Happy Texas Wine Month! I’m continuing my month-long celebration of Texas wine. On this episode, I’ve got an interview with Jessica Dupuy about her impressive new book The Wines of the Southwest: A guide to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. Jessica lets her wine opinions be known! PREACH! And then I’m getting political. Well, not really. I’m just reviewing the book Wine and the White House: A History and looking for clues about how U.S. Presidents with ties to the Lone Star State drank wine (or didn’t) in the White House. Which Texas wines have been served at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? What did LBJ drink? How about the Bushes? And let’s not forget Denison-born Dwight D Eisenhower. Finally, I’m drinking the Llano Estacado Winery 1836 Red that is part of the State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon Selection case.
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Mentioned in this Episode
Texas Wine In the News
Interview with Jessica Dupuy
Go to www.jessicadupuy.com to buy the new book The Wines of Southwest U.S.A: A Guide to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado. Same price as the big box stores, and you get a higher quality copy and get it signed! Makes a great gift!
Follow Jessica on Instagram at jessicandupuy and join her IG Lives!
Wine and the White House: A History by Frederick J Ryan Jr.
To order, CLICK HERE.
What I'm Drinking
2017 Llano Winery 1836 Red
This wine is only available in restaurants.
It's not too lat to purchase the State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon Wine Selections case!
Link to purchase
Shelly's Wine Education Website:
Thanks to Texas Wine Lover for promotional help. For the latest information on Texas wineries and vineyards, visit Texas Wine Lover!
(This transcript is provided to assist the deaf and hard of hearing. It was prepared using an automated transcription service with minimal human editing. Please confirm quotes or important facts before reprint. If anything is unclear, please let me know, and I will clarify. If this transcription is helpful to you, please send feedback! Email Shelly at email@example.com. Also please see Show Notes for links to stories and news discussed in this episode.)
Shelly Wilfong:Welcome to This is Texas Wine. I'm Shelly Wilfong, a wine educator, writer and Texas wine enthusiast. On this podcast, we take a deep dive into the Texas wine industry. I review Texas wine news and bring you the information, education and interviews you need to be a more informed Texas wine drinker. Thank you for joining me on this Texas wine journey. This is Episode 12.
Happy Texas Wine Month. I'm continuing my month long celebration of all things Texas wine. On this episode, I've got an interview with Jessica Dupuy about her impressive new book, The Wines of the Southwest: A Guide to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. And then I'm going to get political. Well, not really. I'm just reviewing the book Wine and the White House: A History and looking for clues about how presidents with ties to the Lone Star State drank or didn't in the White House. Which Texas wines have been served at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? What did LBJ drink and how about the Bushes? Let's not forget Dennison-born Dwight D. Eisenhower. Finally, I'm drinking the Llano Estacado Winery 1836 Red that was part of the State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon Selection case. This wine was just named The Best of Show Texas Red Wine by the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Wine Competition. But first, let's take a look at the Texas Wine News.
Effective October 14th, Texas wineries that had been shut down because of the pandemic were finally able to reopen again in most places, according to a memo posted by Governor Abbott's office. The county judge of each county could choose to opt in or out with the TABC to allow bars or similar establishments to operate with in person service. In some counties like Dallas and Harris, the county judges have declined to opt in. Patrick Whitehead, the president of the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association and the Texas Winery PAC board member said, “We've made clear that our businesses can safely reopen, and we're grateful for the opportunity to throw open our doors once again to Texans ready to taste and buy Texas wine.”
William Chris Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars have merged. These two organizations have a shared vision and set of values, and this merger is an evolution in a long history of close partnerships between Chris Brundrett and Andrew Sides. They've already founded Yes We Can Wine Sway Rose, Texas's First Texas-grown canned wine brand. And now, although their brands will maintain separate winemakers and portfolios, their merger will allow both operations to leverage an expanded array of tools to make wine more efficiently for their collective fans. They'll also be able to expand benefits across the teams, including comprehensive health insurance, wine education programs and personal development training, the press release says. They've been talking about this move for a few years. Of course, both wineries are leaders in producing 100% Texas grown wines. The merger will result in a new parent company, William Chris Wine Company. In addition to Brundrett and Sides, who will take the lead on all day to day operations for the company, the founding partners Bill Blackmon of William Chris Vineyards, along with Andy Timmons and Troy Ottmers of Lost Draw Cellars, will continue to hold advisory roles within the organization. Be sure to watch the Facebook Live on Saturday, October 24th at 4 p.m. when Chris Brundrett and Andrew Sides will be together talking about a great lineup of wines for Texas Wine Month in a virtual special edition tasting.
Houstonia magazine is reporting a new Texas themed restaurant that will showcase Texas's meat culture. This is a partnership between Houston's richest restauranteur and Texas's largest ranch, King Ranch. This will be called King Ranch Texas Kitchen and will be opening before the end of the year in Houston. This sounds like great news, but what I found disturbing in this press release is the claim that King Ranch Texas Kitchen also boasts that at least 10% of its wine list will come from the Lone Star State. Wait what? Boasting about at least 10% of the wine list coming from the Lone Star State? That seems like a wimpy number to me. Perhaps you agree. I really wish they’d take a play from the Cabernet Grill playbook. I wish they would go 100% Texas on their wine list, or at least lean significantly into Texas. Don't claim to be all about Texas and then have a 90% “other” wine list.
There's great news for San Antonio wine lovers. Rerouted 210 is San Antonio's first ever urban winery, and it will open soon in the Hemisfair. Jennifer Beckmann is the brains behind this new endeavor, and you may know her from her time at the Slate Mill Wine Collective. She's opening a casual, modern space that includes a patio. There she’ll be offering wine produced by Slate Mill. The inaugural lineup will include seven wines on tap. She's got to whites, a rose, and four reds, and she'll be offering the wines in keg. In an article in the San Antonio Current, Jennifer said, “It'll be like a filling station in Europe where people come up to fill a growler of everyday drinking wine. We want to encourage people to take this wine home and drink it. That's what it's for and then come back every few days and get a refill. Wine should be fun. It should be enjoyed alongside the in house brand of draft and bottled wine. Rerouted 210 will offer an array of wines from around the state. Beckmann says she wants to shine a spotlight on vintners making world class products while offering a different marketing and identity perspective on Texas wine.” I can't wait to visit!
In her new article for Forbes.com, Michelle Williams talks about the innovation happening in the Texas wine industry. From planting new varieties to new winemaking technology, there's a lot going on in Texas. Michelle highlights a whopping 18 Texas red wines. This article is the red wine complement to the white wine version that she wrote a few weeks ago. I'll mention just a few of the wines that I think maybe a little less familiar to listeners. One is the 2017 Kerrville Hills Rustic Spur Vineyard Tannat from the Texas Hill Country. Every Texas wine lover should know about Tannat! Next is the 2019 La Valentia Rhone blend. This is a new label from Rae Wilson of Wine For the People. Rae also has Dandy Rose and Dandy Bubbles. This wine is 70% Carignane, with equal percentages of Mourvedre, Garnache and Counoise. It's not released yet, but it will be very soon, and I was able to taste a sample and found it quite delicious. Next is the 2017 Tatum Salt Lick Vineyards Mourvedre from the Texas Hill Country. I haven't tried this yet, but I've heard great things about Tatum wines and I'm anxious to try. I encourage you to check out this article as well as Michelle's article on white wines, and I'll link to both of those in the show notes.
The Texas Wine Lover Website recently published the results from the 2020 San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo Wine Competition. Here are some of the top winners. The best of show Texas red wine was the 2017 Llano Estacado Winery 1836 Red. The best of show white wine was the 2019 Adelphos Cellars Old Friends White Blend from the High Plains and the best of show Rose was the 2019 Adega Vinho Rose of Tempranillo from the High Plains. There are so many Texas winners, so I'm only going to name the double gold medal winners. For the listing of all the winners, be sure and visit TXwinelover.com.
The top of class Viognier winner is the Bent Oak Winery’s Texas Viognier from 2019 and the top of class winner for red blends is the Bingham Family Vineyards Dugout from 2017. Also winning double gold, Fiesta Winery’s Sangiovese from the High Plains from 2018, the Longhorn Cellar’s Alicante Bouchet, Crimson Ridge Vineyards from 2016, the Lucky Vines Vineyards Montepulciano from 2018, Bending Branch Petite Sirah from Newsom Vineyards, the Haak Thomas Jefferson Jacquez Madeira from 2016, and finally, the Llano Winery Cellars Select Port NV. And that is the Texas wine news.
Did you know that it's possible to buy me a glass of Texas wine? Details are on my website at thisisTexaswine.com. Click the Support the Podcast tab. Also, I have a fun giveaway that I'm sending out to people who sign up for my monthly email newsletter. It's a Texas wine quiz, and it has the answers included so that you can check yourself in just 10 questions. You can identify if you're a Texas wine expert, and if you're ready to go to work in a winery tasting room. Sign up for the newsletter on the website. That's www.thisistexaswine.com. You'll see the button for newsletter. Sign up now.
On to our main segment. It was my pleasure to get to speak with Jessica Dupuy about her newest book, The Wines of Southwest USA: A guide to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. I've learned so much from reading Jessica's writing about Texas wine over the years, and I've had the opportunity to hear her speak at TEXSOM a few times, too. Jessica is a freelance journalist who has been writing about Texas wine. She's had a long stent at Texas Monthly, and she's been writing about Texas wine for them since about 2007. She's also a certified sommelier, a certified specialist of wine, an advanced certificate holder from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. And now she's studying for her Diploma. She's the author of several other books, including Uchi: The Cookbook, The Salt Lick Cookbook and several others. I really enjoyed getting to catch up with Jessica to learn more about the process of putting together this book and what she's learned over the years about Texas wine. I love hearing her take on what Texas wine needs to do next to continue making progress. Boy, it sounds like Arizona is really making some great wine, too, and that was a major take away for me reading this book. Not that it's a competition, but kind of. Okay, without further ado, here's Jessica.
Shelly Wilfong: Well, first of all, congratulations on your new book. This is quite an undertaking. The Wines of Southwest USA: A guide to New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Colorado. And for listeners, you need to understand that this is a fairly thick book and it is for wine connoisseurs. I would say this is the definitive guide. I have to imagine that there has never been anything like this put together.
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, certainly not for the Southwest, right? Like because in different parts of the region, it's they're still it's still emerging. You know, Texas has definitely had some books over time, you know, from the 1990s all the way to now, we've had a few different guides put out, but in different ways, you know? So this was a kind of a specific assignment that needed to cover things in a certain way. So I hope it just adds to what's out there already.
Shelly Wilfong: And for people who might not be familiar with Classic Wine Library. Can you talk a little bit about how this kind of fits into their overall portfolio?
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, so the Classic Wine Library is a pretty neat. Well, okay, I should say this. It's through Infinite Ideas Publishing, which puts out the Classic Wine library, which has put that whole library together. And so what's neat about it is, you know, especially to date everything that they have put out. Every book they've put out has been about, you know, an iconic wine region like Chablis and Burgundy. And they've done, you know, the winds of Greece. The wines of Georgia. Some in the New World like Jim Clark just released South Africa. We have New Zealand. But to date, they hadn't yet done anything on Americas so the idea was to put together something a whole series of American books. In this case, they wanted to start with the ones of the Southwest. Because in a lot of ways, this is really where it all began for Vitis vinifera, which we could get into in just a minute. But the people who typically write these books are people who are masters of wine or specific experts in the industry, Um, for those particular regions. And so, um, it's pretty humbling. And I will tell you at the beginning, kind of like I was incredulous that people were gonna let me write this book. I mean, I've been covering Texas wine for over a decade, but it was a big undertaking. Um, not only just because of the geographic size, but because I wanted this to represent all of it. Well, and, um so I'm excited I got to do it, but I definitely I was a little trepidatious also.
Shelly Wilfong: it is a huge geographic region, but I do think that you're probably the perfect person for this because I know that you have a history and background in history. And so I and that really shows through. Um, just if people haven't had an opportunity to look at the book there for each of those four states that is covered, we've got sections on the history of the state history of wine in that state climate, geology, the wine growing regions, the grapes that air grown and challenges like weather and disease. And then you cover selected producers and places to dine and places to stay. So to give you an example of what I found to be just incredible detail was the section on caliche soils, and I've heard that term 1000 times. But I've never read an entire page in a wine book about not only what that means, but what are the drawbacks. And what are the positive benefits at the same time to that particular soil type? And where else in the world might that be found? So I'm guessing that you had to do an incredible amount of research on a very wide variety of topics to put this book together. How long did this take you?
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, so cheating a little bit in that I have been … we've talked about like I've covered Texas wine for Texas Monthly for a long time … over 10 years and then have done some stories for the Guilt of Sommeliers on Arizona and Colorado. So I had at least kind of my foundation for how I wanted to attack it. But then, yes, I am not a geologist, nor am I a chemist or a viticulturist, although I'm starting to study all of that now in more in depth, but I really just had to lean on my reporting skills…masters in journalism. That's what I've been doing. So I look to the people who are the experts. And so it was a lot of interviews. It was a lot of reading, but then also trying to sift through all of that and put it together in a cohesive narrative that people could understand. I mean, yes, this is a book for people who are wine enthusiasts. But I didn't want to, like, you know, bore everybody, you know, two paragraphs in.
Shelly Wilfong: It was fascinating. It hit just the right note. If you're interested in wine and also in history and weather patterns and you know, I also loved the detail on the geological features of Texas. So that part always trips me up just a little. What's the difference in you know, I understand the kind of mesa, but exactly what is the Llano uplift or the all the different terms?
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah. Are you asking me that right now?
Shelly Wilfong: No, no, I'm just glad I have a reference.
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, well, that's actually funny; because we talk about the Llano Estacado all the time on we just call it that, right? Just the Llano Estacado. It's just slang for us, and I think that it was really important. Um, you know, as I looked through the geology of the region as a whole. So Colorado, you know, New Mexico, Arizona. Less so because of where it sits in the whole Rocky Mountain formation. But if you think about it like the Rocky Mountains, the tail tiny end of the Rocky Mountains does end technically in Texas, just barely at the Guadalupe Mountains. And but then when we talk about the Llano Estacado, we don't really think about what that is. And I'm always amazed because I travel a lot now for wine to different regions of the world. Pre covid where I always like Oh, well, we grow that and they'll be like you grow grapes in Texas and you know, I'll be like, Yeah, actually, we have really great, you know, a great climate for it, particularly in the area where we have a higher elevation and they're like they just don't understand. It just doesn't compute. So when I go into it, I'm like, yeah, actually we've got, you know, 3500 ft and 4000 ft. Course that I have to translate that into meters because, of course, we're the only people that use feet. Um, but it's always kind of a revelation to people. And I felt like, you know, particularly because the publisher for this book is based in the UK I felt like it really needed some explanation, and it actually helped me appreciate the geology of Texas a lot more. So bringing in the Edwards Plateau, the Balcones Escarpment, understanding how they all are really interconnected even between the whole country and the high plains. Um and yeah, it's really important.
Shelly Wilfong: Well, I learned a lot, and it's not something that's going to stick in my brain after one reading, but I'm glad to have it as a reference book on my shelf, for sure. Yeah, and I also learned some new words. Like I think of the word during winemaking as to acidify a wine. But you say acidulate. Is that the word? Is that what I'm supposed to be saying?
Jessica Dupuy: so this is this is really fascinating. You know, like this is my technically my seventh book to publish. Most of my other books are cookbooks, Um, but because this book, my editor was from the UK and again, that's where the publisher is. All of the books that are published in the classic wine library are from a UK perspective. So it's edited in like the Queen's English, right, like so that is what they say, you know, and then dispelling, you'll notice to like instead of color. C o L o r at c o L O U R So all those little bitty nuances are very different. But yes, acidulate would be the correct term in that case.
Shelly Wilfong: Okay, Well,like I said, I learned something new. So you have been doing wine writing in Texas for a long time, and I noticed in the book that you said you wanted to thank Denise Clarke for encouraging you to do that. So that's great. You've seen a tremendous amount of change in this industry, and I thought that one of the interesting points for me was the way that you talked about the different wine regions and the things that they all share is emerging wine regions, but then also what each region has done particularly well. In my previous consulting brain, I'm thinking, Okay, what are the best practices? Let's start. How do we emulate what they're doing? And but, of course, Texas is a unique region all its own, and it's a lot larger in terms of vineyard acres planted than the others. You've already got a great head start on Texas, but you had to do some travel to get to these other spots. I know.
Jessica Dupuy: Yes, uh, road tripping. It was a great year for road tripping, and this is actually pre covid. But yes, um, I spent a lot of time kind of just driving, you know, just being able to see the region's really, really helped put things in perspective. And I think a perfect example of that was Colorado because, you know, all my life I've been going to Colorado, to the mountains, right to somewhere between you know Buena Vista. I know it's going to vista, but they say, you know, Vista there just so you know, all the way up through, You know, the ski towns and everything like that. But I honestly had never been, and I've been to Grand Junction, but I had never been the Grand Valley. And so we drove there over a year ago now, and I just I don't think anything could have really prepared me for how unique that that region is on gun. I had been to Mesa Verde when I was a kid to the to the national park to see, um, everything there. But I'd never of course at that age, right? You don't consider that that could be a wine-growing region. So down in the four corners where they grow wine in Colorado is also really, really unique. Arizona. And you know, of course, there's a lot of cactus there. Um, but a lot of Arizona look like some other parts of the world that I've already been to in, uh, in Italy and in southern France. The hill country kind of mimics a lot of southern France, particularly in the Provence area. Um, but I think, you know, seeing you know, the red rocks and all just the different geology and topography. It was just it was key to being able to put everything in perspective and in context for the book.
Shelly Wilfong: You definitely paint the picture. And I know that you were into fly-fishing, So I'm guessing you didn't mind all the trips out to Colorado.
Jessica Dupuy: No, I don't mind that, ever.
Shelly Wilfong: So when you started a Texas Monthly in 2007, do you recall what your some of your earliest assignments were? What was kind of the tone and what was the what was the interest that you got from readers on this initial stories and then and then kind of talk us through how you see that? Um, how has that changed over the past 13 years? What have been some kind of key moments for you and considering your journey as the Texas wine writer?
Jessica Dupuy: You know, I think, um, you know, when I first started in that first assignment I ever got from Texas monthly was basically can you go see if there's something worth writing about? And I actually So I'm glad you brought up Denise Clarke. I have to credit her with that, and at the time she was a PR person for TDA. She was helping TDA with all of the wine programs that they were doing. This was over 10 years ago. Um, but she had already she had kind of zeroed in on me as a writer with Texas Monthly, but was like, Hey, um, maybe you should do this. And so when I got the when I got the assignment from Pat Sharpe, who is the food editor for Texas Monthly, she said, You should contact this lady, Denise Clarke, because she keeps emailing me about Texas wine. And I don't do wine. That's not me. That I don't I'm not going to get into it. I'm going to stick with food. So yeah, she said you should contact Denise Clarke and see if she can help you get on the right track. And so that's really where I actually even first met. Denise was through an assignment, and, um so we went to a few different places. This was over a period of time, and one of the times that we were driving out, I believe it was to Jim and Karen Johnson's place, Alamosa Cellars, which, uh, is, you know, even though Alamosa Cellars is still not there. The vineyard is still going strong. Um, she said, Why doesn't you know if Texas this is when blogging was all getting started and all of that stuff? And she was like, Why doesn't Texas Monthly do just an online thing like Maybe like a regular check in on different profiles or different things that are going on? And I was like, She's like nobody's covering it in the state right now on that level, Um And so anyway, I have to hand it to her persistence because, like, I don't know, I guess I could bring it up to my editor. She's like, Do it. And then, like a week later, she's like, did you do it? Did you bring it up and s? Oh, there you go. I did bring it up and I was approved to do it, and I've been doing it ever since. And so it has been a fun journey, and I definitely owe it to someone who just wasn't afraid. to ask that question and try to make it happen. So, yeah,
Shelly Wilfong: has the coverage over the years changed or what do you think I haven't seen a whole lot lately in Texas Monthly. A lot of it's been online, and I think you're still doing, um, the best wines of the season.
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, so that I mean, you know, Texas Monthly and we probably don't need to get into all of Texas monthly as a company, right? But it's changed hands in the past few years, so my coverage and what they want and what they're looking for has evolved is probably the best way to say that. Um, but, you know, and part of to answer kind of that first question you were asking is how have I seen things change? And one of the things that we did start that we haven't really done as much anymore is this idea of evaluating Texas winds blind and trying to get a feel with a bunch of these winds in one place. If you taste them blind and you don't know who made them, you know what rises to the top? You know what what's remarkable or notable? And so we start. I started doing that. Uh, let's see if I started writing on text month. It was about 2009 when I really started doing that, and I at first it was just once a year. And then it became evident to me that, you know, is people different, do different releases throughout the year that maybe twice a year was the way to go. And then it kind of evolved into quarterly, Um, which is the a lot of work to put together, To be honest, um, but it became important to me, and what I started to realize is I'm just building like an encyclopedia in my brain of what's really going out there. What's what's rising to the top? Is there a trend? Is there a pattern and all of that? And to be honest there was. And so that's the hard part. Like my job has never been to be a cheerleader for Texas wine. I don't think it does Texas wine a favor, if that's who I am. Um, I am proud of where this industry has gone on day where it's going. However, as I started doing those tastings, that's where it really became clear to me that that task in itself is really important. Um, you know, through all of that is how I started doing different sommelier certifications and things like that so that I could put, you know, Texas wine in context with the rest of the world. And it helped me be able to taste these wines, um, and evaluate them just all things being equal, right? So, as I did these evaluations …would usually have a couple of people with me like a sommelier and someone else who was in wine, especially to help pour. So I didn't even see things get poured. It just I'd show up to my table, there'd be glasses. It said we'd all taste together and then go to the next flight. And, um, the thing that came out of all of that was yes. Okay, it's weird. Every time I did these evaluations, certain producers were always rising to the top. And, um, to be clear, I wasn't evaluating based on my preferences. I was evaluating based on, um, is this wine faulted? Is this wine something that maybe isn't my preference, but someone who likes this preference I could stand behind and say, If you like this kind of wine, you should try this wine. So example sweet wines like I don't drink sweet wines, right? And we've all talked about how that the Texas palette tends to like sweet wines. And so a lot of producers have put out sweet wines. There are a lot of sweet wines that probably shouldn't be on the market, to be honest. And there are some producers who do a really good job with residual sugar and adding that that sweetness into something or allowing it to remain in there if they stop fermentation. Um, and it's balanced and it works, and it's something that's like, Okay, you know what? That's not a flawed wine that's a complete wine. So the whole process of that, I mean, that was happening again. 2009. At least 2018-19. Things are changing or have changed in the past year or two. But that alone as a snapshot for what's happened with Texas wine and me being able to stand behind the producers that definitely continued to rise to the top because of the consistency in the quality that they were putting out. Um, that made me feel good about the task altogether on. And, of course, my favorite is when things rise to the top that are brand new and I'd never heard of Or, you know, maybe they've been trying for a while and they got a wine in. That was like, Hey, yeah, they hit on this. I'm so excited. That was my favorite thing. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, they got a wine in, You know, so those kinds of things, I mean, just this. That's kind of a look back, right? As to what's really been going on. And, um, that kind of cataloging and documentation, I still have every single note I've ever written in my files for everyone I've ever evaluated. Um, and it's been extremely rewarding to be able to do that.
Shelly Wilfong: Well, I know that you were working on the TEXSOM International Wine Awards with the sommeliers talking to them about how to write about wine. And so I wonder if some of them tasted Texas wine for the first time there. And have you seen people's eyes opened just through their exposure to Texas wine in a situation like that?
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, Yeah, you know, it's pretty cool, because the TEXSOM sommelier retreat, which I've been involved with, basically, since its inception. You know, there were one or two early years where I actually like James Tidwell, who kind of organizes. All of that had suggested Could you do a presentation on Texas wine? So I've done that for them early on and then, um, one of the things that we did one year was Let's see about the ageability of Texas wines. And so he pulled out from the TEXSOM library from the from the awards a whole bunch of wines that were that had had some age on them, you know? And I brought some from my cellar, which I have a lot of wines that I've laid down over the years. There's some that I'm still like, Oh, it's almost time. It's been 10 years. I want to check it out, You know, um and so I brought some Not all of them. I cherry picked some, but I wanted these sommelierswho are from all over the country, um, to taste. So we open these up and they kind of went through and tasted, you know, we had probably 50 different wines. And we kind of talked about that, and I ended up writing a story about that for Sommelier, a magazine that TEXSOM was putting out. And so in that way, the exposure for people who are not from Texas was starting to happen. And it's funny because now I have developed relationships with many of these sommelier retreat attendees, and we've stayed friends. And I'm kind of their go to person when they're like, Hey, I heard about this Texas wine or hey, you know, I was thinking it be cool If someone could taste this Texas wine, do you have a suggestion on what I should suggest? That they taste, you know, things like that. In fact, um, Second City Somms, which is kind of the Chicago area sommelier organization, they've asked me to do a zoom presentation in December on Texas in the Southwest because of I've been their mentor.
Shelly Wilfong: There was a quote that you actually wrote about Arizona, but I thought that I would bring it up because I would love to hear your response to it in reference to Texas. Like I said, it's from the Arizona chapter, and this is the quote, “As is the case with most emerging wine regions throughout the country. The hardest consumers to convince to support the industry are the ones closest to it.” Why is that?
Jessica Dupuy: It's true. It's true. You know, um, I'm going to I need to be diplomatic. Uh, but I am. I am confounded by it, to be honest, because, like I said earlier, I travel quite a bit. And when I start talking about how Texas or Arizona even like that, that that they make wines when I'm sitting at a table in France or in Argentina, they're, like, really talked to me about it. Like, how are they? How? How, what successes have you had? You say you grow malbec? How did your malbec work out there or things like that? Um, and they want to talk. They're like, Hey, maybe I could meet one of the winemakers one time and talk to them about how they're doing things or things like that. And it's It's always so fun. I'm like, Wow, you're open to it. But then I'll be sitting at a bar at a restaurant. I'll hear some guy say…I mean, I literally it was at dinner with my husband one night on a date night, we'd like to sit at the bar. This was, I think, last winter and was working on this book. And I heard this man who was sitting there with a bottle of seriously, ah, bottle of Prisoner sitting right in front of him and he was saying, Yeah, I mean, I only I mean, I'm really big into wine. He was talking to some lady and I love this and that. You know, I've heard about Texas wines and I tried them, but there's no chance that it'll be a cold day in hell before Texas ever makes good wine. And my husband saw me perk up, and he's like, You have two choices right now. You could engage with a complete stranger and try to convince his of something. Convince him of something that he's not at all interested in right now. Or we could enjoy our dinner and try to, like, focus on date night, and we're not both right. I'm still married, and I chose wisely in that particular situation, and but the truth is, I hear that more than I from Texans than I hear that it is so cool that we make wine in Texas. I tell me you know who I should try? Usually I have to turn someone like if someone didn't conversation with me and I say, Yeah, I cover Texas wine for Texas Monthly, they'll be like, Oh, that's fun. Um, I bet it's really hard to find one that you like, and I'm like, I would encourage you to Google “Texas Monthly Texas wine Jessica Dupuy” and you can look at lists upon lists of wine that I encourage people to check out. And it's hard because people I don't know what it is if they think they're edgy or if they're if they know a little bit about wine, they think they know everything about wine. Or at least they think they know everything about Texas wine.
Shelly Wilfong:Perhaps they had one that they didn't enjoy 20 years ago, and so they're not refreshing their thoughts.
Jessica Dupuy: That is absolutely the case. And so certainly the issue or the topic of quality being much better now than it was before and not necessarily just quality but appropriate wine for where we are is also a big topic, and so that's the kind of thing you have to get someone around. But if a guy was sitting there with a bottle of Prisoner is not going to give it a second look, it's because he likes really big cabernet kind of wines from California that have a specific style. And I don't want that kind of wine from Texas because that's really not the best wine that we make here. So in that sense, it's kind of like, well, it's not even worth having that conversation. Um, but I will say we have a lot of interest from people who are younger because they've got nothing to lose. You know what I mean? Like, they're willing to try something. And they liked the idea of something that's local. Um, I hope that changes more and more. I definitely…I don't feel like I do think that when I first started covering it and especially because I didn't know as much about wine in general, right? I would be like, oh, yeah. I mean, it's a fun. We're just kind of watching it and seeing how where the story goes and yeah, I know there's not, You know, some wines aren't that great, but some are really great. And, you know, just you know, I understand if you haven't tried it before, that's okay. And then now, especially because I've traveled so much and tasted so much and understand so much more about wine in the world, I'm like, You're wrong. I'm sorry, you're wrong. And I would love to show you where and how. And let's taste through some things. If you want to be challenged, let's do it, you know. And now I just actually like those conversations.
Shelly Wilfong: Yeah, people need to be informed. They just need to clue in because the times have changed. Well, you also don't shy away from some tough issues in the book, and one of those is that you mentioned that perhaps one of the biggest barriers to success in Texas is the fact that some of some wineries use up to 25% out of state fruit in their Texas wines, which is allowable under labeling laws, federal labeling laws. So in January, when the new legislature goes back in session, I understand that this will once again be brought before the Legislature, and I wonder if you think that there's any chance that we're gonna get any resolution on this issue. And how much do you think this is hindering Texas's ability to move forward and be collaborative.
Jessica Dupuy: Um, it's an interesting question and an interesting topic that as a journalist with Texas Monthly I felt like I had to be really measured and how I talked about it and how I covered it. Because there's definitely two sides to the story and both sides, uh, in in one vein I can respect, right? As a business decision, you got winds on the shelf. You need to put him out. If there's a bad vintage and you still need to put winds out or you just like the quality that you get by adding 25% of something else, I get all of that. I understand the arguments behind it but as I've mentioned, I've traveled a lot more. Now I've understood a lot more about how the region's are doing things, and if we're going to be at this, I feel like a broken record. I feel like I know a lot of people that are saying this, But if we're going to be a region that is going to be internationally recognized, it is not gonna happen until we get behind the agriculture of our state, period. And so you know, now that I've written this book and I'm not writing, I'm not talking about this from the guise of like a journalist for Texas Monthly. I will say that I definitely have an opinion on it, and we have to be one transparent because I know there are some wineries that are completely behind making a wine that's 100% Texan. But they might also have some vineyard contracts in California, and they want to put out a Californian wine and they’re at least putting it on the label that that's what they did. I won't get into that too much, but what I will say is, if you're going to put forward a wine that says Texas on it, you're not helping anyone, the consumer or the agricultural business, right? The growers, if you're putting 25% wind in there, that's not from here. And at this point in time, if we're going to be a grown up wine industry, we need to get behind that. So do I think there's a chance? Not really. Right now, I think I think we have a better chance. And I think the more we beat the drum and the more that the lobby behind it grows, that it's going to happen. I think there are a lot of things that Texas needs to do before that actually does happen. And I'm sad to say that I don't feel like our industry is cohesive and what that message needs to be, and I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends by saying that because I haven't really said that publicly before. But I think it's a joke to go to the Rhone Valley and start talking to people there and hear about how they do things. And then, you know, ask them a question like how? But I'll put like 25% something in there from Piedmont, because I mean, that could add some structure, right? Like, how about some? How about some Nebbiolo in there? Because that's a really great growing region. It would really add some really interesting things to the wine or, you know, being in New Zealand and saying, you know that stuff from from Australia you should get you should get something from the Yarra Valley and add that in with your Pinot noir. That'd be so cool, right? Or maybe that would help your business structure or sell. You sell more wine? Um, they would look at me like I was out of my mind. It would be offensive. It would be offensive. And until we get in, Washington feels that way. That's why they changed their laws. Oregon feels that way. That's why they changed their laws until we take enough pride and the grapes that are grape growers are growing and they have a really hard time doing it, especially this year in the High Plains. Until we get behind them and put forward a message about our wine that is cohesive. Then we're gonna have to wait a while before people really do take us seriously. And that is no more exemplified than within the state of Texas.
Shelly Wilfong: I went back and looked at some of the press from two years ago when this issue came up before and I was so distraught to see that there was some growers on record, saying that if they made a stand in favor of 100% Texas, they were getting pushback from folks that may have contracts on their grapes. And so they were going to put themselves at financial risk by speaking out. So it's just such a tough situation for those growers.
Jessica Dupuy: I was at that hearing. I remember that. It's unfortunate because it's a lot harder to grow grapes than it is to make wine. And I just feel like it is an absolute shame that we have to put relationships at risk like that, and that that kind of power is what is determining someone's ability to put forward a crop. Um, so, yes, I covered that story. I was displeased. Or, like you said, just kind of discouraged, Really? That that's kind of the state of things. Um, and, you know, listen, every wine industry, right? Even in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, they've got their issues, too. And so does the Rhone Valley. And so does Germany. And so everybody has their issues. So I do not want to say that like everyone's figured out the perfect model. But a lot more of these regions have figured out enough to be cohesive. I think that will happen, but it's going to be a while.
Shelly Wilfong: I was interested to see that you said New Mexico has a really strong growers association, that they've been very active in the past few years on education legislation, marketing all that. So it sounds like that state is really one toe look look toward.
Jessica Dupuy: Well, I actually, it's Arizona. Arizona kind of blows my mind like I just was so impressed because they're small, right? I mean there between 100 150 producers, depending on how you slice what that means. And I won't go into that right now, but and they have some serious quality fruit and some people who are really serious about doing the right thing with it. And, they have some limits in terms of what their government allows them to do, and in fact, like they're only allowed to produce so many gallons and a year, um, from a vintage, and then that's it. So their ability to, for instance, get distributed outside of their state is difficult. Um, but in terms of quality and in terms of a commitment to that, that is that really impressed me, especially in light of what I've seen with Texas and the efforts that have been made in the past few years to try to create a cohesive message. I went there and I was like, Wow, these guys, not everyone agrees on everything, but I just feel like they're like, two or three steps ahead of us, and they have been at it for much less time than we have. Um, it's not a competition, though. It's I think it's important to say that. But I certainly feel like we could benefit from perhaps making some relationships there and learning about each other's best practices on how to get to where they are now.
Shelly Wilfong: I like that. I noticed that you put in the introduction to the book that you had organized it by where vinifera was first planted. So first New Mexico then Texas and then you said next is Arizona. Although by wine quality, that could be first. So I thought, Oh, goodness. Okay. And then you also have an interview in there, and Doug Frost said the same thing. There was a quote from Doug Frost, who is both a master of wine and a master sommelier. And he said if I were going to have to pick one state in the Southwest, that really has its act together in terms of making great wine across the industry, it would be Arizona. Yeah, that has not been on my radar, I have to admit. So now, my interest is a piqued about Arizona.
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, it's really interesting. And, you know, I don't say that too... I am super proud of where I'm from, and I'm super proud of the progress Texas is made. So I don't think there is any question in my mind about that and where we're going, Like, I'm super excited for Texas. I just was really again. For all the reasons I just said, kind of like, Oh, wow. Uh, wow. There, they’re on the right track. And, um, yeah, in terms of quality and across the board, you know, I just Yeah, I was pretty impressed, and I think I think we should be impressed, and I think we need to be checking into it.
Shelly Wilfong: I am so glad I have to say that we don't have monsoon season. We have so many other weather calamities, but not monsoon season.
Jessica Dupuy: No, not monsoon season. And this year their monsoon season came with a lot of hail. So a lot of people in like this … region just almost zeroed out, and it's just it's painful. It's just so hard. I don't know how they do it.
Shelly Wilfong: No that sounds like a whole new kind of effort and viticulture that you wouldn't really know where to start. You don't need hail nets, you need rain umbrella. Seriously. So if people are interested in obtaining this book, what is the best way for them to get their hands on a copy?
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, so again, it's from the UK, so you can order it directly from the classic wine library. And you can technically order it from Amazon as well. Although the copy from Amazon is a little bit different, I'm encouraging people like if they would like a signed copy. Um, they can actually go to my website and order it. And, then you have something a little more personalized. So that's actually been really popular in the past. Ah, few weeks. I've been, you know, kind of made myself a fulfillment house, if you will and have been shipping a lot of things. And, it's been really great. So especially as the holidays come and everything, like, I sold my cookbooks that way in the same way. And so it's been really great. And so I would I mean, my first hope and choices that you might, um, do that way if you would like.
Shelly Wilfong:that's a great gift idea. And what is your website?
Jessica Dupuy: It's Jessicadupuy.com, and there's a button on there to shop, and that's where you would see it pop up.
Shelly Wilfong: and I know in relation to this book you've been doing a lot of instagram live events and you have a few more coming up, so people should definitely follow you on instagram so that they can see when you're going live, or at least watch the replays if they can't be there live because I've been on a few of those and they've been really interesting. You've talked to some interesting people, and I think you've got a few more coming up.
Jessica Dupuy: Yeah, Yeah, I do And the next I think before this podcast goes live, there will be I'll have one with a producer in Colorado. I've got another Arizona person I'll be speaking to. I'm super excited about. He's a sommelier and James Beard nominated sommelier for a restaurant in Scottsdale. But he is now also making Arizona wine. And I think that's one of the interesting things about Arizona wine is you have these people who are, um they've made wind in other parts of the world. And yet they're like that. We want to come back here and make it here. So that's kind of exciting Oh, yeah, I'll do that. I'm talking to a couple of other master somms. So June Rodil will be on, and James Tidwell will be on later in the first part of November.
Shelly Wilfong: What is next for you as a journalist? Now that this book is through?
Jessica Dupuy: Oh, man. Well, so, I have to say that I really am. So I'm still doing magazine work and things like that. Still doing some stuff for Texas Monthly. This I will say that this book kind of had me push pause on a lot of that, uh, in order to stay focused and get it done. Um, but I really do enjoy book work. I like the focus that and just the ability to kind of dig deeper into something. So my hope is to do more in that vein. More book work, definitely more with regards, to wine. And so I hope that that's something that you see for me and the not too distant.
Shelly Wilfong: And did I see that you are studying for a Diploma?
Jessica Dupuy: I am studying for my diploma. Yes, I start taking exams, um, in December. So my first one will be in December, and it's all on viticulture. Which is why I was saying I've been studying that a lot viticulture and enology. And then we'll move on to wine business after that. And then it kind of gets into the nitty gritty of the wine itself.
Shelly Wilfong: well, best of luck to you. Thank you. Well, I sure appreciate your time.
Jessica Dupuy: I'm happy to be here, and I'm so glad we had we got a chance to talk about it. It's always fun to kind of see what people think after the final product is out there.
Shelly Wilfong: I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Jessica as much as I did again. Please visit her website to order your copy of her book. You'll get an autographed copy and that website is Jessicadupuy.com also follow her on instagram for her IG Live Series at JessicaNDupuy.
For our occasional People in Wine Series, today I'm considering a whole group of people, American presidents. And actually, I'm reviewing a new book on this topic that I saw advertised, and I just had to have as a presidential history enthusiast and, of course, the lover of wine. I really was excited to check out this book, and it sure didn't disappoint. The book is called Wine and the White House: A History and It's by Frederick J. Ryan Jr and the book was published by the White House Historical Association. It is a giant 450 page hardcover book with a fancy desk jacket in a fancy picture on the front that shows a formal dinner party. It looks like a fancy state dinner. This is the first book of its kind, and it's a comprehensive journal throughout the history of the White House that explores every president's experience with wine. It features memorable presidential toasts, menus from historic White House gatherings, a catalog of wine vintages served and photography from the White House glassware collection. I went through this book with a fine tooth comb, and I want to share a few pieces of information that are of particular interest to Texas wine lovers. Mainly, I want to tell you about how wine was treated under the administration of the president's that hailed from Texas and other presidents whose dealings with wine have been important for different reasons. In the interest of time, I won't start all the way back with George Washington.
Let's start with Dwight D. Eisenhower, our nation's 34th president. He was born in Dennison, Texas, and grew up in Kansas. He was the president from 1953 to 1961 and with the greatest generation home from war wine service at the White House took on added significance. The importance of state dinners increased to one big change that happened during the Eisenhower administration was that American wines were selected for luncheons and less formal dinners. Now American wines were still considered a novelty and were actually frowned upon by many critics. At a dinner in February 1958 Eisenhower admitted to guests that the White House had secretly been serving American wines and let everyone believe that the wines were Europe's finest. American wines weren't served at formal White House state dinners until the Kennedy administration.
Next Lyndon Baines Johnson, our nation's 36 president. He was in office from 1963 to 1969. He was the first president to prominently feature American wines in the White House. He wanted to promote the growing American wine market and give it a sense of legitimacy. The wine served under his tenure were mostly from California vineyards, with a few from New York. Those were the two states with the most vineyards at the time. There's a great story in the book about how Robert Mondavi and his wife Marjorie attended a state dinner for the Italian president during the Johnson administration. The Mondavis rented fancy clothes and they hired a limo. When Robert’s Sister in Law Blanche saw the photos of the state dinner, she became jealous, and she convinced her husband, Robert's brother, Peter, that Robert must have been embezzling to afford such an extravagance. The brothers had a huge fight, and it led to Robert getting kicked out of the family business. The result is that Robert founded Robert Mondavi Winery, one of the world's greatest winemaking operations. His wines would be appreciated at White House dinners in the decades to follow.
Nixon followed LBJ, and he ended all of the things that LBJ did for American wine. He reinstated the service of European wines at the White House. Despite being born and raised in California, Nixon was really into European wines. Although he did make some efforts to showcase the American wine industry, he was very involved in selecting wines for events and selected them personally. Towards the end of his administration, he did settle into a pattern a German Riesling for the first course, a California cabernet sauvignon for the main course in champagne for dessert. I learned the term pulling a Nixon from this book. Apparently, Richard Nixon had a waiter that would keep his wine glass filled with the finest first growth French Bordeaux, while the rest of the guests were drinking more ordinary wine. Woodward and Bernstein said the same thing happened on the presidential yacht.
Beginning with Gerald Ford. All of the wine served at the White House have been American, so Nixon was the last president to serve European wines at official dinners. Nixon served the first wine from a Midwest state. It was from Michigan.
Jimmy Carter grew grapes and made his own wine before his election to the presidency, and after he left, he resumed his winemaking and donated many bottles to charity auctions. Although some believe that he didn't drink because of his Baptist faith, this book reports that in fact, they did drink wine but preferred it to hard liquor.
During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, from 1981 to 1989 interest in wine in the U. S. Reached a new level. Reagan had strong relationships with California winemakers, and they were regular visitors to the White House. The Reagan showcased a wide variety of wines, with just a few receiving more than three placements on dinner menus. The exceptions were Schramsberg sparkling wines. These were the standards. These were the standard for dessert, and Jordan and Robert Mondavi also appeared multiple times on menus. On February 22nd, 1987 during the Reagan administration, there was a dinner in honor of state governors. During the first course in 1985 Llano Estacado Chardonnay was served than the male continued with a cabernet sauvignon from Idaho and with dessert, a Schramsberg sparkling wine. This was the first recorded Texas wine served in the White House.
According to this book, George H. W. Bush took office in 1989 and served until 1993. One of his acts in office was to sign a law proclaiming the last week in February 1993 as American Wine Appreciation Week to celebrate the growth and success of the American wine industry.
Bill and Hillary Clinton were responsible for hiring the first wine professional onto the staff of the White House. Daniel Shanks is title was assistant assure for food and beverage, but his job was to select wine pair wines with menus crafted by the White House chef and organized the seller.
George W. Bush gave up alcohol on his 40th birthday, but during his administration a crisis was averted. When French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited in 2007 all three of the wine served were developed by joint French American wine ventures. Then February 23rd, 2000 and three during the George W. Bush administration. At another dinner honoring state governors, a 2001 Becker Cabernet Reserve was served with the main course. There's a photo of that Becker wine in one of the side bars in this book, and it mentions that Becker wines have been served at the White House on several occasions, as well as at Prairie Chapel Ranch, which is the Bush ranch outside of Waco in Crawford, Texas. Three years later, another Becker wine was served at another governor's dinner. This one was the 2000 and four Becker Reserve Chardonnay, and that completes the list of the Texas wines in this book. Although I know other Texas wines have been served at less formal affairs in the White House now.
Barack Obama was a self professed beer drinker, but Michelle Obama apparently hosted wine tastings in the White House for her close friends.
And finally, Donald Trump is a non drinker, but he's the first president to own a full production winery. Vice President Mike Pence is also reportedly a non drinker.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden reportedly doesn't drink, but Kamala Harris does. She's known to belong to at least one wine club in California and is a member of the Congressional Wine Caucus. That's a bipartisan group formed in 1999 to protect the interest of the wine community from grape to glass. Congressional members from Texas include Lance Gooden, Kay Granger, Veronica Escobar, Pete Olson and Lloyd Doggett. That's not the book I just did that research on my own back to the book.
There's one reference to Texas that is sadly missing, and it's in the section on phylloxera. Remember, phylloxera is the vineyard past that decimated European vineyards in the mid to late 18 hundreds. The author states that the solution to phylloxera was grafting French vines onto American root stocks and that those American root stocks were generously provided by California winemakers. Wait, what California winemakers? I feel fairly confident that Texas's favorite grape horticulturalist TV Munson of Denison, Texas, is the one that provided that root stock that saved the French wine industry.
There's also a section in the book called Virginia and Beyond That really spells out the history of winemaking in the United States. It focuses heavily on Virginia but also mentions Washington, Oregon, in New York. Sadly, Texas isn't mentioned.
The rest of the book has a large section on the White House, serving pieces, glassware, ice buckets, goblets and decanters. And then there's a collection of presidential toasts. There are over 100 menu cards with presidential seals and calligraphy, and finally, the last 60 pages has a catalog of all the wines served at formal White House dinners. To date, wines from 24 states have appeared. The three Texas wines I mentioned are the only ones that are listed in the book, but which Texas wine will be the next one served and which president will hold the next state dinner?
The story of wine and the White House will be continued. We're in the middle of an election, folks, and if you haven't already, please vote.
Today I'm drinking a wine from Yano Winery and it's the 18 36 Red. In keeping with our theme of history, this wine is called 1836 because on April the 21st 1836 band of rugged pioneers won the Battle of San Jacinto and the Independence of Texas was established. And this red wine celebrates the spirit of those who fought for the Great Republic of Texas. So this wine is part of Llano's Fine Wine Portfolio, and it's only available at restaurants. I was able to get this wine because it's part of the State Fair Blue Ribbon program. And last week, at a virtual tasting Llano winemaker Jason Centalli was part of the panel, and it was great to meet him, and Bill Friedhof the V P of sales for Llanowas also on the call. The blend on this wine is 42% cabernet sauvignon, 41% Syrah and 17% Tannat. The blend changes a bit from year to year, and when the fruit doesn't come in, then they don't make this wine if they're not happy with the fruit quality. So this was Llano's first on premise wine that they ever did and they do this in conjunction with their distributor to highlight just what amazing things Texas wine could do. It's a flagship style wine. Now they've got 10 on premise wines. Apparently, this was aged 20 months in French and American oak barrels, and 50% of the oak was new, with medium plus toast. It's 14.7% alcohol. This is a big wine. You could tell by the alcohol percentage and in the oak. Um, it's got really right big fruit. It's, I think, a great wine to offer in restaurants. I'm guessing that shows up a lot, probably in steakhouses, and it would be a super wine to have with a big hunk of meat. I have to say it's got a lot of right, um, BlackBerries. Pretty significant tannins. I think it would be one that you could definitely age for a bit. It's got some tobacco and cedar aromas and leather. It's a nice big Texas wine. It screams Texas to me. I'm impressed with this wine. I actually had not had it before until we did this Texas wine case, so I'm glad that I had the opportunity to try it. While Llano definitely has a wide variety of less expensive wines, these on premise 1836 wines are worth seeking out if you see them on a menu. The white wine also has won awards. I mentioned earlier that this red wine just one best red in Texas at the San Antonio Stock Show. Now it's also not too late to buy the State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon case. There's still some available, so look for that in the show notes. If you're interested, it is not too late to buy the State Fair of Texas Blue Ribbon case. That is 12 great Texas wines. There's still some available, and I will link to that order form in the show notes.
Please go to www.thisistexaswine.com for full show notes for this episode, there are links to everything that I talked about today, and also please subscribe to this podcast and rate and review it to that helps other people find the podcast. The next episode will be out in two weeks, and I hope to see you before then maybe added a winery or on a wine trail. It's Texas wine month, after all.
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