There’s good news coming out of the much maligned Texas wine industry. It might be too soon to predict a revival in Texas’ wine fortunes, but the signs are there. Earlier this summer, for instance, Flat Creek Estate’s Super Texan 2003, a sangiovese from the Hill Country, won a double gold at the prestigious San Francisco International competition.

One place to see many new developments is at the 19th annual GrapeFest, set for Sept. 8-11 in Grapevine. Some three dozen Texas wineries are scheduled to participate (and even I’m going to host a panel on Sept. 9, discussing non-European grapes). But if you can’t make it, look for the following, which point out what Texas is doing right.

  • The Hill Country’s Alamosa Wine Cellars and Jim Johnson, a graduate of University of California-Davis’ respected wine program, specialize in grapes from Italy, southern France and Spain, including a $16 tempranillo called El Guapo.
  • Flat Creek, where winemaker Craig Parker and owners Rick and Madelyn Naber seem to have hit upon a Texas style – lighter, yet still fruit forward and eminently food friendly – with their $16 Super Texan.
  • Kim McPherson of McPherson Cellars in Lubbock makes affordable, quality wine from grapes typical of southern France, including a $13 Tre Colore red blend of carignane, syrah and viognier.
  • At Dry Comal Creek in the Hill Country, Franklin Houser has planted black Spanish, an odd European variety which has been in Texas for a couple of hundred years but hasn’t been used for much. Houser has high hopes for it. The 2004 vintage is pricey at $30, but it’s a hearty, sturdy red wine with a lot of fruit.

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