2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill County

2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Hye, Texas Hill Country.

47% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 15% Maurvedre, 6% Tannat.

Nose is all terroir up front with a dusty, clay-like leather. Hints of zest and cola. Touch of plum and dark cherry that slowly develop a subtle honey beeswax essence. A faint touch of herbal eucalyptus notes. As it opens up, a prominent smokey cocoa emerges.

Body is beautifully balanced. Greeting with a gentle acidic attack, dressed in a soft, silky mouth feel. This draws a nice subtle tension across a supple body. Notes of under-ripe dark cherry, plums are nicely complemented by a subtle buttery oak vanilla. Hints of banana peel and cola so faint you’d likely miss them. This whole melange slowly fades across the palate leaving behind a slowly intensifying grip and hint of spice.

What a gorgeous wine. This has to be one of the top 3 GSM blends I’ve had yet. Very nicely executed from its components down to their respective vineyards. Even in a side-by-side tasting against some of the top GSMs in my cellar, it really showcases the the high level of the winemaking program at William Chris. The work Chris and his team do cannot be overstated. Nicely done guys!

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2018 Mourvedre by William Chris Vineyards, Texas

Tonight’s Occasion: 2018 Mourvedre (Texas High Plains) by William Chris Vineyards, Hye, Texas Hill Country.

Slightly opaque color. Unfiltered. Out of the bottle bright ripe dark cherries and plum fill the air along with dusty dirt terroir. There’s a bit of a rocky somewhat granitic essence. Not sure if this is a play between dirt and fruit. It is quite pleasant, resulting in hints of red vines licorice. Swirling vigorously intensifies the nose very nicely. As it breathes, faint grassy notes along with cola emerge in the back.

The body is ushered in by a slightly acidic attack, immediately drawing good tension across the palate. A slightly silky body follows immediately. It is. Light if not somewhat restrained compared to most Mourvedre which tend to be on the big, heavy monolithic end of the spectrum. A good dose of oak complements and further accentuates the bright fruit in this otherwise fairly dry wine. A grassy old wood leather moves forward midway through. As the body fades it gives way to a bitter cola which lingers well past the finish. Tannins are fully integrated in the form of a fine dusty suspension that does not precipitate, slowly coating and rendering the lips parched. A touch of spice warmth punctuates the experience. Pairing with salami (cured meats) and tart cheeses really highlights the fruit and vanilla. Fun!

Mourvedre is a terroir driven varietal and this one is faithful. It feels raw, oddly familiar but at the same time different. Rich fruit notes, prominent terroir, light, tight if not firm. This winemaker offers a great glimpse into how this varietal expressed in this region. I now remember why this one stood out of their eye watering lineup of amazing wines. Nicely done Chris!

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2017 Tannat by William + Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill Country

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Tannat (Hye Estate) by William + Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill Country.

Dark intense ruby color. Out of the bottle, nose is slightly restrained. This is a Tannat and as expected, that signature dry dark plum greets. This is followed closely by ripe blackberries. In the back, a buttery almost shortcake lingers interspersed with a smokey wood essence. First thing that comes to mind is “Texas Brisket!”. It’s a bit haunting in its expression. Swirling vigorously unleashes a veritable symphony of notes. Ripe dark cherries, more blackberries, a bold thick leathery essence, red vines licorice and dirt. … Oh Boy! The nose on this is AMAZING!!!

A creamy, slightly weighted viscous body greets the palate immediately. Little of the fruit carries forward other than some blackberry and black currants. A subtle bitter cola permeates. For a Tannat, it appears mild mannered at first blush. But as it breathes, dark, bold, dusty tannins start to dominate every aspect of the experience, providing a firm but loosely bound granular structure. Leather plays second fiddle. Finish?? I have no idea. Let’s ask the incessant, massive, dry, dusty tannic grip holding my parched lips shut. This is the show you came to see and you’d be foolhardy to expect anything else.

You don’t drink this wine. It drinks you. If you’re lucky, it won’t spit you out. This wine has so many years, perhaps even decades of vibrant life ahead of it. For as young as it is, it is very expressive and rich. I keep wondering what this Tannat would look like 10 years from now. This is a Gem. Get it now and forget about it. I’ll be expecting an invitation. To Chris and the entire crew at William Chris, nicely done folks!

My good friend and fellow Texan WineSnob, Jenn brought me a bottle of their Tempranillo this summer. Check out her guest review on WineSnob. After reviewing the William Chris Tempranillo on here I knew I absolutely had to visit this winemaker. not long after I was on my way to Austin, TX to explore wine country with Jenn. Our visit to William Chris did not disappoint. It exceeded my wildest expectations. The warmth, hospitality and shared enthusiasm for the art form, legacy, terroir and pride in craftsmanship was refreshing. We spent our entire day at the winery. I couldn’t have hoped for a better host than our Sommelier Francisco. He was a veritable wellspring of knowledge not just about the wines but the estate, winery, vineyards, their long history and the region at large. Oh, and the Charcuterie was to die for! Stay tuned for a WineSnob TV segment on my visit.

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2017 Tempranillo by William Chris, Texas High Plains

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Tempranillo (Last Draw Vineyards) by William Chris, Texas High Plains

Dark, semi-opaque color appears unfiltered. Not surprising the nose greets with leathery essence of wet wood and damp fine almost loamy sand soil with hints of granite. Restrained plum skins submit to this terroir expression, almost becoming secondary. An unmistakable licorice is clearly secondary. Swirling vigorously unleashes a punch of licorice, slightly ripe dark cherries, spice and wet soil. Let it sit a moment and pick up a minty eucalyptus herbal essence. A banana peel lingers so faint you’d likely miss it. Impressive.

Body greets with a punch of acidity in the attack. Plums lazily roll in, bringing good balance and structure. Shortly after, ripe dark cherries and a touch of oak vanilla bring volume and a warm soft mouth feel. A spice heat then emerges to dominate the experience gradually intensifying through transition to finish. This has the effect of raising the heart rate and warming the chest. The palate is left under an endless rotation of tingling spice, firm tannic grip, bitter cola and slight palate watering effect likely due to minerality.

This is a powerful Tempranillo. Highly terroir driven. Bold in its expression. It feels a bit wild, untamed, pure, an exercise in fundamentals. This wine should keep the intermediate to advanced palate occupied for a while. Well done!

Thank you sharing this gem off the beaten path with me Jenn.

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