When Texas winemakers began ramping up production in the last dozen years, they first planted conventional varietals: cabs, chards, pinot noirs and the like. After much trial and error and a few mediocre vintages, however, many of them discovered that some grapes such as pinot noir did not fare as well in the hot Texas climate as in Burgundy or the Pacific Northwest. Wisely, they turned to planting hot-weather Mediterranean grapes such as tempranillo and sangiovese. These harvests have yielded much more full-bodied and developed wines, and are already starting to attract notice at national and international competitions.
Transplanted Iowans Rick and Madelyn Naber brought their agricultural background and expertise to the forefront shortly after purchasing Flat Creek Estate outside Marble Falls in 1998. Currently, they are offering mostly blends and varietals that have proven to thrive in our weather, such as moscato, viognier, sangiovese and port varietals. Their Super Texan (a play on the Italian wine term Super Tuscan), is an award-winning sangiovese that pairs nicely with spicy food.
Pouring a tasting glass, I noted that the color was rather thin, much like light black cherry. The nose suggested a touch of cloves, allspice and berries. Black cherry came to the forefront on the taste, along with berries, white pepper, sage and basil, and finished with a slight wisp of tangerine. Since sangiovese is Italian, I decided to pair it with spicy food and tried it with sweet basil sausage and garlic summer squash. The Super Texan did well with both, particularly the sausage, and can easily pair with your favorite pasta or pizza. Flat Creek's website even includes sample recipes for your enjoyment, complete with pairing suggestions.
Flat Creek Estate 24912 Singleton Bend E. Marble Falls 512-267-6310
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