Celebrate Texas Independence Day By Drinking Wine

Didja know Texas Independence Day is right around the corner? (Of course you did, you’re planning to go get tacos like we discussed here). Another thing to do? Drink Texas wines. Lisa, otherwise known as C&S on DallasEats, otherwise known as our resident wine chick (not to mention the author of an upcoming book on Texas wines) did the legwork for you. Keep reading:

Hey Dishers!

It’s been a while since our last visit (yes, I’ve missed you terribly!), and if you’re wondering what’s been happening in the world of Texas wine, this is the perfect time to catch up. You see, Monday is Texas Independence Day, the anniversary of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1836. What better way to pay tribute to our founding fathers than by toasting them with glass of our state’s finest?

Jump for info on local winemakers and a sneak preview of two new wine posters from the Texas Department of Agriculture (much cuter than they sound).

Hey Dishers!

It’s been a while since our last visit (yes, I’ve missed you terribly!), and if you’re wondering what’s been happening in the world of Texas wine, this is the perfect time to catch up. You see, Monday is Texas Independence Day, the anniversary of the adoption of our Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos in 1836. What better way to pay tribute to our founding fathers than by toasting them with glass of our state’s finest?

“Wine is history in a bottle,” says Bobby Champion Jr., Wine Marketing Coordinator for the Texas Department of Agriculture. “Long before Texas became a state, Spanish missionaries were making wine from native Mustang grapes near El Paso. Today’s Texas wine industry emerged in the 1970′s through the work of a handful of pioneers.” Decades later, our growing number of grape-growers and winemakers continue to embody the independent spirit that sets Texans apart from the crowd. In honor of this occasion, Bobby has offered us a special preview of two new wine posters from the TDA – pretty cute, huh?

And speaking of trail-blazers, did you know there’s a new wine trail in town? Today we’ll highlight three members of this as-yet-to-be-named Dallas trail. Conveniently located within minutes of each other, visiting these wineries would make for a relaxing mini-getaway in the space of an afternoon. Enjoy – and be sure and visit each winery’s website for hours of operation and information on upcoming events.

Fuqua Winery
3737 Atwell St., Suite 203
214-769-1147

“We put a little bit of Texas in everything!”

Lee Foster Fuqua’s love of wine began with the gift of a wine appreciation class from his wife Julia early in their marriage. Years of hard-core collecting eventually ignited the desire try his hand at winemaking, and he enrolled in the respected T.V. Munson School of Viticulture and Enology here in North Texas. He graduated with honors, and has been making wine ever since.

In December 2007, Lee realized the dream of opening a winery of his own. At Fuqua Winery’s (pronounced FEW-quay) cozy tasting room off Lemmon Avenue in Dallas, you can sample his award-winning, hand-crafted wines and meet the winemaker himself. So far, response from the public and the food and wine community has been overwhelmingly positive. Of the experience, Lee says, “The hours are long, but the benefit is that we get good wine to drink!” Lucky for all of us, he’s willing to share.

Try: 2005 Texas Red Reserve
Made from Newsom Vineyards fruit and aged for 36 months in French oak, this full-bodied Tempranillo/Cabernet blend represents the top of the line at Fuqua.

Calais Winery
3000 Commerce St.
214-453-2548

“The people here are pretty laid-back, kind of like the South of France.”

Benjamin Calais is the new kid on the block. This blue-eyed native of Northern France came to Dallas with a job in the IT industry, but when the job was done, he decided to stay. He liked what he’d seen of our town so far, and was intrigued by the idea of exploring his passion for winemaking right here in the Lone Star State. In October of last year, he opened Calais Winery in the heart of Deep Ellum.

“I’m kind of a traditional European,” Benjamin says of his winemaking style. He combines classic techniques with a few twists to tailor his wines to the Texas palate and our hot-and-spicy regional cuisine. His wines are named for streets in his neighborhood: La Cuvée d’Elme, La Cuvée du Commerce and La Cuvée Principale (that’s main in French). At the time of this interview, he was considering what to name his fourth creation. May we suggest La Cuvée Centrale?

Try: La Cuvée Principale 2007
This dry, crisp Chardonnay is unoaked, allowing hints of tropical fruit and citrus to shine through.

Inwood Estates Vineyards
1350 Manufacturing St., Suite 209
214-902-9452

“We don’t need New Yorkers to tell us what’s good.”

Tucked away in an unassuming corner of the Design District, Dan Gatlin is making some of the most remarkable wine in Texas. Immersed in the beverage business from an early age – his family founded Hasty liquor stores – Dan watched the American wine industry grow and mature from a unique perspective. In 1981, he planted his first vineyard in Texas and began his own journey in grape-growing and winemaking.

Dan believes that Texas’ distinctive soil and climate, our terroir, is our most vital asset. Rather than try to cultivate popular grapes and mimic the style of others in the country, he chose to focus on lesser-known varieties that would showcase our state’s individual character. “Our vision is always a little bit different,” he explains. For example, Inwood Estates is one of the few wineries in the country making wine from the Palomino grape, a native Spanish variety. Made from exclusively Texas-grown fruit, Inwood’s 2006 Palomino-Chardonnay sold out fast, and the 2007 version will be ready in December. In the meantime, stop by the winery to sample the rest of Dan’s exceptional lineup, and to shake hands with a true Texas trailblazer.

Try: 2007 Cornelious
Aged in new oak with a fruit-forward character, this 100% Tempranillo varietal wine is named for Neal Newsom of Newsom Vineyards.

(Photos by Lara Bierner and Lisa Petty)

8 comments on “Celebrate Texas Independence Day By Drinking Wine

  1. I’ve been meaning to try Calais… I pass it every day on the way home from work. And now that you’ve recommended the Chardonnay, I’m even more motivated.

    Thanks for the great article, Lisa!

  2. I have crushed texas grapes with Gatlin and Fuqua. They are colleagues and friends and the wines that they craft are varietally respectful and definately worth the taste. The dude from France, now, the verdict is still out for me on this one. Ya gotta wonder why? Nice to see some buzz about the industry here in Texas. Thanks lisa. signing off…. tiberia@barkingrockswine.com

  3. Lisa – you made me want to go to each of those wineries right now! Great job on the information and thanks so much for sharing!

  4. What is the release date for Lisa’s upcoming book? I can’t find any information about it on Amazon.

  5. Hey there! We’re still in production on the book, with a few more wineries left to visit. I’ll definitely keep SideDish posted. Thanks!

  6. Have been enjoying Fuqua wines for many years, and cannot say enough great things about them and the owners. These are robust wines, not “wimpy” as Julia and Lee will share with you often. If you like Spanish wines, the Tempranillo is a must! Great for Tapas! Being able to visit a working winery, is like visiting an artists workshop, you enjoy the oeuvre that much more.

  7. Falls Creek is now producing a wine labeled
    MISSION…..the lable is black with outline of THE ALAMO. The Shrine will receive $1.00 from the sale of each bottle. Sold at HEB.
    Pick up a bottle next time & support the ALAMO.

    O