The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2013

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Page 36 of 152

A LONE STAR LIFE Stars of Texas 2013 THE BEST OF WHAT I DRANK THIS PAST YEAR C by Anthony Head / photo by Kirk Weddle W ith perspective gained from another year driving these never-ending Texas roads, I finish 2013 with a thank-you nod to the following red, white, spirit and beer. They're what I call my "Stars of Texas." The best news (for me, at least) is that next month I begin searching for new favorites. Brennan Vineyards 2010 Buffalo Roam, Texas ($16) I tasted plenty of Texas wines—of seriously high degrees of elegance and the noblest of structures—but I'll simply never forget my first time with this Rhône-style blend from Brennan: It was at the Granbury Wine Walk Weekend last April. I sipped and was immediately smitten with it; medium-bodied, balanced, supple but focused with bright fruit and earthy spice. And no matter what food I served it with this year—enchiladas, turkey, burgers, sandwiches—Buffalo Roam played right along. McPherson 2012 Roussanne Reserve, Texas ($18) With our extended white wine-drinking season, cooling varietals always increase this oenophile's interest. And I've always respected Lubbock's Kim McPherson for his deft touch with rosés and whites. He aged most of this Roussanne in stainless steel with only small amounts in French oak, which adds heft but doesn't mask the varietal's true character. There are generous aromas and acidity, and it holds its M Y alcohol, 13.8%, with a stiff upper lip throughout the long, rich finish. CM MY CY Deep Eddy Ruby Red Grapefruit Infused Vodka ($18/ 750 ml.) Launched last March at South by Southwest, Austin-based Deep Eddy's Ruby Red is now a certified rock star. The deep, rich, natural flavors come from using as much Texas sweet corn and Rio Ruby grapefruit as Deep Eddy can get its hands on. Ruby Red is distilled ten times and charcoal-filtered to finish at 70 proof. This is craftsmanship, this is quality, this is dynamic and versatile—whether served with club soda over ice or in a more serious cocktail. CMY K Jester King & Mikkeller Drink'in the Sunbelt American Pale Wheat Ale ($8, 750 ml.) I didn't comprehend the potential of pale wheat beers until I tasted Drink'in the Sunbelt. Light and snappy, the enhanced bitter hop profile produces a big presence. The mouthfeel is substantial, tasting mildly yeasty with layers of citrus and peach. Brewed from malted barley and wheat, unfiltered, unpasteurized, 3.9.% abv. It's a collaboration between Austin-based Jester King and Denmark's Mikkeller brewing operation. And they've crafted something how to do something that's traditionally deceptively elusive for being able to be crafted into such levels of greatness. (You're cut off until January 1, Tex. –Ed.) 36  /  the tasting panel  /  december 2013 TP1213_034-63.indd 36 11/25/13 8:20 AM

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