Wine of the Week

Inwood Estates

Wine of the Week

Inwood Estates Vineyards is a winery in Dallas, owned and operated by Dan Gatlin. When I first met him, he had both the haggard look and the curmudgeonly demeanor of Neil Young. He didn't even want to talk to me because he was afraid of two things. First, he didn't want people to know that his wine was from Texas; he thought folks would automatically dis it for its provenance. But what really scared him was the possibility that people would find out how good his wine is, and there'd be a rush on his small production.

Over the last few months, Gatlin has mellowed. I think it's because he's made peace with being a part of the Texas wine business, plus he has survived the good press and word-of-mouth. Mostly, though, I think it's because he's proud of the response his wines are receiving, especially from a core group of Texas retailers and restaurateurs who are actively championing the Inwood Estates' cause.

Gatlin starts with grapes normally grown in Spain. He wasn't the first to choose hot-weather-loving Spanish grapes for the Texas climate, but he's the winner in one area. People are paying premium prices for his wine, and they're coming back for more and more.

Now, usually I like to tell you about great bargains in the wine world. But just because a wine is expensive doesn't mean it isn't a bargain. Gatlin's Tempranillo-Cabernet costs about $38. If that sounds like a lot for Texas wine (see why he was concerned about being lumped in?), understand that Gatlin always travels with a bottle of Clos de l'Obac Priorat, one of Spain's best red wines, and at $60 a bottle, it's 57% more than Inwood's Tempranillo-Cab. He invites people to take a taste of both and pick the winner. I've done it (I picked the Inwood wine), and I've watched dozens of others do it. He seldom loses.

With the holiday season coming up, see about stretching the budget to try this wine. We should all be excited that Texas now has a dozen or so wines in the $30-40 range that rank with the best. Fall Creek's Meritus, Llano Estacado's Viviano, and La Cruz de Comal's Cohete Rojo Prestige have been the standard-bearers for a while. We can now add Inwood Estates' Tempranillo-Cabernet to that list.

Available at both Central Markets, Whole Foods Central, and Reuben's on North Research.

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