Regan Meador desires to provide wine that tastes like his native Texas. At Fredericksburg’s Southold Farm + Cellar, he’s certainly one of a small group of winemakers within the state who’re dedicated to utilizing 100-percent Texas-grown grapes and as little human intervention as potential.
“Pure wine” producers like Meador imagine that one of the best vintages begin within the winery. Their small batches are terroir-driven, drawing flavors and textures from the distinctive local weather and land the place the grapes had been grown. “I imagine that, till Texas wine stops trying to emulate California and embrace making wine that’s completely distinctive and reflective of Texas, that we’ll stay a tertiary wine-growing area,” he stated.
It’s troublesome to understand how radical this philosophy is with no comparability to traditional viticulture, which prioritizes yield, look, and style—in that order. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers are sometimes used to maximise every grape harvest. Animal proteins are used to filter wines, and chemical compounds add shade. Overseas yeast and sugars make the wine sweeter or steadiness out the pure acidity. Even smaller-scale standard wineries that don’t manipulate wines to the identical extent as mass producers nonetheless favor human management over natural manufacturing through the use of inoculated yeasts and added sulfites.
Pure wine producers, in contrast, make use of natural viticulture practices and a winemaking course of that neither provides nor removes something within the cellar. Which means no non-indigenous yeasts, no added sulfites, and positively no chemical compounds. Moreover, there isn’t any fining or tight filtration, which ends up in an virtually cloudy look for a lot of pure wines.
Courtesy of Jester King Brewery
Whereas it might seem to be a set of cultist guidelines, the core of the pure wine philosophy is to extract the purest potential expression of every grape. These makers nonetheless need their merchandise to style good, in fact, which implies they need to possess intensive information concerning the elements that have an effect on a wine’s taste, from the winery’s elevation to the variety of months devoted to ageing.
But there are about as many opinions about the way to outline “pure” wine as there are grape varieties. Many within the business query the worth and high quality of such minimal intervention wine. For the reason that ensuing juice often has a higher-than-normal unstable acidity, some even accuse wineries of passing off undrinkable errors as “pure.” Into this fray arrives a convention aimed toward educating Texans concerning the theories behind this method.
On Could 18 and 19, Wild World Pure Wine Competition will take over Austin’s Jester King Brewery, bringing with it greater than 200 pure wines, ciders, beers, and meads. Jester King will serve its standard menu of meals, whereas “wandering musicians” will present some further leisure. The occasion is the brainchild of Byron Bates, a sommelier who co-owns New York-based pure wine importer Goatboy Picks. He’s been working with Jester King throughout the previous few years because the brewery has expanded its wine program.
Texas wine drinkers nonetheless don’t have the sort of entry to small-production bottles that may be present in locations like California or New York, although that has been slowly altering lately. Bates recognized Austin as a metropolis with an appreciation for unbiased makers and the large spectrum of taste profiles they create. “The passion right here is unimaginable, and the market is hungry for info that goes past myths or style,” he stated.
Alice Feiring, a former Time columnist and creator of the guide Bare Wine: Letting Grapes Do What Comes Naturally, and New York-based wine guide Lee Campbell collaborated on Wild World’s programming, which incorporates greater than 50 producers. Representing Texas together with Meador are Ian Rosel of La Cruz de Comal Wines and Henry Crowson of Crowson Wines, who will pour alongside high-profile nationwide winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Joe Swick of Swick Wines, Tony Coturri of Coturri Vineyard, and Krista Scruggs of ZAFA Wines (who used Texas grapes in her most up-to-date vintages).
Becoming a member of them are celebrity worldwide producers like Éric Texier, Brendan Tracey, Noel Tellez, and Beaujolais icon Jean Foillard, who will give a chat concerning the beginnings of the pure wine motion. Different panels and seminars will cowl matters like the way forward for hashish wine, the seek for a real American cider model, and the function of pure wine in Texas—the land of TEXSOM, the famend worldwide wine convention and awards ceremony that takes place close to Dallas every summer season.
“Texas has been utterly conservative about their wine, and that’s partly due to the context of TEXSOM and the classical training they promote,” Feiring stated. “Pure wine is outdoors of that norm and has no place in TEXSOM in any respect. It’s not introduced up, and it’s not acknowledged in any respect.”
Bates, for one, welcomes pure wine skeptics to the dialogue. “We need to hear consultants speak and debate their craft, and we need to hear from naysayers to attempt to perceive what it’s they don’t like about what they only drank,” he stated. “We need to dig deeper into the science of fermentation—the aesthetics and ethics of actual beer and wine. There are many festivals which can be about celebrating … We’re organising our panels from the angle of our private curiosity and thirst for information.”
Whereas extra standard wine occasions contain a number of tastings and grasp courses in a conference-like indoor setting, Wild World attendees may have an opportunity to tour Jester King’s farm, see the winery the brewery planted final yr, and style cellar beers made with wine. “In a means that is going again to a whole lot of the older pure wine festivals in France like ViniCircus, the place there’s wine, there’s meals, music, and theater,” Feiring stated. “That’s one thing groundbreaking, and I feel it’s completely visionary. It’s not about energy tasting. It’s about hanging out, having fun with, studying one thing, and doing a two-step.”