May 2019 Musings from the Wine Press

May 2019 Musings from the Wine Press

May 2019

Musings from the Wine Press


Now that spring has arrived and our vineyards are beyond bud break, a new grape growing season is well underway.  Grapevine shoots are bursting forth with new grape clusters heralding the 2019 vintage.  First, let us enjoy the fruits of past labor as we are very pleased to introduce two new wines for our wine club members only! We hope these wines mark enjoyable wine occasions and memories for you.

 2017 Valera

This is the heir to the successful debut of the 2016 Valera with a similar blend of Syrah, Tempranillo, Mataro, and Garnacha.  The 2017 growing season was marked by uncommonly cooler days and nights than the typical West Texas summer, influenced by atypical weather patterns from Hurricane Harvey. As a consequence of the reprieve from relentless heat, grapes had long hang time on the vine prior to harvesting allowing for greater maturation and development.  One notable change in the 2017 Valera from the 2016 is the noticeably rich fruit forward character of the wine which bursts forward immediately on the palate, complemented by darker fruit notes and a higher alcohol level as well.  This wine was bottled in December 2018, but would benefit from decanting over the next several months prior to consumption.

Harvest Notes

Harvest Period– Mid August through mid- September 2017

Vinification– 15 months of barrel aging with 30% new French oak, remainder in neutral barrel

Blend– Syrah 50%, Tempranillo 25%, Mataro 20%, and Garnacha 5%

Finished Wine– ABV 14.4%, pH 3.74

Case Production– 650 cases

Tasting Notes

The 2017 Valera is an elegant blend with deep ruby color, dark red and black fruit ranging from black cherry to cassis, with accents of tea and clover. The oak is well integrated and restrained with a gentle lingering finish.

Food pairing would be best with hearty roasts, chops and grilled meats including lamb, veal, fillets or tenderloin.

2018 Marsanne

Marsanne is a white grape varietal whose lineage stems from the Rhone Valley of France.  It is commonly produced as a single varietal wine in northern Rhone wine regions and is frequently blended with Roussanne or Viognier in the southern Rhone Valley near Avignon.

You have tasted the Marsanne grape previously as part of our RLV III wine, where it was blended with Viognier, and Roussanne.  For the first time, in 2018, we made a single varietal wine from 100% Marsanne.  Marsanne is less aromatic than its III siblings. It can present with honeysuckle aromas with pear or quince, and almond on the palate.

The 2018 RLV Marsanne received no oak barreling and was fermented in stain steel and aged on the lees prior to bottling. If you appreciate unoaked Chardonnay, you will likely enjoy this wine.

Harvest Notes

Harvest Period– August 15, 2018

Vinification– Stainless steel fermentation and aging on the lees without malolactic fermentation

Case Production– 250 cases

Finished Wine– ABV 12.3%, pH 3.69

 Tasting Notes

The 2018 Marsanne, pale straw in color, with lemon citrus, Asian pear and almond, with flinty minerality and pleasant acidity on the palate. This is a versatile white wine complimenting hard cheese, shellfish, pasta with butter white wine sauce or poultry.

Cheers and have a great summer! We will be thinking of you during Harvest 2019.


Ed Brandecker, MD

RLV Wine Program Director