from a single producer, vintage, or region as a benchmark.
Starting with Reddy Vineyards, you could host a tasting focused on a single varietal, such as Marsanne. To help determine the Texas best wines for wine tasting, consider including at least four wines for each tasting but no more than six to avoid palate fatigue.
How to set up wines for wine tasting
- Winemaker style. Taste four to six Marsanne, or wines featuring this varietal, from various Texas producers that are all from the same region and the same vintage. You could even taste several Marsanne wines made with Reddy Vineyards-grown grapes.
- New World vs. Old World. Because Marsanne is a grape commonly grown in the Rhone region of France, it would be interesting to compare two or three Texas bottlings with a few samples from France or even California.
- Regional nuances. The geographic differences between Texas regions is a wonderful opportunity for testing your tasting skills—can you detect terroir in a side-by-side tasting of Marsanne grown in the Texas High Plains vs one grown in Texas Hill Country. For a tasting of this nature, use a couple of single-varietal or blended wines for more opportunities to explore the characteristics of those regions in different grapes.
What to look for while wine tasting
Side-by-side comparisons are the best way to taste almost anything from wine to cocoa powder. At the very least, you’ll determine what tastes best to you.
For wine, you’ll want to pay close attention to the aroma and taste, the latter is heavily influenced by the former, so you’ll always want to make sure you aren’t suffering from a cold or allergies when you participate in a tasting.
Evaluating wines in a wine tasting
When it’s time to taste, you will want to take notes if for no other reason than noting which wines you like the best and why. But an in-depth evaluation can include everything from how long a wine’s finish is to whether or not it displays regional character.
Each wine should be evaluated by its color, aroma, and taste. Each of these should be defined by as many descriptions as possible—take your time and roll the wine around in the glass and then in your mouth. Other things to consider is whether the wine is complex, showing many different tastes or aromas, and whether the wine is balanced, showing each of those characteristics in harmony.
After you’ve sniffed, tasted and assessed each wine, score your wines beginning at one as the best. When everyone has finished scoring, combine everyone’s scores to give a group rating for the wines.
Starting with the lowest scoring wine, ask the tasters who scored it the highest and the lowest what they liked or disliked. After everyone has discussed it, reveal the wine and discuss again.
Pouring the Best Texas Wines for Wine Tasting
When you are pouring the best Texas wines for wine tasting you might be tempted to offer big pours. But for a wine tasting, one to two ounces per wine is plenty for a taste. Make sure there is still wine in the bottle in case anyone wants to re-taste after the wine is revealed. Also, make sure the wines are all at the same temperature, so one doesn’t stand out for being too warm or too cold. Each taster should also have a spit bucket to spit out each wine after assessing it and a glass of water.
Not all wine tastings need to be formal. Anytime you are at a party or sitting down to dinner where more than one wine is offered, take the time to evaluate each wine. Consider this type of tasting as an exercise for your palate, and that practice will pay off as you develop a greater sense of what wines appeal the most to you.