I recently had the opportunity to taste the latest releases of Fall Creek Vineyards wines and the quality is so impressive that they should be on your Texas wine-buying list. Below, a bit of background and then some notes on the wines that I tasted.
Fall Creek Vineyards is one of the longest established Texas wineries, with a string of medals and acclaim to its credit.
In August 2013, the winery announced the appointment of Chilean Sergio Cuadra as Director of Winemaking. Cuadra’s credits include winemaking in senior positions for Concha y Toro and earlier in his career at Errazuriz, both located in Chile. He was recommended for the Fall Creek position by respected California winemaker Paul Hobbs, who has extensive business ties with South American wineries.
The first leaf-to-release Cuadra wine was the 2013 sauvignon blanc. I recall tasting it at Savor Dallas in Spring of 2014 and being immediately impressed by its fruit-acid balance and clarity of fruit definition. I made a mental note to watch this guy.
Consequently, when owners Ed and Susan Auler offered me the chance to taste the latest releases of their top-tier wines, I jumped at it.
Fall Creek has their product line separated into several quality levels. At the top is their flagship cabernet sauvignon blend, Meritus. One tier down are their single vineyard wines named the ‘Terroir Reflection’ wines. These are visually recognizable by a graphic of the Fall Creek waterfall on the front label. Below that is the ‘Vintner’s Selection’ series. These are quality varietal wines from grapes from more than one vineyard. Think of them as Fall Creek’s ‘reserve’ wines, below single vineyard status. They are visually recognizable by an expressionist representation of the Fall Creek waterfall on the front label.
2014 Fall Creek Vineyards Chardonnay, Vintner’s Selection, Texas Hill Country $21.99
New world style due to ageing sur lie for nine months in stainless steel. Citrus and minerality in nose. Can be served with or without food.
2015 Fall Creek Vineyards Grenache Rosé, Vintner’s Selection, Texas Hill Country $21.99
Soft salmon pink color belies a lot of power in the mouthfeel of this wine. Red fruit and long finish.
2015 Fall Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Vintner’s Selection, Texas Hill Country $21.99
The follow up to the 2013 sauvignon blanc is even better. Broader texture. Excelent fruit-acid balance. A delicate compromise between grassy New Zealand examples and fruity northern California examples of this grape.
2012 Fall Creek Vineyards Tempranillo, 'Salt Lick Vineyards,' Texas Hill Country $29.99
A Terroir Reflection wine. A very Texan tempranillo featuring an intense ruby color, vibrant red fruit, and woody character from the oak barrel ageing.
2011 Fall Creek Vineyards ‘Meritus,’ Texas Hill Country $39.99
A pre-Cuadra wine. 55 percent cabernet sauvignon, 45 percent merlot. Powerful, opaque, and brooding. This Bordeaux blend will age for several years although it can be enjoyed now with ribeye steak or lamb.
2013 Fall Creek Vineyards Chardonnay “Certenberg Vineyards,” Texas Hill Country $49.99
A Terroir Reflection wine. Good example of how chardonnay can succeed in Texas with the right terroir and winemaking. This lush New World style of chardonnay was aged for a year in French oak with impressive results. Tiny quantities (30 cases) due to a late spring freezer.