From the beginning, our wines have been made only from Texas Hill Country grapes. Since 2011, all our wines, whatever the style, have been made exclusively from estate grown grapes harvested from LD3 Ranch Vineyard right there in front of the tasting room. In March 2018, the vines will be 18 years old. The vineyard is only 3 acres, hence our tiny production. Planted with Blanc du Bois and Black Spanish (also known as Lenoir and Jacquez), the soil is loamy clay, ranging from brun to more reddish. Reminiscent of the regions in South and Southwest France, layers of caliche and limestone impart recurring notes of razor minerality and rich earthiness.
Blanc du Bois is a hybrid grape that has Muscat in its parentage. It’s invitingly and refreshingly different. To us, it can have certain earmarks of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Viognier and an Alsatian Pinot Blanc all rolled into one. Still, at the end of the day, it is what it is: Blanc du Bois estate grown in the Texas Hill Country. Especially in tandem with our limestone-laden soil, its spicy, citrus notes pair beautifully with many cheeses, terrines, and fresh Gulf catch, particularly shellfish in our view. Blanc du Bois is quite versatile too. In addition to our dry, savory Petard Blanc, we’ve made fortified dessert wines from it, a Madeira-like wine and more recently, our take on an aperitif style wine.
Some say Black Spanish was brought to Texas by the Spanish in the mid-1500’s. Our research, however, leads us to follow the oft recognized theory that it was brought here in the late 1600s and early 1700s by French immigrants, most likely Huguenots, who settled in area of what is now Savannah, Georgia. Initial plantings ultimately failed, but along the way, cuttings were being taken each year, with plantings spreading to South Carolina and down further south. Eventually, whether by design or naturally, the original vine became hybridized with or by native vines. Happily, the native vines’ contribution was Black Spanish’s ultimate immunity or resistance to the deadly Pearce Disease which was probably what caused original plantings to ultimately die. Thomas Jefferson’s unsuccessful efforts with European cuttings at his beloved Monticello most likely failed for the same reason. As it has thusly evolved, we are very happy to continue the introduction Black Spanish for many reasons. First, again it is different and it’s own thing. It’s your choice. You want another so-so Cabernet just because it’s a grape familiar to you? Or do you want to try an outstanding, individualistic wine made from a grape unfamiliar to you (until just now)? Secondly, while not problem free, Black Spanish farming does not call for harsh chemical dependency to have a sporting shot at survival. By the way, our white grape, Blanc du Bois (above) is likewise immune or resistant to the deadly Pierce disease with the same happy result: clean, conscientious farming. Like Alicante Bouchet, it is a teinturier grape, meaning it has colored juice. Most red wine making grapes have clear or slightly salmon colored juice and get their color from extraction of pigments from skins during fermentation. Black Spanish extracts immense color from the skins as well, but already starting off with a vibrant raspberry colored juice, the resulting rich color is truly remarkable. Depending on how it is processed, Black Spanish can make a beautiful rosé, a savory, richly colored red or a deeply brooding Banyuls-Port style wine. Its rosé can also make an interesting Madeira like wine, as well aperitif style wines.