Paella on the Grill and a Texas Rosé Surprise!

Texas Wines for Summer
Earlier this summer, a wine writer friend sent an invitation to try some Texas Hill Country wines aimed at summer enjoyment. It’s been some time since I have tried a Texas wine, so I happily agreed to try a few. Even though Minnesota is nearing the end of summer, there’s lots of summer left in much of the country, so if you see a wine from Texas in your local shop, give it a try! We took several wines on our last trip up to the lake and enjoyed them over a couple of meals.

Disclosure: The wines for this post were provided as samples by the wineries. No other compensation was involved, all opinions expressed are mine.

Not exactly wine, Piquette is a refreshing low alcohol fermented drink.

Kerrville Hills Winery Texas Piquette “Farmhand” NV (sample, $16 SRP) 7% abv
Kerrville Hills Winery, run by John Rivenburgh, serves as a resource and incubator for other Texas wineries. That may explain why a slightly off-beat but popular wine related drink like Piquette is coming from Texas. Piquette is not even wine, really. The leftover must (pulp, skins, seeds) from a tank of just pressed grapes or wine forms the base for the piquette. The winemaker adds water & sugar if needed, and allows the liquid to ferment. Piquette is typically light in body, with refreshing high acidity and low alcohol. Piquette can’t be sold in Europe as it isn’t wine. It’s historically made and served to vineyard workers as a refreshing drink during the workday, and one where they wouldn’t get drunk as they continue to work.
Eye: pale bright ruby
Nose: Medium minus intensity aromas of bright fresh strawberries, cherries, rhubarb, simple.
Mouth: Dry, high acidity, light body, low alcohol, medium minus intensity flavors of bright fresh cherries and strawberries, short finish.
Observations: Refreshing and enjoyable and I found it an excellent aperitif while working on dinner at the grill. Not a fancy or complicated drink, just fresh and enjoyable.

Fall Creek Vineyards Grenache Rosé 2021

Fall Creek Vineyards Grenache Rosé Texas Hill Country AVA 2021 (sample, $32 SRP) 13% abv
Fall Creek Vineyards has one of the longer histories among Texas Hill Country wineries. Beware of trips to France! After a trip to France in 1973, Ed and Susan Auler came back to Texas and planted their first vines, and the rest is history.
Eye: Medium pink-orange
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of fresh strawberries, underripe cherries, watermelon rind, crushed gravel, tarragon
Mouth: Dry, tart high acidity, medium body with silky texture, medium alcohol, medium intensity flavors, medium finish. Flavors follow the nose with strawberries and watermelon rind in front.
Observations: This rosé has a nice body with the texture from some time on the grape skins. Refreshing and delicious with our paella.

Paella on the Grill with Texas Wines
We love paella, especially made on the grill. As long as you have some bomba rice, you can come up with an infinite number of variations on the basic theme. Just remember, after the rice and liquid are in the pan, one stir then no more!

Andouille sausage and a bit of crushed red pepper added just a hint of a kick to the dish, and the fresh fruit flavor and bright acidity in the rosé provided a nice counterpoint. A delicious combination!

Meal #2: Grilled Chicken and Veggies with a Sweetcorn Salad
Not wanting to have too many wines open at once with our paella, we saved the other two Texas rosés for another dinner. This one was a simple meal from the grill with the addition of a nice corn salad.

Texas Heritage Vineyard “Lizzie” Rosé 2021

Texas Heritage Vineyard “Lizzie” Rosé Estate Malbec Texas Hill Country AVA 2021 (sample, $30 SRP) 12% abv
Texas Heritage Vineyard is a family owned and operated vineyard, having planted their first vines in 2015. To their credit, the varieties planted are those suited to the climate even though they may be less familiar.
Eye: Pale orange
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of ripe cantaloupe, ripe red apple
Mouth: Dry, high mouth-watering acidity, medium body, medium alcohol, medium flavor intensity, medium finish. Flavors reflected the nose with cantaloupe and apple.
Observations: A deliciously tart, fruity dry rosé. Perfect for those looking for a tart, lively refreshing rosé. Paired nicely with our grilled chicken and corn salad.

Wedding Oak Winery Castanet Rosé 2021

Wedding Oak Winery “Castanet” 2021 Rosé of Cinsault (sample, $28 SRP) 11.5% abv
Wedding Oak Winery was started in 2011 by viticulturalist Mike McHenry with a vision of showcasing Texas wines made from Texas grapes. Today, they make wines from their own estate and also from growers located in Texas Hill Country and High Plains regions. The Castanet Rosé is made from Cinsault grapes.
Eye: Medium pink-orange
Nose: Medium intensity aromas of dried orange rind, ripe melon, a touch of almond skin.
Mouth: Dry, medium plus acidity with a softer texture, medium body, medium alcohol, medium flavor intensity, medium finish. Flavors echoed the aromas with orange rind, melon and almond.
Observations: This rosé gives less impression of bright fruit with a softer texture, though it does have a refreshing acidity hiding underneath. This wine would be good for someone who shies away from wines that seem severe from so much bright acidity.

Texas Rosé at the Summer Dinner Table
Our second rosé dinner involved simply grilling chicken and vegetables alongside a refreshing cold Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Basil and Cilantro from New York Times Cooking. Both rosés were very nice with the meal. I love a bright tart rosé so I leaned more to the Lizzie. If a softer texture is more your style, the Castanet would fit the bill.

One Response to “Paella on the Grill and a Texas Rosé Surprise!”
  1. Kat Rene says:

    So happy to see all this Texas wine love! And with fabulous pairings!

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