Weekend Wine: William Chris Wines

Three Texas wines worth tasting this weekend

Every once in a while I get the chance to taste through some Texas wines and inevitably, I discover some excellent choices. I was recently able to try six of William Chris Vineyards’ wines from lovely downtown Hye.

Three of their wines popped out as really special versions of Texas wine. There was a white, the Lost Draw Cellars Texas High Plains Picpoul Blanc ($35) that tasted absolutely nothing like any Picpoul from France. This wine was thick and intense, with aromas of wet rocks and stone fruits. It would be a great wine to have with fried Gulf shrimp.

The second wine was a rosé with a Grower Project ($25) label made from Pinot Meunier grown at Letkeman Vineyard in Seminole, Tex. Pinot Meunier is usually used for richness in sparkling wines and seldom seen as a single varietal. This is dynamite wine with an uncharacteristic but tasty acidity and a substantial amount of fruitiness. Have it as a fun drink to pour for a party starter or serve it with a slow-cooked pork shoulder.

Finally, and most expensive of the bunch, is Lost Draw Cellars Tempranillo ($54), 85% of which is from Wildseed Farms Vineyard in the petite AVA called Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country with the other 15% coming from Parr Vineyards in the Texas Hill Country AVA. Again, don’t expect anything like a Spanish version. This wine is closer to a California Merlot in its intensity and roundness. You can most definitely expect red teeth when you finish this bottle. I would have it with a steak and baked potato, where the wine’s tannins could really work some magic.

Astute readers might ask why they should spend so much on Texas wines when they can get Spanish and French versions for far less. I can give you two responses. First, these don’t taste like the old world versions, so they are really hard to compare. Second, I think you should try an experiment. Choose a Texas wine like the Lost Draw Cellars Picpoul Blanc and then go to an old world specialist like the Austin Wine Merchant and buy a French Picpoul. Leave both in a bag and make sure no one, yourself included, knows which is which. Then taste and pick your favorite. Do the same with the Grower Project rosé and a French rosé. Or the Lost Draw Cellars Tempranillo and a Spanish Reserva or Gran Reserva Rioja. You’ll learn about which wines you prefer and be able to make a proper determination about how to spend your hard-earned money. Bottoms up!

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Wes Marshall
Weekend Wine: A $12 Gem from France
Weekend Wine: A $12 Gem from France
White Luberon for a Texas summer

May 26, 2023

Weekend Wine: Becker's Provençal Rosé
Weekend Wine: Becker's Provençal Rosé
A versatile, food-friendly rosé to welcome spring

April 28, 2023


William Chris, Grower Project, Picpoul Blanc, Tempranillo, Pinot Meunier, Rioja, Lost Draw Cellars, Hill Country wines


Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle