The Independent Wine Monthly – TEXSOM Wine Awards
Issue 1: January 2018
TexSom, Dallas 2017 – by Jane Skilton
Back in April James Tidwell MS, co-founder of the TEXSOM Conference, emailed to say he’d like me and Elaine Chukan Brown to present a seminar on the Red Wines of NZ. An invitation I couldn’t refuse.
The trickiest part was deciding which ten wines to show but after many, many lengthy email exchanges, Elaine and I drew up a wish list and to our delight, all the producers we contacted were more than happy to send over their wine. There was only a slight hiccup when one winery didn’t make the shipping deadline but I agreed to take the bottles with me and having the extraordinary good luck to meet a US customs official who enjoyed red wine (cue a lengthy debate on the relative merits of different grape varieties) I managed to arrive into Dallas with my humour, and 18 bottles of wine, intact.
Having never been to TexSom before I was unprepared for the scale of the event. Arriving to breakfast on the first morning I was greeted by a room of almost 500 uber-enthusiastic wine professionals discussing the merits of Champagne Louis Roederer whilst tasting through the wines on offer. James had graciously arranged for a kettle, teapot and a selection of fine leaf teas to be in my room so I had fortified myself with a couple of the cups of the drink of the gods before breakfast, but I could in no way match the enthusiasm nor sense the energy in the room at 7.30am, in the morning. I realised that travel-weary or not, I was going to have to lift my game.
TexSom is based around a programme of educational seminars and I was a little apprehensive that ours wouldn’t be as popular as others – when you lived in a country that is missed off the maps regularly and seems destined always to be the last entry in any book on wine then I feared more, dare I say, glamorous sessions would have greater appeal. So imagine my amazement to find we had sold out, and were presenting in the largest seminar room, to an audience of over 350 sommeliers, buyers and professionals assembled from all over the US. We’d done a fair bit of preparation beforehand but on the day the quality of the wines told the story for us.
The first two wines (including Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013) showed just how rapidly Central Otago is evolving. I’d venture that of all NZ’s pinot noir regions, Central shows the greatest diversity and breadth of style. This pair are very much from the quieter end of town, not so immediately upfront but nonetheless showing sense of place.
2013 Prophet’s Rock Home Vineyard Pinot Noir, Central Otago
I’m not entirely convinced I’d recognize this as NZ if I tasted it blind. Shy at first on the nose but unfolds to give wonderfully precise aromas of raspberry, redcurrant and a little hint of damson with some lifted, almost peppermint hints too. Very structured, tightly bound but slowly evolves to reveal a core of fruit nestled amongst the tannins, which are firm but perfectly in balance. This needs time but will reward those with patience handsomely.
You can read the full article of The Independent Wine Monthly, January edition here