Bending Branch Makes White Wines, Too

One of Texas’ best hides on their list

Robert Young and John Rivenburgh make great white wines, too (Photo courtesy of Margaret Shugart and The Wine Roads of Texas)

Unless you have lived in Uruguay for the last two decades, you might have missed one of the great red wine grapes currently experiencing a worldwide reawakening.

Certainly the customers at Bending Branch Winery from over near Comfort, Texas, have helped push the comeback of Tannat with their exceptional versions of the wine ($30-40). In fact, their name has become synonymous with Tannat in Texas. Their magic extends into other reds as well, particularly an Old Vine Petit Sirah ($40). Bending Branch also joins a roster of Texas wineries making remarkable Cabernet Sauvignon ($32) from Texas’ own Grand Cru vineyard, Newsom Vineyard outside of Plains, Texas – just 15 miles from the New Mexico border.

But we recently had the chance to taste a white wine from their list. For a winery so rooted in reds, we had unfairly low expectations of their white wines, and we were altogether wrong. Their Estate Cuvée Blanc is a blend of 60% Picpoul Blanc, 20% Roussanne, and 20% Vermentino ($38) and its quality level maintains the house’s tradition. The acidic Picpoul and smooth Roussanne work together beautifully. And as has already been proven by the good folks at Duchman Winery, Texas can produce absolutely world-class Vermentino. Put it all together and you have an excellent wine for holiday dishes like turkey or fish or especially rich vegetarian entrées.

While I find the $38 price tag a bit painful, when I compare it to wines in the same quality category from the Old World, it seems about right. In terms of French wines, it is right up there quality-wise with a good version of a white Bordeaux or a Rhône white like a Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. Those wines can run anywhere from $35 to $200 a bottle. So yes, $38 is distressing, but it’s also quite defendable. If it fits your budget, Bending Branch’s Estate Cuvée Blanc is very highly recommended.

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