Dry Comal Creek Bottles Up
Something Really Dry

Once known for making inconsistent, if not downright weedy wines, Texas winemakers have been slowly but surely improving quality as the vineyards become established, the vines get older, and the winemakers themselves receive better education, training, and practice in their craft. Also, learning to plant the proper grapes for the Texas soil makes a huge difference as well. Today, if you were to ask a true Texas tipple aficionado which wines he would tout, you would no doubt hear such names as Becker, Fuqua, and Inwood Estates named among the top vote getters.

Many fervent followers of the Texas grape have not even heard of Dry Comal Creek, likely because it's located off the beaten path in New Braunfels, away from the better-known wine trails around Grapevine and Fredericksburg. Yet, several of their wines deserve more respect, particularly those made from grapes not particularly associated with varietals, such as Texas native Black Spanish and French Colombard. Dry Creek owner/consultant Franklin Houser and winemaker Joe Donnow have wrought wonders with these grapes, refining them into first-rate wines. French Colombard, for instance, is perhaps best known for its sweeter applications, whether grown for cognac in France or distilled into generic jug wines in California. Houser and Donnow have refined all the residual sugar out of their varietal, so that their "Bone Dry" Colombard has much more the mouth feel and flavor profile of a good Sauvignon Blanc.

Opening the bottle and pouring out my tasting glass, I was immediately cognizant of gravel and minerals on the nose, along with a wisp of Granny Smith apples. The color was a slight, lime-tinted goldenrod. When I tasted I noticed more apples, lime, and melons, with a delicate, floral finish. Such a wine would of course be just heaven-sent for seafood but sadly none was available, so I tried it with chicken parmigiana and fettucini alfredo. The match was only partially successful, as the rich tomatoey sauce of the chicken dish threatened to overwhelm the delicate wine, yet it fared much better with the Alfredo sauce, giving this often heavy dish a lighter, more pleasing taste, just right for the last hot days of summer. Further experimentation is needed, particularly with seafood and salads, where I think this bone-dry tipple has the potential to truly shine.

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Chris Meesey