Taste Texas and Mandola Estate Winery

I recently sipped and tweeted along with other local wine fans for the Taste Texas event hosted by friend and fellow wine blogger Ben Simons of Vinotology. Ben focuses on his home state’s wines and is helping to spread the word about the quality of Texas wines. I’ve highlighted some of the states offerings in the past and was happy I could participate. Located in Driftwood, Texas, Mandola Estate Winery is in the Texas Hill Country AVA, southwest of Austin. Growing native Italian varieties such as Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and Moscato, Mandola Winery is bringing a taste of Italy to Texas.

I wasn’t able to participate in the full tasting which included 4 wines, I was however able to sample 2 of their Italian varieties, Sangiovese and Dolcetto. First up included the 2008 Mandola Estate Sangiovese. I’m a big fan of the variety and love the fact Mandola is giving it a go in Texas. Retailing for $24, red fruit dominates both the nose and palate. Cherries, strawberries and plum abound with a touch of cinnamon. Light to medium-bodied.

The second pour and my wine of the night featured the 2008 Mandola Estate Dolcetto. Retailing for $26, this is an easy drinking, everyday wine. The medium-bodied wine displayed notes of dark fruit, black licorice, blueberries and sweet tobacco. Price was the only negative on my tasting sheet. Kudos to Ben and Mandola Estate for an evening of great wine and great conversation. Cheers!

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5 thoughts on “Taste Texas and Mandola Estate Winery

  1. Glad you were able to participate with us. I had a great time with this tasting, and really thought that the folks at Mandola were really great during the tasting. Thanks for joining in, and I hope that you will be able to participate in some future events that I am working on putting together.

    Cheers!
    Ben

  2. I visited the winery this past weekend. They had some nice wine, particularly the Dolcetto, but two things bother me. First, none of the wines had a structure that would age. The prices, however, were priced low enough to drive purchase. Simply put, they would be nice at a $10-$12 everyday consumption.

    Secondly, their grapes come from the Lubbock area! They are not from this AVA. So this is a tasting room for Lubbock wine. That disappoints me.

  3. Asima, I definitely agree with you regarding the price of the wines. Most would be far more attractive at a lower price point.

    I would like to say that it is extremely common for Texas Hill Country wineries to make their wines from grapes from the Texas High Plains. The temperatures in this area get much cooler at night, which really benefits many grape varieties. I personally don’t mind this at all, since they are still using Texas grapes. If the Hill Country had to make all of their wine from Hill Country grapes, there would be a lot less wine produced there, and from far fewer varieties.

  4. Asima, thanks for your readership and comment. I certainly agree price is a problem, especially in the other 46 states. But then again, you would be surprise at the number of wineries that sell every last bottle out of their tasting rooms at those prices (and could probably charge more). And by the way, you nailed it with your suggested prices. I thought each could be cut in half. As for your comment concerning Mandola (and probably other wineries) getting their grapes from the Texas High Plains, I personally have no issue. This is fairly common for wineries, especially if a winery is trying to mitigate risk (e.g. extreme weather, disease, etc.). As long as the grapes are grown in the state I’m all for it. Cheers!

  5. Absolutely Ben (and great job)! The Texas wine industry is on the cusp of doing some great things, and blogs like yours and Russ Kane’s (over at Vintage Texas) are helping to spread the word. Keep it going brother! Cheers!

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