February 24, 2023


The Judgement of San Francisco
California wines were an unknown until The Judgment of Paris in 1976 when unknown California wines were judged against the BEST French wines by a distinguished panel of French wine judges. A Newsweek Reporter by the name of George Taber covered what journalists called a “nothing event” since everyone knew the French Wines under French wine judges would beat the persnicketies off these unknown California wines. Chateau Montelena Chardonnay took top white wine and Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon took top red. Taber’s eight-paragraph article in his magazine opened the world to California wines.
Fast forward to January, 2023 in San Francisco in what many believe is America’s Wine City of choice. The San Francisco Chronicle hosts a well-respected wine competition using mostly California Wine Judges. Twelve unknown Texas wines took top varietal wines besting those well-known California wines. This is BIG since these unknowns from Texas beat out the BEST that California had to offer. Those TWELVE included:
• Becker Vineyards 2019 Malbec with grapes from Tallent Vineyards
• Becker Vineyard 2018 Primavera (red grape blend)
• Cedar Hollow Winery and Vineyard Amarone
• Driftwood Estate Winery 2022 Dry Rose (blend)
• Driftwood Estate Winery 2019 Syrah
• Driftwood Estate Winery 2019 Alamo Red (red blend)
• English Newsom 2021 Viognier
• Messina Hof Winery 2018 Sagrantino Paulo
• Perissos Vineyards and Winery 2021 Picpoul Blanc
• Portree Cellars 2021 Fiano
• Reddy Vineyards 2020 Tempranillo
• Starla WinesNV Sparkling Rose
Texas wines also earned 22 Double Gold Medals and 46 Gold Medals. This special recognition by the panels of California wine judges parallels the conclusions of those French wine judges in 1976. This recognition is outstanding, especially in light that Texas’ first winery since the end of Prohibition started in 1976 when the Judgement of Paris occurred. California wineries immediately re-started in 1933 when Prohibition ended providing California with 43 years to get it right for the 1976 Judgment of Paris. By 2005, Texas had 50 wineries. This slow growth evolved into an 11 billion dollar industry. Both the quantity and quality of Texas wines has increased over the last 47 years into a Texas wine industry that the world can appreciate as a producer of outstanding wines.
Texas wines are now more readily available in stores like SPEC’s and HEB than ten years ago. Shelf space in those stores for Texas wines now exceeds shelf space for French wines. Those Texas wines have to be mass produced to provide the thousands of cases required by those stores in order to have shelf space in those stores. The BEST Texas wines are found in the local wineries all over Texas with those hand-crafted wines being of superior quality than those wines found in those retail stores. In addition, you need to have inexpensive wines on those store shelves like Becker’s Iconclast Wine series for under nine dollars a bottle. To find the really great Texas wines, go to the wineries where these boutique wines that are handcrafted are sold. Those $30 bottles of Texas wines will compare to those $80 bottles of prestigious Napa wines.
I hope that you as the wine consumer realize that Texas wineries make some of the BEST wines in the Country. Those TOP wines are found mostly at those Texas wineries, with the lesser quality wines (whether from Texas or California) found in stores like HEB. That doesn’t mean those wines are not good. We enjoy a Becker Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah red blend as our daily wine for around twelve dollars a bottle. We hold out for the outstanding, more expensive Texas wines for special occasions!

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