What William Chris Vineyards Can Teach You About Real Texas Wines
I was not compensated for this post but did receive dinner for 2, complimentary of William Chris Vineyards.
A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to a dinner with William Chris Vineyards— a winery who produces 100% Texas wines. If you follow my blog, you already know how I feel about Texas wines, so you can guess what my reaction was. (Sign me up!)
My husband and I are actually familiar with this brand, having enjoyed it at last year’s Texas Wine Revolution and we were excited to go… but the flu was in full swing and my husband had succumbed to its nastiness.
But there was no way I was missing this dinner.
Firstly, because I already knew that William Chris produces some great wine, and secondly because this dinner was being held at Biga on the Banks, a restaurant whose culinary delights I’ve heard about… repeatedly.
I had to see what all the fuss was about.
So I left the poor Hubby home and grabbed my Partner in Wine, who hadn’t yet had the William Chris experience and off we went.
William Chris Wines
A little bit of background on William Chris… In 2008, Bill Blackmon, a man with 30 years experience in growing and managing vineyards in Texas partnered up with Chris Brundrett, an experienced winegrower and head winemaker for several labels, to produce 100% Texas wine using old-world techniques. Thus was formed William Chris Wines.
There’s a lot to be said about old-world techniques— mainly, that they work for a reason. William Chris takes great pride in the cultivation process, intent on growing only the best grapes and producing the finest wines that Texas terroir has to offer. They place value on the “…pleasure that is shared with community of friends and family” when drinking their wines and take this into consideration when producing new vintages.
The final result: a wonderful selection of wines that are representative of the thought, pride, love, and hard work that these Texans put into each bottle.
William Chris has a number of delicious offerings from Granche Rose to Cibola with a little something for every palate in between. Their wines are reflective of the passion that they put into their craft and are best understood when tasted.
Dinner with William Chris
This dinner was a chance to sit down with the winemakers themselves, experience their offerings, and gain some insight into what William Chris has to offer. There’s a lot to be learned about 100% Texas wines and they were all too happy to tell us about it.
The tables were placed such that good conversation could be had and luckily for me, I was able to sit with the men behind the barrels- the winemakers themselves.
I had the pleasure of being seated next to the Assistant Winemaker- Tony Offil. He was both knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. I was able to learn a little more about the process and could sense the sincere passion he had for his work.
Also at our table was Joshua Fritsche, the Head Winemaker, who may have forever changed my aversion to screw tops. LOL From screw-tops to fake corks, corks, and the bottling process, we talked about them all and I was able to get some insight into the production process.
It turns out that they aren’t the sign of a cheap or bad wine (as I’ve mentioned before in a few of my Wine of the Week posts.) LOL From what I understood, the only difference is that the wine with a screw top will not age to perfection. It is what it is, no matter when it’s opened. Corked wines, however, and depending on the type, have the ability to age into fine wine.
(I generally can’t keep a wine in my possession for long, so if I can find a quality wine with a screw top, I might consider giving screw tops another chance…)
Overall, the atmosphere of the “get-together” reflected the dynamic of the winery and the value William Chris Vineyards places on enjoying their wine with the community of family and friends. The hosts and guests alike were friendly, knowledgeable, and some great conversations were had in what felt like a comfortable and relaxed setting.
Good food, good wine, and great company. I like the William Chris style.
Their greeting is, “We are pleased to share a piece of our world.” , and I was glad to have been able to.
Dinner at Biga on the Banks
Our dinner was set to take place in a private room at Biga on the Banks. Beautiful restaurant, top-notch service, and the food— OMG the food. It’s something you need to experience for yourself.
Between the Passed and Third Course, it felt like an explosion of wonderful flavors and smells between the food and pairings. My favorite was the First Course- Butternut squash, goat cheese, Brussels, organic salmon, orange vinaigrette paired with William Chris’s 2016 Roussanne, La Pradera Vineyards, Texas High Plains. They went perfectly together and by that point, (and although I had two more courses left) I had already had a hard time trying to decide which wine was my favorite.
Between each course, we got to hear from Bill Blackmon, who had much to say about the production and thought behind the wines we were trying. He spoke so passionately about them and we enjoyed getting the “insider” experience.Wineries like @WilliamChrisVin are leading the revolution in disbanding the idea that Texas wines can’t compete with other states... Find out hoe here: #ad #RealTexasWine Click To Tweet
What to Learn about 100% Texas Wines
Now, I know what you’re thinking… states like California, Oregon, and Washington produce great wine. This is true and I won’t dispute that fact. But the Texas Hill Country is the second largest viticultural area in the United States… for a few reasons. I’ve learned that a short visit to Fredericksburg and other wine-producing areas in Texas is proof that Texas can hold it’s own in winemaking. While it might not have the reputation it deserves yet, they’re producing some great wine out here and consumers will soon find this out.
William Chris has taught us that great wine is the result of respecting the old methods, making excellent use of what we have, and keeping in mind the community it’s made for.
William Chris Wines teaches us that 100% Texas grown and made wines deserve more recognition.
You’ll be surprised what Texas terroir and old-world techniques can produce and once you’ve experienced it, it’s sure to change your outlook on Texas wines.
Wineries like William Chris are leading the revolution in disbanding the idea that Texas wines can’t compete with other states and I insist that you try them out just to try and try to prove me (and thousands of others) wrong. Visit William Chris Wines and see what they have to offer. (I particularly enjoyed their Pétillant Natural Rosé.) Better yet, pay them a visit and share a piece of their world…
What are your thoughts on 100% Texas Wines? I’d love to hear below.