April 14 is Tannat Day! Tannat is grown all around the world and in Texas we have John Rivenburgh to thank for its prevalence here. I had the opportunity to celebrate with a taste of 2017 KHW Tannat to kick off the celebration. I am intrigued by this bold yet approachable wine which is smooth yet complex with enticing flavors of dried fruit and vanilla. The 2017 is an excellent vintage winning Double Gold at from the San Francisco Chronicle. It will not be available for long so make sure to get a taste for yourself while you can.
John Rivenburgh, winemaker and owner of Kerrville Hills Winery is known for his role in widely planting the grape variety in Texas and creating award-winning wines with it. John has helped plant dozens of acres of Tannat in more than 20 vineyards in the state, and he is one of the first winemakers in Texas to win international awards with Tannat wines including the 2011 Tannat CM, Bending Branch Estate Vineyard.
Tannat originated in Southwest France and found its way to the new world and eventually to the great state where it thrives. Tannat is drought resistant, grows quickly, disease resistant and produces a thick canopy which protects berries from unrelenting sunlight in hot climates, such as Texas.
Before purchasing Kerrville Hills Winery, Rivenburgh created award-winning wines with Tannat. He is one of the first winemakers in Texas to win international awards with Tannat wines including the 2011 Tannat CM, Bending Branch Estate Vineyard which was awarded Double Gold, Texas Class Champion, Class Champion, and was named Top Texas Wine at the 2014 Houston Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition. In addition, he has won prestigious awards with Tannat wines from multiple wineries and vineyards such as Reddy Vineyard, Rustic Spur Vineyard, Texas Heritage Vineyard, 1851 Vineyard, Hoover Valley Vineyard, and Newsom Vineyard. This extensive development of Tannat has cemented his reputation as a leading innovative winemaker and viticulturist responsible for elevating its status to become a heralded varietal in Texas.
If you have not tried a Texas Tannat you are in for a real treat. I encourage you to seek out and pick up a bottle today!