There are numerous wineries in Texas for you to visit. To help you plan your trip, we headed to Duchman Family Winery for a wine tasting and it did not disappoint. The Duchman Family Winery is one of the top Texas wineries you must visit this year!
When you think of Texas, what do you picture? Whisky, beer and cowboys? There is more to Texas culture than you think. The Lone Star state is the fifth largest wine producer in the United States.
We been to Napa to taste wine several times so our standard and expectations are high! After visiting Duchman Family Winery, we found that there are a wide spectrum of styles and variety of grapes in Texas. Unlike Tuscany or Napa, Texas offers a broad and unexpected palate. This is due to Texas’ expansive size, the varying soils and micro-climates.
About Duchman Family Winery
According to their website, The Duchman Family Winery was founded in 2004 by Drs. Lisa and Stan Duchman. Their love of the unique Italian grape varieties as well as similar weather patterns to Texas inspired them to work with viticulturists and growers in the Texas High Plains AVA to produce grapes that would allow their winemakers to experiment with making wines.
To this day, the winery sources the majority of its fruit from the Texas High Plains AVA, where cooler temperatures and a more "continental" climate are ideal for the production of fine wine made from Italian grape varieties.
In addition to sourcing their grapes from Texas exclusively, Duchman Family Winery is one of the top wine destinations in Texas. In fact, it was listed by HGTV as one of the 20 most picturesque wineries in the country.
When visiting the winery, you can opt for a wine flight of your choice for $15. The flight comes with 6 tastes of wine. Luckily for us, we got to taste all 13 of their wines! Our wine steward, Marco, led us through the tasting and taught us about each type of wine. We will tell you which ones were our favorite and why you should try it.
Duchman's White Wine
FYI, we are not white wine lovers. We find that most white wines have too much acidity. You know, it is like the wine is tart. We preface that before talking about Duchman’s white wines because we ABSOLUTELY LOVED theirs. Which was shocking to us. While we liked all the white wines we sampled. We enjoyed their 2017 Vermentino and 2017 Viognier in particular:
1. The Vermentino (“vur-men-teeno”) is a light-bodied white wine that is super complex in taste.
On the nose, you will smell fruity aromas. Think pear, white peach, grapefruit and citrus. On the palate, the wine is dry (but not too dry) and a little oily. You’ll taste flavors of citrus.
Marco, our wine steward, told us that a nice glass of Vermentino would pair well with medium-weight dishes that play with rich herbs and spices. For example, you could match this wine with pesto, Italian vegan sausage, falafel, cauliflower steaks, and vegan spinach ravioli.
Our thoughts: To be honest, their 2017 Vermentino was the best white wine we’ve tasted! It is severely underrated in the Texas wine scene and beyond. Highly recommend that you try this one out.
2. The Viognier (“Vee-own-yay”) is a full-bodied white wine that is perfect for those who love Chardonnay.
Depending on the producer and how it’s made, Viognier ranges in taste from flavors of tangerine, mango and honeysuckle to vanilla with spices of nutmeg and clove.
Marco described this wine as being dry, less acidic, and more perfumed than the other white wines. Viognier would pair well with curry, teriyaki tofu, squash, pumpkin and polenta. You want to pick a dish that isn't too acidic or bold.
Our thoughts: We enjoyed the fruit flavors and creaminess of this wine. The acidity is perfectly balanced and the finish is refreshing. The 2017 Viognier is the second white wine we recommend.
Duchman's Red Wine
We are red wine lovers all the way. After tasting the whites, we were excited to dive into the red wine menu and taste some of the top sellers. We enjoyed their 2016 Montepulciano and 2015 Aglianico:
1. The Montepulciano (“mon-ta-pull-channo”) is a medium-bodied red wine that has dominant flavors of red plum, oregano, and sour cherry.
It is deep-colored and have ripe and powerful tannins. Don't worry though! This wine has a pleasant amount of tannins. Wine connoisseurs often described a wine with powerful tannins as “grippy.”
Marco told us that because of its robust flavors and grippy tannin, Montepulciano pairs well with rich and savory foods. Examples of dishes you could pair together would be pizza, bbq, baked potato, burgers, and cheese.
Our thoughts: We liked this red wine because it wasn't too tart on the palate. The flavor of red fruits were strong but it also had a hint of sweetness. Their 2016 Montepulciano is the most popular bottle in the tasting room. You have to try it for yourself.
2. The Aglianico “alli-yawn-nico” is a full-bodied red wine with dominant flavors of white pepper, black cheery and spiced plum.
On the nose, you will notice aromas of fig and leather. Similar to Montepulciano, the Aglianico is red wine with high tannin and high acidity.
You want to pair this wine with food that are high in fat content. For meat lovers, you could match this wine with rich beef brisket or prime rib. For vegans, you want match this wine with umami, asian dishes, or tempeh.
Our thoughts: We like this wine because it was very rustic and earth-driven. The flavors and aromas of berries, truffle, nutmeg, dried oregano and tar were very pleasing!
If you are looking for a more intimate tasting experience, you can book a Tasting & Tour. This is exactly what we did! After the wine tasting, Marco led us through the facility and taught us about the 5 stages of the wine making process: Harvesting, crushing, fermentation, clarification and aging/bottling.
We found the aging/bottling process to be the most fascinating. At the final stage in the process, a winemaker could bottle the wine right away or give the wine additional aging. Further aging can be done in the bottles, stainless steel tanks, or oak barrels.
Aging the wine in oak barrels (see the picture above) will produce a smoother, rounder, and more vanilla flavored wine. It also increases wine’s exposure to oxygen, which decreases tannin and helps the wine reach its optimal fruitiness. Steel tanks (see the picture below) are commonly used for zesty white wines.
Do we recommend you visiting?
Absolutely! The Duchman Family Winery is one of the top Texas wineries you must visit this year. All their wines are made by 100% Texas grapes produced by 100% Texas farmers! How rare and cool is that?!
What do you think of this winery? Let us know in the comments!
Until Next Time,
“Your life is happening now. Make it amazing!”