This Saturday Inwood Estates Vineyards will release the 2008 Cornelious Reserve at a party at their Dallas Winery near the design district from noon until 5pm. This wine is 100% Tempranillo from the Texas High Plains AVA.
Party Format: You will receive 1 free taste of Cornelious with a light food pairing. All other wine must be purchased whether by tasting pour, glass, or bottle.
Jump for the joy of Texas Tempranillo.This is a significant wine and its release reminds me of the first time I encountered this unpretentious winery down off what was then called Industrial Blvd.
I’m sure you remember a time when you were handed a sample of a product you’d never considered buying and, after tasting, it became a regular on your shopping list. This is what happened to me the first time I ever sipped an Inwood Estates Tempranillo.
A friend kidnapped me at a wine tasting and drove me to the Inwood Estates winery in Dallas. There I was confronted with The 2003 Inwood Estates Cornelius, a 100% Tempranillo wine from west Texas grapes and the 2003 Bodegas Muga Rioja ‘Reserva’, a storied veteran of Spain’s most famous wine making region with a solid 93 points average in 25 online wine reviews and an $88 retail price. I drank a glass of the Cornelius, then a glass of the Muga. Both had intense Tempranillo fruit. Both possessed a good acid level that makes a wine enjoyable with food. Both had hints of the oak used in their aging. However, they also had distinct differences reflecting the soils in which they were grown, the climate in their places of origin, and the technique of the winemaker (things such as the type of yeast used in fermentation, or the type of oak barrels and length of aging).
The point is not that the wines were the same. They were not, and that was not the intent. The point is that this Texas wine could truly sit at the same table as the Rioja. It was Texas Tempranillo that was as good as the Rioja version.That tasting changed my view about Texas Tempranillo and it introduced me to the wines of Inwood Estates. I have had pleasant experiences with subsequent vintages of Cornelius and come to discover that Tempranillo is the red grape that, thus far, has done best in the state.
Wind forward to this year and I tasted the 2008 Inwood Estates Vineyards ‘Cornelius’ Reserve. This wine is a clear gear upward from the regular Cornelius. The complex fruit flavors are even more intense than in the 2008 regular bottling. So intense, in fact, that you can put a few drops on the top of you tongue and then, when you rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth, it feels like you are rubbing away at a mille-feuille of layers of fruit. The aromas are almost entirely black fruits rather than the red fruit more common in Tempranillo. Blackcurrants, black cherries, and blueberries. Despite its youth, the wine is not astringent and can be quaffed now. However, it has formidable aging potential and I would buy some to drink and some to keep for 8-10 years.
I regard this wine, at a time when Texas Tempranillo as a category is better than ever, as a new benchmark for the grape in Texas. Wine maker Dan Gatlin has thrown down the gauntlet to the other 200 or so wineries in Texas and Texas consumers will be the winners when the battle is joined.