Rob Moshein - The Austin Wine Guy

What can be achieved in just 8 years?

May 30, 2009

Jason Englert at Grape Creek Vineyards posted this as a comment on my previous Austin Wine Festival Blog.

I can agree with you on the issue of some of the wineries pricing strategies. But don't forget, California over produces wine ever year and has to sell it on the open market. Texas, on the other hand, struggles to produce half of the needed grapes to supply all of the wineries. So yes, fruit, juice, and wine has to be imported into the state. Somebody must be buying the wine. The state wine industry is in a growth mode. We lack the vineyard/ winery research that other regions have enjoyed. Or growers have trouble deciding which root stocks to use in their vineyards because there has not been any ongoing research.

Now, Jason, I’m fully aware that California over produces wine, but any vineyard that buys wine/grapes from 1500 miles away to make their wine just can’t be taken seriously.  I feel the same way about wineries that import bulk juice from Australia and bottle the crap in Calfornia to sell in the market. I also sense from your comment that you seem content with the state of things “so somebody must be buying the wine.” Well, that makes you Blog 1, you are content with the way things are going, you think your product is just fine, can’t get better, so why take issue with blog 2?

Look, if Texas lacks the research other regions have enjoyed, why not do your own? If growers don’t know what rootstock to use, well, why not find comparable regions world wide and see what they use there?  Do the homework.

I guess I bring all of this up, because the Tuesday before the Festival, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Brice Cutrer Jones.  Brice was former owner and founder of Sonoma Cutrer.  You might know the wine.  After selling Sonoma Cutrer to Brown Forman in 1999, Brice decided he wanted to make Pinot Noir. So, he did his research.  Found out what climates and soils are best suited to Pinot Noir, He went to Burgundy and asked a lot of questions; in short, he did his homework himself.  He did his own research, lots of it.

He bought land in the Russian River Valley, because Pinot Noir does well there,  and scraped an old apple orchard clean, and planted Pinot Noir.  In 2005, he released Pinot Noir under the label Emeritus.

His 2006 Vintage, current release, are among the best Pinot Noirs I have had from Calfornia.  Complex flavors without density, attractive noses, and very much Burgundy in style.  Sophisticated wines, that are not pretentious, just well made and elegant.  The Russian River is a feminine style, with voluptuous fruit and a more elegant and delicate flavor strucure.  The William Wesley Sonoma Coast is a more masculine, earthy and bolder statement of Pinot Noir. They are clearly world class wines, and while not cheap, they compete easily at their $50-65 price point, delivering more than most California Pinot at the same price.

What does Emeritus and Brice have to to with the state of affairs in Texas?  My point here is this:  In just eight years, Brice Jones started with nothing, did his homework, did his research and created a winery, Emeritus, that now produces wines EASILY recognized for quality and highly competitive in the market..  What has Texas done in those same 8 years??  If Emeritus could do that in 8 years, why hasn’t Texas?


Rob Moshein

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Raves, rants, musings, ponderings and wine whines... trends, tasting notes, the Austin Wine Guy Rob Moshein shares his world of wine and thoughts about it with you.

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