Located in the Texas Panhandle, this American Viticultural Area (AVA) is known for its Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and other outstanding wines. This Texas AVA also has vineyards that have become major grape suppliers to other Texas wineries. Encompassing more than eight million acres, this is the second largest AVA in Texas. For more information on this wine region and its excellent wines, see below.
Grapes have been grown and wines crafted in the Texas High Plains AVA since the 1970s. A sub region of the United States’ Great Plains, it has elevations that reach to over 4,000 feet. Its soils are sandy clay loams, which are perfect for growing high quality wine grapes. The hot summers and mild winters are also good for growing grapes. Many varietals have unexpectedly adapted and thrived in this AVA’s climate.
Llano Estacado, the largest premium winery in Texas, is located in the High Plains AVA. This Texas winery planted its first vineyard in 1978, increasing its vineyards and production to become the producer of world class wines it is today. For a perfect example of Texas wines, try their 2007 Cellar Reserve Merlot, made 100% from Texas Merlot grapes. This is a rich wine, with excellent tannins and aromas of currants and plums. Its flavors include black cherry with a touch of vanilla. Another excellent Texas High Plains wine is Llano Estacado’s Port CS, which was aged in French and American oak barrels. Its aromas are of ripe fruit and vanilla, with flavors that include plum and cedar. For more on this High Plains AVA winery and its wines, click here.
Pheasant Ridge Winery. This Texas High Plains winery is considered a pioneer of commercial winemaking in Texas, its first vineyard planted in 1979 (one of the oldest in the state.) They grow sixty acres of grapes, including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Semillon, among others. This Texas High Plains winery produces over 10,000 cases of wine per year, including the only dry Chenin Blanc in the state. An example of their many award winning wines is their Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, with aromas of pear and peach, followed by flavors of orange and vanilla. Their Pinot Noir, another medal winner, is also outstanding, with aromas of strawberry and cedar, and flavors that include cherry and spice. For more information on this Texas High Plains winery and its wines, click here.
McPherson Cellars is another outstanding Texas High Plains winery producing classic wines. This winery was created by Kim McPherson, formerly the winemaker at Llano Estacado Winery (see above) in honor of his father, Dr. Clinton McPherson (considered the pioneer of the modern Texas wine industry.) Try their Sangiovese, which has aromas of plum and spice, followed by flavors of blueberry and clove. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is also outstanding, a dry, medium bodied wine that includes cherry aromas and flavors of berry and plum. For more information on this Texas High Plains winery and its wines, click here.