Finally!

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Massive wardrobe of cowboy clothes
Top of my head to the tip of my toes
Ah you look so good in my hat with fringe on it
So put on my boots mmm doggone it
– Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmy Vaughan, Good Texan

In a previous life I worked as a stagehand for quite a few years. One time my best friend was working as the head electrician at a venue where Stevie Ray Vaughan was playing. This was an outdoor amphitheater at the Zoo which, while sometimes hosting rock or pop shows, usually was the home of the local symphony orchestra. As such, it was not really equipped to handle the power needs of a top rock act like Stevie Ray was at the time, so they brought in rented generators.

The touring electrician was very unhappy with this situation and, despite my friend’s assurances that this generator had been more than sufficient for many top-name acts over the years, he was getting angrier and more vocal about his perception that it would not work. The scene backstage was getting tense, possibly even ugly. Imagine angry Texans riling up increasingly angry guys from Toledo and Detroit. It was not pretty.

As tensions built Stevie Ray arrived for sound check. He quickly took stock of the situation, and with typical Texas charm, diffused the situation by asking my buddy for a tour of the Zoo. My friend, a huge SRV fan, quickly forgot the tension and happily commandeered a golf cart so that he could escort his hero around the grounds.

Just as they were about to pull away from the stage area the touring electrician came running up, and with a big grin on his face announced, “Shit boy, why didn’t you tell me that generator was made in Texas? That will work!” He slapped my friend on the back, and everything was right in the world.

I’ve always thought that story was very telling.

messina hof GewurztraminerI have tried Texas wines just about every chance that I have gotten. I do not seek them out, but when the opportunity arises, I give then a try. This is not a claim to being an expert, or even to have tried enough to be able to speak authoritatively about the wines of Texas, but I have tried to keep an open mind.

Up until now my quest to find an acceptable wine from my adopted state has been a bust. The ones I have tried ranged from undrinkable to decent. However, the decent ones typically are priced in a way that suggests that the wine maker is much more impressed with his handiwork than I am. Sorry, but I am not at all interested in paying premium prices for a decent local wine just because it was produced in Texas.

Yesterday Amy and I attended the 1st Houston Wine Conference. One of the wineries that poured was Messina Hof, so we headed straight to their booth before any of the others. We live here, and despite previous disappointments, we really want to find some local wine to like. After all, don’t we all want to take pride in the places where we spend our lives?

Having had a few Messina Hof wines, we were not expecting a lot. The wines we have tasted from them are pretty representative of what we think of as Texas wine, and it does not suit our palates at all. However, they do not slap Texas-sized prices on their wine. It is all very affordable. Since the old adage about hope springing eternal is quite true, we headed for their booth with our glasses outstretched, our minds wide open, and more that a little thirsty.

They asked what we would like to try and we selected their 2008 Gewurztraminer as the first sample. I have to admit that we were quite pleasantly surprised. It was bright, crisp, clean, refreshing and had no strange or off flavors. Quite frankly, it was easily the best Texas wine that we have ever tasted.

Gewurztraminer is generally a very highly perfumed wine with an almost oily texture. It is almost unctuous sometimes. The Messina Hof version did not really fit that flavor profile, but it was quite tasty anyway. While a Gewurztraminer purist might find serious fault with this wine, I found it to be very drinkable.

Maybe this is a grape that grows well in Texas. It might not taste like the original, but that can be okay. Sangiovese only tastes “right” when grown in Italy, but the varieties grown in California and elsewhere can be delicious in their own right. That is how I see this wine.

Messina Hof Gewurztraminer retails for $11.00. That’s a Texas-sized bargain in my opinion.

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  • http://www.wineclubgift.com/ Wine Club Gift

    Messina Hof is owned by one of the most colorful couples in the world of wine. When it comes to outlandish outfits, Paul Bonarrigo is in a class by himself. When folks refer to him as “the Italian peacock,” he smiles with delight. To me, he resembles a New Jersey guy who fell in love with the outfits worn by Indian Maharajas. His wife Merrill is more conservative, but you can always spot her wearing a trademark western hat.

  • http://www.wineclubgift.com/ Wine Club Gift

    Messina Hof is owned by one of the most colorful couples in the world of wine. When it comes to outlandish outfits, Paul Bonarrigo is in a class by himself. When folks refer to him as “the Italian peacock,” he smiles with delight. To me, he resembles a New Jersey guy who fell in love with the outfits worn by Indian Maharajas. His wife Merrill is more conservative, but you can always spot her wearing a trademark western hat.